THE Creativity Chronicles

A journal of creative thoughts, content commissions I'm working on and where I'm at right now. The life of a creative copywriter.

"Creativity takes courage" - Henri Matisse

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Identifying Your Authentic Values

June 9, 2020

Your values are not just a pretty page that sounds nice to your customer – they underpin all that you do and who you are.  You should know your values intrinsically, live them authentically, they should be at the heart of all that you do and the decisions that you make.

Here’s how to create your values from a place of authenticity. 

  1. Ask yourself “what do I care about?” – REALLY.  What do you actually care about?  Forget about your customer for a moment and think about what matters when it comes to your work and your life.  Is it success?  Honesty? Family? Security? Look into each of these and ask what do they each mean to you?  What does this value give you?  Why does it matter to you?  This will help to erase any “should say” values and keep those that have solidity and meaning.

2. Quick fire between your list of values based on gut reactions.  What matters most to me?  Beauty or courage?  FEEL it before you think about it – you know which one really matters.  Do you really believe in courage or do you feel you SHOULD believe in courage?  Do you really promote beauty or is that what your customer wants to hear?

3. Look through any that are similar and get down to the nitty gritty.  Do I believe in truthfulness or honesty?  Look into the meaning behind the words, which one feels right?  Get to know the meaning and etymology from every single angle.

4.. Do not choose a cop out word – don’t choose something fluffy, generic and safe like “happiness”.  I mean, who doesn’t want happiness right?  This is a bad value because it’s an easy shot that says nothing about you – when I see that people believe in happiness I’m just like MEH.  And when people say they believe in kindness I look into their actions to see how kind they actually are.  A few weeks ago a client who has the primary value of authenticity had written that one of their values were “to laugh and smile and have fun every day” – that doesn’t sound very authentic to me – it sounds like an episode of The Waltons.  In order to be authentic, people need to feel free to show themselves as they are, backstage not on stage with a spotlight on a forced smile.

5. Which leads me to point number five.  Put your values where your voice is.  If you’re shouting about something let’s see it backed with action.  The first thing I’m going to do when I find out what a brand stands for is go poking around to see if there’s parity between their promise and their performance – what they say they do and the actuality.

Once you’ve done this go over your values and give them a once over.  Follow the VALUES framework to check their validity.

Veracity – Is it truthful?  Is this a real genuine value?

Authenticity – In line with this, is this value truly authentic to you, behind closed doors when nobody is watching?

Living It – are you living this value and not just paying it lip service?

Understand – do you truly understand this value and what it means three dimensionally?

Embody – do you embody this value in every area of your life, a value is for life, not just for your website

Sincerity – zero pretence, zero pretentiousness – keep it real

The theme here is authenticity – real values with real meaning. When you follow the VALUES framework and truly take the time to identify what matters most to you, your life and work will take on a whole new level of meaning.  You don’t have to share your values, you can keep them private but you have to understand them to unlock your motivations and what drives you and the way that you do business.

Know your values, live your values, mean what you say and choose genuine values over generic placeholder, people-pleaser ones. When you’re living from a place of truth, you’ll be able to express your talent from a place of authenticity and integrity.

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