This first step to creating a powerful vision for your life and your business is to identify your core values. Values speak to your true essence and represent who you are and what you stand for. Experts who have researched the subject of values are quick to point out that if a person were to lose just one of their core values, they would be a totally different person.

Identifying and prioritizing values can be more difficult that you might expect. Although you may be able to identify your top core values, how would you begin to prioritize them?

Let’s look at the US Marine Corp for example. The core values that every Marine is required to uphold are Honor, Courage and Commitment. There is a natural hierarchy to the Marine Corp. values. The value of Commitment would be fragile at best without Honor and Courage as the foundation. Courage and Commitment on the battlefield would do little to comfort a grieving parent if Honor was not the primary value on which their son or daughter’s life was sacrificed.

Identifying and prioritizing values can also be done using an exercise based on your emotional feedback. Think for a moment at a time or event in your life when you felt integrity, appreciation and self-worth. This is a time when you were in alignment with your core values. What were you doing? Who were you with? What was motivating you at the time? Now list the values you feel were being honored at that time. As an example, if you were on a mission trip in an impoverished country, your values list might include Spirituality, Generosity, Humility and Compassion.

Now think of a time or event when you felt dejected, angry or guilt. This is a time when you were not in alignment with your core values. List the values you feel were not being honored at the time. As an example, if you fell off your diet after a short period of time, the values not being honored might include Health, Commitment and Discipline.

Once you have your list of core values, you can begin to prioritize them by asking yourself this question: If I were allowed only ONE core value to live by, which one would I choose? Once you have selected one core value, ask yourself this question: If I were allowed to have only TWO core values, which one would I add to the first. Then add a third value to the first two, a forth to the first three and so on until you have prioritized your values.

By having a clear understanding of your prioritized value system, you can begin to create a powerful vision that aligns with your true essence and propels you forward in business and in your personal life with confidence and conviction.