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300+ Core Values You’ll Ever Need For Work, Relationships, and Life

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Most of us operate in our daily lives based on our to-do lists or things that need to get done. But deeper, we have a set of core values that drive what we do.

In this article, we’ll clarify what core values are, give you a list of all the key values, and offer you a step-by-step process to finding your core values for your personal life, professional life, and relationships.

Watch our video below to discover your core values:

What Are Core Values? 

Core values are an individual or organization’s fundamental beliefs and highest priorities that drive their behavior. 

You can think of core values as an internal compass of principles that drive a person’s or organization’s decisions. 

It’s wonderful to identify the core values driving you and try to unlock the core values driving the important people in your life.

Defining your personal values can help shape who you are and what you do. When faced with certain decisions, you can refer back to core values to ensure that you act according to what truly matters to you.

From the outside, people often perceive core values as your character or morality. These beliefs dig down to the very root of our identity and steer us in the direction that feels aligned with who we truly are. 

If you feel stuck trying to figure out what is best for you, honing in on your core values could help you:

  • Feel more confident in your decisions
  • Listen to your intuition or “gut feeling
  • Have more conviction in your daily life
  • Define your version of success
  • Make choices that match your overall vision

Your values are ultimately what drive your identity and your decisions.  

What is An Example of a Core Value?

Integrity, kindness, honesty, and financial security are typical examples of personal core values. Others often see these values as your character traits. For example, someone who is known for always doing the right thing likely values integrity. 

Suppose you have a core value of freedom. In that case, you might avoid traditional work and instead work as an entrepreneur–even if this means working longer hours and having more financial uncertainty. 

Another common example relates to money. Pretend that your close friend has a fancy car. When you ride in the car with them, you think, “Wow, someday I am going to buy myself one of these!”

But when you get home, remember that you genuinely value financial security for your family more than flashy material items. Even if you had the money to buy that car, you wouldn’t do it because it doesn’t align with your deeper principles about life. 

Master Core Values List

As proven, personal values affect nearly every decision you make, from your relationships to your profession to the things you buy. While your childhood may have engrained some values in you, your thoughts and actions can also consciously form others. Scientists have found that unconscious beliefs impact our actions.

Use these master lists of values to narrow down what matters most to you. We’ve included personal values, relationship values, work values, ethical values, and community values. 

List of Core Values in Work

Certain principles guide the type of work you pursue, whether you’re an entrepreneur, employee, or freelancer. Defining your company’s core values can shape your core mission behind selling products or services. They define why and how they conduct business. On a personal level, these values help you determine the broader vision of your career and your daily performance in the workplace.

  1. Accountability
  2. Achievement
  3. Adaptability
  4. Business Acumen
  5. Charisma
  6. Coaching
  7. Collaboration
  8. Consistency
  9. Constructive Criticism
  10. Credibility
  11. Customer Focus
  12. Dedication to the Excellence
  13. Dependability
  14. Diversity
  15. Dynamic Responses
  16. Encouragement
  17. Enjoyment
  18. Enthusiasm
  19. Entrepreneurship
  20. Ethical Leadership
  21. Expertise Development
  22. Fame
  23. Fast Pace
  24. Feedback
  25. Focus
  26. Growth Mindset
  27. Hard Work Ethic
  28. Imagination
  29. Ingenuity
  30. Initiative
  31. Innovation
  32. Leadership
  33. Learning From Mistakes
  34. Management
  35. Mentorship
  36. Operational Effectiveness
  37. Organization
  38. Persistence
  39. Positive Impact
  40. Power
  41. Problem-Solving
  42. Professional Growth
  43. Professional Integrity
  44. Professionalism
  45. Profit
  46. Punctuality
  47. Quality
  48. Resilience
  49. Resourcefulness
  50. Responsibility
  51. Self-Development
  52. Self-Motivation
  53. Service to Others
  54. Skill Mastery
  55. Strategic Vision
  56. Thinking outside the box
  57. Tidiness
  58. Timeliness
  59. Trial and Error
  60. Versatility
  61. Work Ethos
  62. Work Smarter, Not Harder
  63. Work-Life Balance

List of Personal Core Values for Life

Whether you’re setting financial goals or taking a big step in your family life, knowing your values will ensure that each decision fits your overall mission. These values are specific to your personal life: 

  1. Adventure
  2. Alone Time
  3. Altruism
  4. Animal Rights
  5. Anti-Racism
  6. Artistry
  7. Awareness
  8. Balance
  9. Change the World
  10. Chasing Your Dreams
  11. Cleverness
  12. Comedy
  13. Community
  14. Conformity
  15. Consciousness
  16. Contentment
  17. Creativity
  18. Curiosity
  19. Entertainment
  20. Environmental Protection
  21. Exhilaration
  22. Existential Wisdom
  23. Experiential Learning
  24. Experimentation
  25. Exploration
  26. Extraordinary Experiences
  27. Family First
  28. Financial Security
  29. Finesse
  30. Free Time
  31. Freedom
  32. Friendship
  33. Going with the Flow
  34. Happiness
  35. Health and Fitness
  36. Holistic Well-being
  37. Implementation
  38. Inner Truth
  39. Inspire Others
  40. Laughter
  41. Leisure
  42. Life Exploration
  43. Life Purpose
  44. Lifelong Adventure
  45. Liveliness
  46. Modesty
  47. Natural Living
  48. Non-Conformity
  49. Non-Violence
  50. Novelty
  51. Open-Mindedness
  52. Originality
  53. Peace of Mind
  54. Personal Development
  55. Personal Expression
  56. Personal Fulfillment
  57. Personal Legacy
  58. Positive Attitude
  59. Pride in Your Work
  60. Protecting Others
  61. Reliability
  62. Religion
  63. Respect
  64. Righteousness
  65. Saving Money
  66. Self-Control
  67. Self-Discipline
  68. Self-Preservation
  69. Social Justice
  70. Socializing
  71. Spiritual Growth
  72. Spontaneity
  73. Strength
  74. This Too Shall Pass
  75. Travel
  76. Trust Your Gut
  77. Understanding
  78. Vivaciousness
  79. Wellness
  80. Wit

One of the best ways to know if you’ve set the right goals for yourself is if they match your personal values. This ensures that you are building a life around who you want to be.

If you’d like more tips on how to set the right goals, you might enjoy this free training.

How To Set Better Goals Using Science

Do you set the same goals over and over again? If you’re not achieving your goals – it’s not your fault!

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List of Core Values in Relationships

Relationships are scientifically proven to improve our happiness, health, and longevity. However, a happy relationship must be founded on similar values for two people to thrive together. Use these values to define what is most important to you in a friend or significant other. 

  1. Affection
  2. Appreciation
  3. Boundaries
  4. Clear Communication
  5. Commitment
  6. Confidence
  7. Cooperation
  8. Competitiveness
  9. Dedication
  10. Deep Connections
  11. Emotional Intelligence
  12. Emotional Support
  13. Equal Relationship
  14. Faithfulness
  15. Fidelity
  16. Forgiveness
  17. Generosity
  18. Gentleness
  19. Gift-Giving
  20. Harmonious Living
  21. Heartfelt Connection
  22. Intimacy
  23. Listening
  24. Loyal Companionship
  25. Mutual Respect
  26. Mutual Support
  27. Nurturing Nature
  28. Passion
  29. Patience
  30. Playfulness
  31. Quality Time
  32. Reciprocity
  33. Romance
  34. Romantic Devotion
  35. Shared Values
  36. Showing Appreciation
  37. Silliness
  38. Soulful Bonding
  39. Stability
  40. Support
  41. Sweetness
  42. Symbiosis
  43. Thoughtfulness
  44. Traditional Gender Roles
  45. Transparency
  46. Trustworthiness
  47. Unconditional Love
  48. Vulnerability
  49. Warmth

If you’re not sure, this article can also help you get a sense of the types of love languages you value in your relationships. 

List of Ethical Core Values 

Biologists have found that the capacity for morality separates humans from animals. Animals cannot differentiate between right and wrong, but humans have the power to use their core values to make moral judgments. To do so, each individual must decide what they value most in life. Here are the most fundamental ethics that people identify with: 

  1. Abundance
  2. Acceptance
  3. Accuracy
  4. Autonomy
  5. Beauty
  6. Bliss
  7. Boldness
  8. Bravery
  9. Calmness
  10. Capitalism
  11. Change
  12. Charity
  13. Clarity
  14. Cleanliness
  15. Compassion
  16. Conscientiousness
  17. Courage
  18. Decisiveness
  19. Efficiency
  20. Ethical Awareness
  21. Fairness
  22. Faith
  23. Friendliness
  24. Fun
  25. Goodness
  26. Gracefulness
  27. Gratitude
  28. Honesty
  29. Honor
  30. Honorable Conduct
  31. Hope
  32. Humility
  33. Humor
  34. Independence
  35. Influence
  36. Insightfulness
  37. Integrity
  38. Intuition
  39. Joy
  40. Justice
  41. Kindness
  42. Knowledge
  43. Lawfulness
  44. Moral Courage
  45. Nobility
  46. Openness
  47. Optimism
  48. Peacefulness
  49. Principled
  50. Promise-keeping
  51. Prosperity
  52. Prudence
  53. Rectitude
  54. Respect
  55. Righteousness
  56. Self-love
  57. Selflessness
  58. Sincerity
  59. Spirituality
  60. Success
  61. Veracity
  62. Virtuousness
  63. Wealth
  64. Wisdom

List of Community and Social Core Values

If you are a community builder of any kind, then it’s important to think about what values will bind your community together. Take inspiration from this list!

  1. Accessibility
  2. Caring
  3. Civic Engagement
  4. Civic Pride
  5. Collective Well-being
  6. Communal Prosperity
  7. Community Activism
  8. Community Resilience
  9. Connection
  10. Consent
  11. Conservation
  12. Cultural Harmony
  13. Dialogue
  14. Dignity
  15. Empathy
  16. Empowerment
  17. Engagement
  18. Equality
  19. Flexibility
  20. Grassroots Empowerment
  21. Growth
  22. Harmony
  23. Heritage
  24. Inclusive Policies
  25. Inclusivity
  26. Inspiration
  27. Love of Learning
  28. Neighborly Support
  29. Participation
  30. Pro-activity
  31. Safety
  32. Social Cohesion
  33. Social Responsibility
  34. Solidarity
  35. Stewardship
  36. Sustainability
  37. Synergy
  38. Teamwork
  39. Tolerance
  40. Tradition
  41. Unity
  42. Vitality
  43. Volunteerism
  44. Welcoming

How Do I Identify My Core Values?

Making a list of your core values can help you determine who and what you want in your life. When your path becomes unclear, or you face a challenging situation, you can refer back to your core values and ask, “Is this truly aligned with who I am?”

Your list of core values ultimately answers the question: What do I value most in this world? 

To figure out your “true north,” try the CORE value exercise:

  1. Contemplation: Go somewhere quiet, such as a meditative space or a natural area where you can reflect in silence. Turn off your phone and bring a notebook so you can focus. Begin by jotting down random things that come to mind when you ask yourself, “What do I value most in life?”
  2. Openness: On the next page, journal or reflect for a moment on the topic of authenticity. 

Ask yourself, “When do I feel most like myself?” Is it when you’re with certain people or doing certain things? Certain memories might come up when you really felt like yourself. 

You should also reflect on when you feel unaligned with yourself. What feelings are triggered in certain situations that make you betray or act differently to fit in? Be honest with yourself and dig into the underlying motivations behind that self-betrayal. Embracing your authentic self is a strong representation of your core values. 

  1. Respect: Think about who you admire and respect most in this world. Perhaps it’s a parent, an author, or a celebrity public figure. Write down the names of 3 people you highly respect. Then, jot down words next to their names that describe why you look up to them.

 For example, if you highly respect Denzel Washington, it may be because he gives back to his community and stays humble despite his fame. These are key clues that you value generosity and humility.  

  1. Excitement: Think about what most inspires you to take action. Are you motivated by the excitement of earning enough money to help your parents buy a house to retire in? Or do you feel more inspired by the idea of having your work affect the lives of as many people as possible? Expressing your inner drive can help you tap into what pushes you forward. Is it money, fame, security, impact, charity, or something else? 

Once you complete the exercise, grab a highlighter and circle the top 5 core values that feel most aligned with who you are. 

Then, rank your values from 1-5, where 1 is the most important.

And lastly, write a short sentence on what each value means to you.

Make a wallet card, phone wallpaper, or other reminder that you can regularly see to guide you in tough decisions. 

How to Use Core Values in Your Job Search Process

When you bring your core values into your job search, you increase the likelihood that you’ll find a role that resonates with your deepest beliefs and aspirations. The ideal is to find a workplace that feels like home, where your values aren’t just accepted but celebrated.

And when you bring your values into your application, you are signaling to employers that you’re more than just competent; you are a great match for the company culture.

Here are a few tips to think about.

1) Incorporate core values into your resume.

Adding your core values to your resume can give potential employers a glimpse into who you are beyond your skills and experience. 

2) Align your core values with your prospective employers during the job search.

When looking for a job, make sure to scan through each potential employer’s value list.

You don’t need to match values 100%. But if, for example, “work-life balance” is a huge value of yours, and a company has a core value of “working around the clock,” then this may be a sign that this company isn’t a value fit.

3) Discuss core values during interviews to make a meaningful impression.

When applying for a company, look at their values page. Or if they don’t have one, try to ascertain their top 5 values from their mission statement and vision statement.

Then, think about which of their values you also hold dear. Prepare to speak to those values during your interview. 

Do Values Come From Choice of Upbringing?

Many values may be engrained in you from your upbringing, while others may have established on your own. Values become especially evident when you meet someone raised entirely different from you.

For example, someone raised to value family traditions may always eat dinner around the table. On the other hand, a family who values sports and entertainment may spend their evenings and holidays eating dinner on the couch. 

Similarly, a person raised to value charity may donate their extra money to a charitable cause. In contrast, someone who values frugality and financial independence may think putting their extra money in a savings account is best. 

Someone who values beauty will spend their money on clothing or makeup, while someone who values health will budget more for fresh food and supplements. You get the idea. 

How to Understand Someone Else’s Core Values

To understand someone’s core values, you can also look at how they make big life decisions. 

For example, a person who values freedom and adventure probably spends much of their time and money on travel. Maybe they decide not to have children or buy a house because they prefer to live as a digital nomad traveling the world.

However, someone who deeply values stability, security, and routine will craft their life differently. They may want to settle down, get married, and raise children in a nice neighborhood while working a corporate job. While they may vacation, they are less likely to make radical or spontaneous travel decisions like the example above. 

This all comes down to what people want most out of life. None of these examples are right or wrong. Instead, they illuminate how different values play out in people’s daily decisions. Each person will follow their unique path based on their core values. 

Corporate Core Values

Companies also use core values. For a company, core values usually go alongside a mission statement and a vision statement. They serve as pillars for the company culture and help align the company toward its goals. 

For example, Meta’s core values are:

  • Move fast
  • Focus on long-term impact
  • Build awesome things
  • Live in the future
  • Be direct and respect your colleagues
  • Meta, metamates, me (which refers to employees commitment to the company and each other)

When you read through these core values, you might see that they fit your perception of what Meta is trying to do: create rapid growth in technology.

As another example, here are YouTube’s core values:

  • Freedom of Expression
  • Freedom of Information
  • Freedom of Opportunity (for creators)
  • Freedom to Belong

These are very different than Meta’s values. But they seem to fit YouTube reasonably well. YouTube is a place where information is everywhere, there’s tons of expression, people find communities, and anyone can put up a video.

As one last example, let’s look at Ben and Jerry’s. Despite being an ice cream company, their core values are:

  • Human Rights & Dignity
  • Social & Economic Justice
  • Environmental Protection, Restoration, & Regeneration

Very different from Meta and YouTube! But you can imagine that working at Ben and Jerry’s would be much more oriented toward activism.

If you work at a company, how can you use your core values to shape your company culture?

Core Values Frequently Asked Questions

Why are core values important?

Core values are the guiding principles that define your identity and your choices. They help you determine which people, things, goals, and decisions align with your true self. At the deepest level, knowing your core values prevents you from betraying yourself in pursuit of temporary or futile distractions. Values give you a firm footing in your beliefs and a solid internal compass to gauge your decision-making. 

Can core values be changed?

Core values are at the root of who you are, but that doesn’t mean they are entirely unchangeable. Drastic personal transformation or unsettling changes in one’s life can warrant reevaluating your established values. However, changing those values may require deep self-reflection, personal growth, and daily practice to rewire old habits. 

Can core values be negative?

Some people have negative core beliefs about themselves and others. For example, they may fundamentally believe, “I am not good enough,” “the world is dangerous,” or “all men/women are bad.” They may also have negative values that make them believe lying, cheating, or stealing are OK. When these values become engrained in someone’s psyche, it can lead to all sorts of problems in their life. However, personal development and shifting your priorities in life can help you change your values to be more aligned with the best version of yourself.

Can culture influence core values?

Yes, culture can significantly influence core values, as cultural norms and practices often shape an individual’s beliefs and priorities. The values promoted by a person’s cultural background can deeply impact their personal value system.

Why are core values pivotal in personal development?

Core values are pivotal in personal development because they provide a foundational framework for decision-making and behavior. They guide personal growth and help individuals align their actions with their beliefs and goals.

Can core values change over time?

Yes, core values can change over time as individuals encounter new experiences, challenges, and perspectives. Life events and personal growth often lead to the evolution or refinement of one’s core values.

Key Takeaways: Core Values are Your North Star in Life

Sometimes the broad vision for your life can be clouded by temptations or distractions. Without clear values, it can feel like navigating through a dark, stormy sea. You have no moral grounds where you can firmly root your feet as you make decisions regarding your relationships, career, and life goals.

Defining your core values is essential for guiding you through uncertain times. Deep down, you probably already know what you value, but putting it into words can help give you even more clarity as you move forward. 

Use the CORE value exercise to find your “true north”: 

  • Contemplation: Go somewhere quiet to reflect on what you value most in life. Take mental notes or jot down your thoughts in a notebook. 
  • Openness: Ask yourself— When do you feel the most open to being your authentic self? What people or situations make you feel alive? Alternatively, when do you feel drained?  
  • Respect: Think about who you admire the most and why. This can clue you into particular values you may share with people you look up to. 
  • Excitement: Reflect on what makes you feel the most inspired. What pushes you to move forward? Is it impact, fame, fortune, charity, family, or all of the above?

At the end of the exercise, narrow down your 3-5 most important core values and keep them in mind as you move through life. Notice when you are in alignment with your values versus when you are betraying your core. Ultimately, understanding what people value is the secret to mastering people skills and succeeding in business or life. Find your “value language” in this guide to the 10 Value Languages That Will Help You Understand People Better.

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