“I have learned that as long as I hold fast to my beliefs and values, and follow my own moral compass, then the only expectations I need to live up to are my own.” Michelle Obama
Once you join AIESEC, you will soon be asked to define your team values, LC values, or potentially even your personal values. Core values can be the fundamental beliefs of you personally, of your team, or of your organization. Once you set these values together with your team, before you start working on a project, these values will help you understand how you want your team to work together. They define what you find important, and how you should act within the team.
What about personal values?
Personal values are similar to team values, however, they only reflect on your own behavior. Before I joined AIESEC, I honestly had never thought about my personal values. However, after a full year experiencing the AIESEC culture, I started to understand the importance of having such core values, and hence, started to think about them for myself.
My personal values are kindness, creativity, and work ethic. These are a bit different than my personal strengths but do have some overlap. However, these values represent what I find important, and they affect my behavior on a day to day basis. This means that I try to be as kind as possible to everyone I meet, I try to think in creative ways about questions, and always work very hard, whether I like the work or not. Of course, it is not the case that I always act as I should according to my values, however, I try to do this as much as possible.
So what’s so great about defining your core values?
Once you have defined what you find important to live by, you can check whether the current or potential companies to work for have similar values. If they do, then these companies are probably a great match, and you will enjoy your time working there. At the same time, likely, your co-workers will also have similar core values, which will result in a pleasant working environment. Similarly, values can help you out with friendships, but be careful with this, since it is, of course, possible to have a beautiful friendship with someone with opposite values.
Lastly, core values can help you when you are not sure how to react to a particular situation. Since core values influence your behavior, they can help you ensure that you behave in a way that matches your personality, without the interference of emotions in the heat of the moment.
How to define your core values?
If you haven’t defined your personal values yet, you can do this by starting with a long list of possible values (Kindness, loyalty, honesty, family, etc.) and cross off the ones that don’t apply to you. Then you try to integrate the ones that are similar to each other and keep repeating this until you have your final set.