Tough Decision? Try Values Based Decision Making

Humans have different ways of making decisions which range from instinct, subconscious beliefs, conscious beliefs, values, intuition, emotion, logic, science and inspiration. As people are being more conscious, they tend to choose the latter of the listed forms of decision making as evolutionary perspectives, values based decision making and inspirations are still new.  If you are struggling to make an important decision you might try Values Based Decision Making.

What are values?

Your values are the things you feel are important in the way you work and live. They determine your priorities and how well you are living and they can be used to measure how fulfilled you are. You become satisfied and content when the things you do are in line with your values. In fact, they represent the way you want to be in the world.

What is values based decision making?

Values based decision making is important for individuation and self-actualization. It helps us become fully who we are by transcending our belief systems into our realities.

In the human sense, your values are your life compass. Values exist whether you recognize them or not and life can be much easier when you make plans and decisions that honour your values.  Our values protect our decisions, they inspire us, they make us happy and they determine our level of satisfaction in everything we do. In some cases, we have things we cherish and things that bring out the best in us, if these things are missing a person feels stagnant, detached, cored, incomplete, unsuccessful and nothing seems good. 

So when difficult decisions arise, it’s important to tap into your values and your decision based on your values.

How do you make values based decisions?

Step 1: First determin what your values are:

Recall the times you were happiest

What did you involve in that gave you the highest feeling of joy in both your career and personal life and did you do it alone? What other things contributed to the happiness? All of these will ensure some balance.

Recall the times you were most proud

Link it to your happiness. Were you proud of the things you did and why were you proud? Did other people share in your pride? What other factors contributed to your feelings of pride?

Recall when you were most fulfilled and satisfied

With reference to work and personal examples what of your needs or desire was fulfilled? How and why did the experience give your life meaning? What other factors contributed to your feeling of fulfilment?

Recall when you were most frustrated or stagnant in your life

What were you feeling? What do you wish you could have expressed. There is another value or two hidden in there.

Look at how you spend your time and money

By looking at bank statements, credit card statements, investments and your schedule you will see what you most value as well. 

Step 2: Determine your top values based on what you have uncovered in the above list

What made each experience truly important and memorable?

Step 3: Prioritize your for the situation you need to make a difficult decision with

In this step, you’ll have to look deep inside yourself. It’s also the most important step because when making a decision you’ll have to choose between solutions that may satisfy different values. This is when you must know which value is more important to you.

Step 4: Occasionally be sure to reaffirm your values

Check your listed values and make sure your top priority values fit with your life and your vision for yourself. Check if the values make you feel good and happy. Are you proud of the values? When you consider your values in decision making, you can be certain that your integrity isn’t at stake and you are doing what is right and your decision can be approached with clarity and confidence. You can also be certain that what you are embarking on is secured for your future and present happiness. People can work out for themselves on what they need to do and in so doing, they become responsible and accountable for their behavior. 

What happens when we do not make values based decisions?

If one of your values are missing even if you love what you have found yourself doing, there is a time you wouldn’t feel fulfilled. Making values based decision may not be easy but it is the best decision you can build on, that is why it is necessary to identify and understand your values these following steps helps you in defining your values.

By not making values based decisions you could be surpressing the full expression of the person you are meant to be.

What happens when you have conflicting values?

Sometimes when you are making values based decisions you uncover two values that are in conflict with each other. When this happens ask yourself:

1) Which value is most importantt o you at this time?

2) What would it look like if I could honour both of these values at the same time? 

By doing this you might just come up with something really inventive and new instead of living in the polar opposites of pros and cons lists which are more than often not useful as they leave you in the same position you were in when you started.

Making values based decisions for business?

Value based decision making in the business provides a clear advantage over the traditional decision making models. It deals with making the organization better in a meaningful way by delivering values to the market place. In business, the value that your decision generates is based partially on how well you align your decision with purpose. Values based decision making is appropriate as an entrepreneur when tackling the following the following tasks:

  • Determining which products to enhance, maintain or stop supporting at the current status.
  • Determining which initiatives to start.
  • Determining the initiatives to maintain.
  • Determining the initiatives to stop. 

In entrepreneurship, without value models, you risk deciding in favor of something that does not generate business values or going against something that does. This leaves you in the position of selling something that you might not support. It’s hard to sell something you don’t truly love or believe in yourself.

If you are strugginling with making a decision and you need to uncover your values you should reach out to me to schedule a complimentary 15-minute phone call where we can begin to uncover your important values.


Dris, 2017. Values based decision making.

MTC. What are your values?

Barrett Values Centre, values based decision making

Heath S. 2018. Why value based care must include shared decision making.

McDonald K. 2017. Value based decision making


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