Setting Goals for Your Business: The Value of Values

“A goal properly set is halfway reached.” – Zig Ziglar

Setting Goals for Your Business: The Value of Values

By Andrea Novakowski

Justine, an author and consultant, had given herself the goal of getting her self-help book published. But when she sent her proposal to agents, they told her that for her book to attract the necessary interest, she needed a presence on the internet. She’d have to maintain her own website and become active on social media. Other than her personal Facebook page, Justine didn’t have much online experience. The agents’ advice made sense, but she had doubts about her ability to follow it.

You see, Justine was being held back by one of her values – excellence.

The pursuit of excellence was important to Justine. She took pride in the fact that her work was consistently outstanding. And she felt overwhelmed by the prospect of creating a social media presence when she really had no idea what she was doing.

When Justine brought this up during our coaching session, I encouraged her to review her other values to see if they might provide an alternate perspective. “Well,” she said, “another one of my values is creativity.”

It was as if the gates had opened up. By focusing on her value of creativity and letting it take precedence, in this instance, over her need for excellence, Justine was able to shift her outlook from one of defeat to one of excitement. She could be creative in her approach to her website and social media activity. She could set aside her need to be a perfectionist.

What are your values? How do they influence your goals?

As you think about what you’d like to accomplish in the new year, start by identifying your values. According to Sydney Rice, creator of the PaperRoom skills assessment tool (now known as The Results Accelerator), our values are like gas tanks. Periodically, we need to fill them up – do an activity that aligns with our values – in order to maintain our strong sense of self and perform at our best.

Think about how you behave when you don’t get enough sleep or feel really hungry. Now compare that to how much better you feel after a good night’s rest or a healthy, filling meal. That’s what happens when you “fill up” your values; you feel more awake, aligned, and fulfilled.

For the new year, I want you to show up at your best as you work toward your goals. And the most effective way I know of to do this is to tie your goals to one or more of your values.

Here is a three-step process that can help:

1.  Identify your top five values. True values are the qualities of life that you cherish most. They’re expressions of yourself. What are the things in life you most value? Some examples might be adventure, making a contribution, teaching, learning, mastery, or pleasure. Not sure what your values are? Click here for a list to start from.

2. Look for your values in your current life. Are there things you do, places you go, or people you spend time with that express these values… or not?

3. Notice if some of your values conflict. As we saw above, Justine’s value of excellence was at odds with her value of creativity. But our first attempts at creative work are just that – attempts. They don’t represent excellence at the beginning. So make sure you’re identifying the value that best fits a particular goal at its current stage.

This year, when you write down your goals, also note the value or values that each goal honors. Attaching values to your goals provides the nudge you need to help maintain your energy, fill your gas tank, and honor what’s important to you.


  • Take some time to create your own personal list of values.
  • As you walk through the Goal-Setting Kit, draw on your values to create a list of goals that you actually care about!

When your values and goals align, you are much more likely to reach those goals and the success that comes with them.