One of the best ways to identify what’s really important to us (our ‘values’) is to think about the people we see as role models or heroes and identify what it is about them that we admire.
This exercise is not about trying to become exactly like someone else or liking everything about them, and it may be that we only admire one particular aspect of their personality or lifestyle – perhaps there are even parts of them that we don’t like.
What’s important though is that they have one or more quality that we admire, and by identifying what that quality is, we can then look at how to incorporate it more into our own lives.
This can be a particularly useful exercise to undertake when contemplating a change of career, but it also applies in many other areas of life – for example, what we might be looking for in a romantic partner, or how we spend our leisure time.
The people can be real or fictional, people we know in person or famous people or characters.
As an example, one of my heroes is Brandon Stanton, the creator of Humans of New York. If you’re not familiar with HONY, I highly recommend you check out his website http://www.humansofnewyork.com and Facebook page.
There are a number of reasons I admire him, ranging from his ability to take great photos and get his subjects to open up and tell him about things that really matter to them, his social conscience and highlighting of how much we all have in common, the fact that he started taking photos as something constructive to do when he got made redundant and has created a completely unique concept out of this, and the way he has used his work to highlight social issues.