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Part 2 of 3: Uncover Your Core Values

by: Jen Verharen


April 2017
Photo courtesy Jen Verharen, Jenni Terp Photography

Last month we discussed creating a vision for your business, your riding, or any other aspect of your life. Because each part in this series builds on the last one, you might want to review last month’s article. You can read it online at

Do you ever wonder why you’re driven to chase particular goals? Why your aspirations with your horse are so important to you? What drives you to get up at the crack of dawn, spend your hard earned money and endless hours in the saddle honing and improving your riding? Core values are the guiding principles that dictate your desires and actions. They help you decide what’s right and wrong and make tough decisions. They are like your compass. If you don’t have your core values clear in your mind, you might feel a lack of direction, have trouble making decisions or feel unsure about setting goals.

If you’ve ever lain awake at night feeling sick to your stomach about something you did or said, you know what it’s like to feel out of sync with your core values. Identifying them clearly can help you have fewer of these sleepless nights.

You can use your core values to set goals that you will achieve!

  1. Rather than looking to your past to identify your core values, look to your future. What areas of your life are the most important in your vision? Things such as your family, horses, business or work, friends, home, art, spirituality, finances, health and fitness, personal growth, travel, or relationships all might be important areas. Identify those areas. Mine are riding, business, family, adventure, and health and fitness (not necessarily in that order).
  2. For each of these areas, extract a core value by asking yourself why the things in your vision are important and how they make you feel. Eventually, you’ll get down to why those things really matter and what value they’re driven by. You’ll get to things like, love, security, joy, adventure, or authenticity. My core values are connection, evolution, peace and freedom.

I’ve learned that the ability to express your core values in your daily life is at the heart of what makes you happy. If you’re not, you’ll inevitably feel a degree of suffering. That could show up as restlessness, depression, feeling stuck, stressed, frustrated, resentful, irratable, anxious, sadness or disappointment—even simple longing.

Next month, I’ll show you how to use your core values to guide your goal setting process and find true fulfillment and happiness along the way.

Knowing your core values can help give you the courage you need to take risks, try new things, get out of unhealthy or destructive situations or motivate you to get out and ride your horse. They give you something to base decisions on besides the emotions you’re feeling in the moment.

Having your core values clear in your mind when you set goals will help ensure that your goals are in alignment with your vision. Knowing your core values helps keep you motivated for the long haul. Even if you think you know what your core values are, reexamine them. They can change. Depending on what life or career stage you’re in, your values can shift over time based on your experiences. You might be someone who held success as a high value early in your career but as you get older, you begin to realize that you now value peace more than success.

It’s important to reexamine your values periodically, especially if you’re approaching a transition or a new phase. So many times, I find people are unhappy simply because they have not recognized that their values have changed and they’re trying to live in an old life—finding it hard to give up attachments to desires they had years earlier. Ask yourself if it’s time for you to take a fresh look! Next month, get ready to set some powerful goals.

Want a partner to help you achieve your goals? Join me for Take the Reins: A Goal Setting & Empowerment Project for Riders at This is a totally unique, affordable program designed to help you set and achieve your most important goals. Use promo code TTR50 to get $50 off the regular price.


Originally Published April 2017 Issue

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