Who do you think you are? How to discover your values to get to know yourself better

“Can you remember who you were, before the world told you who you should be?” – Charles Bukowski

Knowing yourself, as Socrates is often credited as saying, is the beginning of all wisdom.

But how easy is it to know who you truly are, what makes you tick and how it influences the ways in which you behave and thrive in your personal and professional life?

Your personality is a complex, unique entity and spending time exploring and understanding it more and to a deeper level will help you to grow your confidence, recognise your worth, celebrate your strengths and identify your weaknesses.

This in turn will help to shape your character in your career and how it determines your behaviour amongst colleagues, your work ethic, your ability to cope with stress and so much more, whether you’re in a leadership, mid-level or junior role.

So, where to start?

Discovering and choosing your values is one of the best starting points when trying to understand yourself and how you work.

Values are a framework – a set of principles – that are particularly meaningful to you and determine the ways in which you behave, your decision-making process, how you approach your relationships with people, and how you cope with uncomfortable, stressful or upsetting situations.

It is therefore quite clear to see why there is value in knowing what your values are.

Your core values might be five to eight things that you hold dear – they are ideals that you consciously, or perhaps subconsciously, like to live and work by.

There are plenty to choose from, and when reading the brief list of examples below, you might find that some automatically jump out and resonate with you.

Examples of values include:

  • Creativity
  • Confidence
  • Helping others
  • Financial security
  • Compassion
  • Loyalty
  • Honesty
  • Learning
  • Health
  • Control
  • Competitiveness
  • Family
  • Nature
  • Adventure
  • Connection with others
  • Independence
  • Success
  • Freedom
  • Beauty
  • Bravery

Identifying your values

If you’re unsure about how to identify your main values, it’s helpful to think of people in your life that are special to you, and think about the types of values that are driving them.

It might be a parent, a best friend, an employer or a sibling that you admire and respect – but why? Are they compassionate, fun-loving or spontaneous? Are they loyal? Are they brutally honest or hard-working? Whatever characteristics they have that cause you to like them, think about what the core value is behind this trait, and see how it relates to your personality and how you can live your life according to that value to a greater extent.

You can also think about times in your life you have felt particularly challenged or stressed, and what you did to get you through that time. Likewise, think of times you were happy and the reasons for it, and moments you were proud of yourself – what made you proud and what decisions did you take to reach that feeling? All of this exploration will help to clarify the principles that drive you forwards in everything you do.

These drivers are present in our lives whether we are aware of them or not, but becoming aware of them is what allows you to know yourself better, and to actively make conscious decisions that are compatible with your values.

For example, if you value creativity but currently have a job that you feel stifles your flare, your personality and your career will likely feel at odds with each other, and you may end up growing resentful of your job and the career path you chose.

Similarly, if you value connection with others and the desire to help people, working in a purely corporate job that has little relation to the average person on the street may leave you questioning whether the results of your work are meaningful enough for you.

It’s worth noting that when choosing your values, some may seem obvious to you, and others might require more thoughtful selection. You’re allowed to change your mind too, and sometimes when life presents you with a new, uncertain challenge, you might be forced to re-assess your values.

As you travel through life and your career, you might also find that some of your values are in direct conflict with one another. That’s perfectly normal, and in such circumstances, your behaviour, actions and decisions will be determined by whichever value you prioritise over another.

Your values in a team

Whether you’re in a management, mid-level or junior role, your values will determine how you work with others.

A leader who values hard work and success is going to lead by example and inspire others with their work ethic, for example, and a leader who values compassion above all else is going to be able to tolerate mistakes and let their team develop their own approach to tasks and processes.

As a team member, working with your ideals in mind will help you identify the sort of role you play within a group setting. Independence may mean you’re more than happy to work by yourself, bravery might mean you’re less afraid to take risks, and control may mean you naturally step into a leadership role when asked to work in a team.

Whatever your personal or professional life looks like, your values will have formed the path that has led you to this point, and they will be the guidelines you can use to help set your goals for the future.

To explore this topic in more depth, we have listed a few articles below:

Optimising work space: The benefits of inviting the outdoors, inside your home

As the UK’s roadmap out of lockdown is now underway, we begin our journey back to normal life (again).

Although, this begs the question – what is ‘normal life’ going to be like? Whilst it’s evident none of us are sure on when our lives will resume as before, due to the ever-changing rules and restrictions, we need to continue adapting our methods of working, socialising and living whilst under these rules, ensuring we do so in a way that enriches our lives and well-being as much as possible.

Whilst the government has stated that employees will commence working from offices again in ‘a few short months’, a recent study found that 89% of participants in the UK would be happy to work from home for at least one day a week, if not more in the future.*

Since the pandemic hit last March, 87% of employees reported their businesses have adapted to hybrid working, and it’s looking likely that organisations will adopt a hybrid working model for the foreseeable, with the workforce divided between working remotely and in the office.*

We understand that sometimes, it can be incredibly difficult to self-motivate at home when in work mode, especially if you’ve been affected by the pandemic burnout. So, we’ve compiled a list of benefits to help you understand why inviting the outdoors into your inside working environment will set you on the right track to a more focused, calm and optimised mind set.

Letting light in

As we step into spring, the sun begins to grace us with its glorious presence. Letting the light into your home creates a more comfortable, breathable environment, allowing your area to feel more spacious whilst connecting us to the outside world. Therefore, our cooped-up space feels bigger and less claustrophobic.

So, open a window, draw those curtains back, and bask in the ambience of natural lighting.

Sunlight exposure

In addition to this, the sunlight also increases our serotonin levels, which provides us with copious benefits such as:  improving our sleeping pattern, helping us to focus better and making us happier. A recent study shows that since the start of the pandemic, 58% of participants sleeping patterns have been negatively affected, therefore exposing ourselves to a generous amount of sunlight is key to our psychological well-being.*

Earthy tones

Dulux’s colour of the year for 2021 has been voted for as ‘Brave ground’, a warming neutral shade inspired by the peaceful simplicity nature presents to us.

After spending a year indoors more than ever before, we have found comfort in being outside within nature, and quite frankly, we crave it.

By introducing warmer earthy tones throughout your house, enables you to create a calming ‘sanctuary’ for yourself, whilst helping to uplift your spirit as a sense of connection to the outside world is created, all in the comfort of your own humble abode.

Sage greens, inky blues and pastel pinks are key shades to help create the perfect palette.


Not only do they add to the aesthetic appeal of a room, houseplants actually provide us with an abundance of benefits in terms of our well-being. It’s been found that house plants improve the air quality around the house. Not only do they transform the carbon dioxide around them into oxygen, but they also increase humidity levels – which is perfect if you’re an allergy sufferer.

Houseplants also increase our productivity levels as air purifying elements help us to balance the levels of CO2 within our bodies.

Finally, if you’re finding yourself suffering from headaches after the end of a tiresome day, houseplants have been found to help reduce levels of ‘formaldehyde’ in the air – which is a chemical found in many indoor environments and is often a common cause of headaches. So put the paracetamol away, and pot the plants instead!*

Natural materials

By introducing natural materials such as wood throughout your household, without even knowing it, you are in fact reducing stress and blood pressure, whilst increasing levels of creativity and productivity.* Who knew?

Ultimately, spending time within nature is the remedy we all need for a rejuvenated lifestyle, but whilst it’s not always feasible for us to enjoy the delights nature presents to us due to hectic work schedules – there are certainly adjustments we can make to our environments, allowing the exposure to enhancing assets that nature poses to us, as much as we possibly can.

Contact us today at Jennie Holland PR – as your PR agency, we can adapt and implement new strategies, strengthening your brand and business.

References –
Stats – https://voxeu.org/article/working-home-revolutionising-uk-labour-market
*VoxEU, 2021.
*The Guardian, 2021.
*Microsoft, 2021.
*Real Homes, N/A
Create Gift Love, N/A

Life after lockdown: How can we look after our mental health now and in the future?

After marking one year since the UK first entered lockdown, we wanted to explore one of the hidden consequences of the isolated lives we’ve all been leading over the past 12 months – the effect it has had on our mental health and wellbeing, and what steps we can take to ensure we continue to cope and thrive through challenging times.  

It has been reported that as many as ten million people in the UK now require new or additional mental health support as a direct result of the COVID-19 pandemic, with the president of the Royal College of Psychiatrists, Dr Adrian James, predicting that the lasting effects of the pandemic on our mental wellbeing will be felt for years to come.  

As many of us faced uncertainty in 2020 – be it over our health, employment, living and working from home situations, or through concern for family and friends, the pandemic has understandably sparked a wave of national anxiety, as we grow increasingly eager to return to normality.  

But just as we had to adjust to lockdown life, we will also have to readjust once again when restrictions are finally lifted. Though not an officially recognised mental health condition (yet?)Post Pandemic Stress Disorder is a term being used already.  

Lockdown has presented us with some valuable learnings and opportunities tooin terms of revaluating our lives, identifying our priorities, putting things into perspective and setting new goals for ourselves 

So, what can we do to continue to remain strong through the remainder of lockdown, and get ready for returning to normality?  

We’ve shared our top recommendations to help with moving forward, to ensure we’re prepared.

Work-life balance 

As many workers made the transition from the office to home during lockdown, we adapted and developed new daily routines in order to continue our work from the safety of our homesA stressful time for businesses both large and small, as a flexible and fast response was required to keep companies running smoothly despite the upheaval that closing offices caused.  

Working remotely, though challenging, has revealed some of the qualities that are needed to do it effectivelyIt strips away all of the other ‘stuff’ that goes along with being in an office – the commute, what you choose to wear, the vending machine chit-chat, making sure you shout loudest about how busy you are – instead, it just boils down to the work, and the quality of work, that you achieve in a day.  

This change highlights the importance of a work-life balance, which has become a hot topic of discussion over the last few years, long before the pandemic hit.  

Learning how to switch off at the end of the day and not worry about all the things you have to do the next day, is a real skill – and one that is vitally important to your mental health.   

Little things like switching off your phone, or not checking your emails outside of office hours, will allow you to reclaim some valuable me-time that you can spend how you wish.  

Reach out to loved ones 

Lockdown life meant that many families were separated, unable to travel to visit one another and were reliant on telephone and Skype/Zoom calls to connect. 

The isolation we’ve all experienced from friends and family members can be used as motivation to reach out to those we haven’t spoken to in a while – as a lack of social interaction can remind us how important it fundamentally is to us, as humans. We are sociable creatures, so once lockdown ends, we will all be more grateful than ever to meet up with familiar faces once again.  

Since lockdown has helped to put aspects of our lives into perspective, it may also be the perfect time to reconnect with those you’ve lost touch with – school friends or estranged family members for example  or if you know anyone who has a history of mental health issues, reaching out with a simple message to see how they are doing can be a very powerful way of reminding them that they are remembered and heard.  

Make time for yourself 

Similar to creating a healthy work-life balance, making time for yourself will allow you to enjoy that all-important me-time.  

Instead of sitting on the couch scrolling through your phone or watching your favourite streaming platform, decide to spend your time in a slightly different way. Self-care comes in many forms, and really depends on what you enjoy doing, what relaxes you and what fills you with passion.  

If you have a hobby, or have something you’ve always wanted to get into, take steps to make it happen and spend some time on it each week. 

If you’ve always dreamed of painting – paint, if you’ve always wanted to try pottery – take steps towards making that a reality, whether it’s purchasing a beginner’s kit, or booking a class once they’re (hopefully) open later in the year.  

Set your own goals 

It might not be a new year, but the plan to relax lockdown restrictions over the spring and summer months feels like a reset – a chance to start again. With that in mind, setting goals for yourself for what you’d like to achieve professionally and personally will be a great way to stay focused, work hard and look after yourself.  

There is little point in creating too many goals, as you’re bound to set yourself up for disappointment (how many New Year’s resolutions do we really successfully stick to?) – instead, choose two or three things that you’d like to change or work towards.  

It can be small or large – go for a walk at least once this week, spend two hours studying an online coursetry a new recipe once a week, give up meat on Mondays – it’s up to you, but achieving your goals, no matter how small, is a very rewarding experience and helps you practice self-discipline. 

Celebrate your resilience 

The past twelve months may have taught you something new about yourself or your life – you might have realised you don’t enjoy your job; you need a new car or a new home, you want to start a family – whatever it is, using the time we’ve had in lockdown, staying at home and reflecting on what’s taking place in the world, may have helped to put some things into perspective for you. 

Remember – you’ve made it this far, faced uncertainty and anxiety and that shows true strength. What would the current you say to yourself 12 months ago, having lived through lockdown? Celebrate your resilience, and with hindsight and reflection, allow yourself to realise that you’re stronger than you think.

Useful charities, helplines and websites: 

  • Mind – providing advice and support to empower anyone experiencing a mental health problem.  
  • Samaritans  free confidential helpline, 24/7, offering support for anyone wishing to talk about problems or concerns they’re experiencing.  
  • Shout UK – free confidential texting service, 24/7, offering support for anyone in crisis. 
  • CALM – Campaign Against Living Miserably  a leading movement against suicide, offering support and advice.  
  • The Mix – a leading support service for people under the age of 25 experiencing mental health problems.  
  • Rethink Mental Illness – helping people with mental health issues through local groups and services.