We all work hard for our money so it’s important that we make smart choices about where we spend this money. But do you realize how you spend your money, and the way you choose to live your life, reflects your core values? In this blog, I will show you how to discover your core values, how to align your actions to reflect your core values and use your money to support the things your are passionate about.
Step #1: Identify Your Core Values
Core values are the rules you choose to live by. They are the non-negotiable things you have decided are important to you. Core values help you:
- Establish personal relationships
- Guide your business decisions
- Give clarity to who you really are and what you stand for
- Take action without the need for explanation
Some personal core values include: health, freedom, money, family, ethical treatment of animals, human rights, etc.
Activity: Take a moment to write down the top 10 things you think are the most important to you in your life right now. Then, when you complete this list circle the top five most important values from your top 10. Finally, write down these top values in order of importance.
For example, my top 10 values are:
- Animal welfare
My top five values, in order of importance, are:
Please remember, that your core values may change over time so it’s important to revisit and revise them often.
Also, your personal core values may be different that your professional core values so perhaps make a second list that reflects your professional core values and notice how they differ.
Those of us who live in North America, buy products and services on a regular basis but often we are not giving enough thought to who these companies are and what they believe in.
If you are someone who chooses to live a compassionate, vegan lifestyle and don’t want to contribute to animal cruelty, or the destruction of our beautiful planet, it is very important to make sure the products and services you buy do not go to companies that support these things.
For example, let’s take a look at make-up companies. The cosmetic industry is a multi-billion dollar industry; however, before many products hit the public market they go through extensive testing on animals to be sure they are safe for human use. Sadly, these tests are often very painful and cause much suffering to the animals.
So, if you wear make-up, and your values include compassion and animal welfare take a look at the brands you are using and see if they test on animals. If they do…stop using the products immediately. If they don’t … great… keep supporting them and help them to do more.
Check out PETA’s blog for a list of cosmetic companies that test on animals: https://www.peta.org/living/personal-care-fashion/beauty-brands-that-you-thought-were-cruelty-free-but-arent/
On a side note, the good news is that many more companies are choosing to no longer test on animals and many news laws are banning animal testing. Thanks to many people protesting this cruel act, a new bill has been passed in Canada that bans cosmetic testing on animals.
Activity: Spend a few moments going through your house and writing down a list of all the major brands you use and companies you support. Anything from food, to cleaning products, make-up to clothing and do a Google search to see what best practices these copies use to develop their products. Also, think of the services you use and do the same thing.
Step #3: Identify Company Core Values
Once you have the list of your own core values and the companies you support take a look to see if your values are in alignment with theirs.
Activity: Ask yourself a series of questions based on your own core values about these companies. Questions may include:
- Does this company believe in ethical sourcing of ingredients or do they contribute to animal cruelty and destruction of the environment?
- Does this company support human slavery such as poor working conditions and below fair pay for employees?
- Does this company test their products on animals or humans that cause suffering, disease and death?
- Does this company do good things for their community or do they take away from their community?
The answers to these questions and how you choose to proceed are ultimately based on your own values and what you believe to be ok.
Once I identified a variety of companies who’s products and services I was using, I astonished to find out that many of the companies I was supporting did not align with my personal core values.
Some companies used a variety of chemical ingredients that were known to be carcinogenic, such as sodium laurel sulphate in toothpaste and aluminum in deodorant.
Some companies, such as MAC Cosmetics tested their products on animals causing much suffering to these living souls.
And some companies used child labour or were the causing destruction on the environment in some way.
After doing this research it made me sick to my stomach to know that I was paying these companies to keep doing what they are doing. I knew at that moment I had to change my ways, be more responsible with my spending and pay attention to who, and what, I was supporting.
Step #4: Support Ethical And Value-Based Companies
After doing this research you now have a choice to make. You can either turn your head to unethical behaviours and poor practices from these companies, or you can go forward with your eyes wide open and refuse to support them.
If the company in question has core values or business practices that are in alignment with your own, and you feel that supporting them will make the world a better place, then great! Keep supporting and recommend them to as many people as you can. This will help them grow and keep doing good things in the world.
However, if the core values, or business practices, are not in alignment with your own…then you know what to do. Stop supporting these companies immediately because the more money you give to them the bigger they get and the more they think it’s ok to keep doing what they’re doing.
For example, if you are buying meat products from a company that is cruel to their animals and provides poor living conditions, you are saying “YES” I support this behaviour.
However, if you choose to buy animal products from a local farmer who takes excellent care of his animals, or better yet choose to no longer buy meat, dairy, fur or leather, you are voting NO to these practices.
Activity: Before you purchase any product or service research the company and it’s best practices to ensure you are only supporting a company that isn’t harming you, another living being or the environment. By being a more conscious, informed consumer you are contributing to the the protection of all living things and upgrading the world we live in.
Always remember… with every choice you make, every purchase, every action, you are voting with your dollars. You are either saying YES I support you or NO I don’t support what you do! So, I hope you take moment to re-think what, and who, you support.
Step #5: Live Life According To Your Core Values.
Every choice you make in life either reflects and supports or goes against your core values and what you believe.
Here are some examples of how to live your life in a way that reflects and your core values:
- If you love humans and humanity as a whole, serve as may people as you can. Help people in need and spread a message of love and compassion to as many people as you can. Practice unconditional love for people no matter what and treat everyone one the same regardless of race, gender, or religious or political beliefs.
- If you love animals, don’t eat them or support violence towards them. This means any animal and not just your pets. All animals are the same, just like all humans, regardless or race or colour. They all have a soul, they all feel pain and they all want to live.
- If you love this planet we are so blessed to live on, then so everything you can to prevent its destruction. Drive an environmentally safe car or drive as little as possible, use less or no no plastic, recycle and place food items into compost. Don’t support companies, or political leaders, who are not environmentally conscious.
Just to be clear, it’s not about being perfect. The biggest differences come from doing your best and taking small steps each day to be better. All it takes is a little time to educate yourself and then make smart choices based on what you learn. As Mya Angelou said, “When we know better, we do better.”
Now that you know how to vote with your dollars and live in a way that aligns with your core values, you’re ready to make a difference and spend your heard-earned money to support the things that mean the most to you.
Until next time,
May the magic of living nutrition bring you a lifetime of healthy abundance.
Rachel Joy Olsen, BSc., MBA
Plant-Based Health & Wellness Coach