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How a Handwritten Core Values List Can Make You a Great Leader This simple habit will help you realign your values and prioritize your goals.

By Maria Dimitropoulou

entrepreneur daily

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

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Leadership requires self-awareness, transparency, solid decision-making and strategic decisiveness — your eagerness to look inward defines your success at each feature.

Do you wish to start implementing a system for strategizing, eliminating and making quick turns in your life and business? Do you want to be as efficient and self-aware as possible while getting rid of stalling when it comes to decision-making?

You acknowledge that you have to focus your mental energy on what matters most. Your business mission, vision and core values are clear, and you identify with them (or at least you think you do). However, your daily tasks' chaotic reality drags you into a loop of procrastination and repetition. Who hasn't been there?

For me, it all started with a manifestation journal which derived a core values list handwritten in a post-it note — currently stuck on my bathroom mirror — and frankly, it was a check-mate move for my life and business.

Related: Maximize the Impact of Handwritten Notes With These 6 Tips

Why is a personal core values list so crucial for leaders in business and life?

1. It is the compass of your vision.

As a leader who runs a business and manages a team, you have a vision, which is crucial for the company's success. However, you should see your values as signals, pointing out whether your life or business is heading in the right direction.

Your values should be integral to your vision, prompting the meaning and paving the way as your business grows. From my experience, leaders who think of their companies -and subsequently lives- as ones lacking purpose are either unaware of their core values or not aligned with them.

2. It determines your priorities.

Lost in a pile of different options, alternatives and potential outcomes for every decision you make as a leader, you prioritize the ones that stick and eliminate the ones that don't. Committing to a decision that feels right usually involves your moral principles, ethos and strategic thinking.

However, it can be chaotic without knowing how to methodize. A handy core values list can easily prompt you to set the most valuable priorities, at the present moment, in a particular scenario, under specific circumstances. You can also quickly eliminate anything that goes against your list without thinking further or trying to justify another way in your head.

3. It instills a sense of purpose and wholeness within you.

When your behaviors align with your values, you're a person who acts with integrity and composes a unique purpose both in business and life. You can know and have your clear intention in the world as long as you're open to looking inward and uncovering it.

Conveying an authentic version of leadership means coherently supporting your values through actions. Your legitimacy shines from within, and you transmit that potent vibration to everyone following. Committing to your best self means having the courage to challenge whatever feels off and knowing that everything you do for yourself and others is purpose-driven, thus, value-driven.

Implementing a transparent mindset is vital for any successful leader who wishes to inspire and motivate others to be satisfied and content throughout the process.

Related: The Business Benefits of the Handwritten Letter

The importance of updating and handwriting your core values list

There is no doubt that your values can change with your experiences. You expand and grow your identity with every new chapter you come across as a leader. Your encounters throughout life determine your beliefs about yourself; thus, you value different things across different life stages.

Your actions are the ways you embody your values towards your status and personality, and an alignment between those two — actions and values — is what eventually makes your life coherent and meaningful. Therefore, updating and expanding your core values list by continuously knowing what you stand for is essential for keeping your purpose and vision alive and intact.

Lastly, scripting the list of your top values in a notebook, journal or a simple post-it note (my preference) can help you approach critical decisions and scenarios with confidence and clarity. Writing your values down on paper means shaping them into something more than words, which can significantly boost your mood, based on the power of handwriting and positive psychology.

Scripting your values list can also add a therapeutic tone to the whole process; you know what you tolerate and make value-based choices that foster your desired identity. It's a powerful feeling.

So, how do you create a scripted core values list?

You can brainstorm your values by examining the following:

  1. The moments you feel proud of yourself, as your confidence throughout them alerts your self-perception, which reflects on the principles you consider essential.
  2. The moments that bring you joy as your happiness throughout them exposes your soul to a standard that fulfills you.
  3. The moments you are furious or sad, as the reason (or "your why") behind your anger is a doorbell trying to alert your inner self that your primary standpoints are falling apart.

After some introspection, write them down one by one, putting on top the most important and continuing with the rest. You must have at least five or ten values on your list. Make sure you look at it daily; those qualities compose your soul and can be your core's strength when you hit roadblocks.

Related: 3 Steps to Establish Authentic Core Values


A handwritten personal core values list is a powerful tool for any leader. It can help you stay focused on your vision, keep your priorities in order and give you a sense of purpose and wholeness. The process is simple, but the results can be life-changing.

Handwritten lists have an added layer of intimacy and power that digital lists don't have. So take some time to reflect on what's important to you, get creative with how you write it down, and then put it somewhere where you will see it every day. Let me know how it goes!

Maria Dimitropoulou

Growth marketer, SEO expert and creative content writer

Maria is a woman in tech passionate about traveling, self-growth and everything related to digital marketing. She has been moving around the world for the last five years and shares her thoughts on entrepreneurship, remote working and travel at her website.

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