Fundamental Values: What Are They & Why Are They Important?

By Lauren Gaggioli

Fundamental values are incredibly important to anyone who longs to stay connected to their sense of purpose and to live a life of deeper fulfillment. As we work towards living a life of purpose, one of the sticking points we all run into from time to time is clarity about what our purpose actually is.

And, when this happens, a lack of connection to our fundamental values is often the culprit.

But there's a challenge here...

When faced with uncertainty about their life’s current trajectory, I see a lot of folks search for answers beyond themselves. They turn to books about purpose. They invest in courses or therapy or life coaching.

And while there are many wonderful tools and resources to support this soul-searching work, the energy we approach it with matters greatly.

Often there’s a sense on the part of the seeker of insight that they have shown up to it somehow backfooted or wrong. That, in order to find their next right step, they must do more or be more.

I am intimately familiar with impulse. I have lived it myself.

I, too, have strode onward through book after course after webinar, hoping to hit upon the “right” resource or insight. I would scan the horizon for more, more, more. Somehow, in the quest to be ever more, I ended up losing sight of my truest self.

If you too have the sneaking suspicion that it's only by fundamentally changing yourself that you will find solace and fulfillment, I have great news.

That suspicion is a lie. 

If you are seeking a sustainable purpose - one that delivers a deeply resonant sense of authenticity and alignment and fulfillment - the truth is that all that you need already lives within you. 

Some of the best hints about what will help you live a life of fulfillment tomorrow don’t (and can’t possibly) exist in someone else’s book or program. 

Those breadcrumbs that will lead you to your truest self aren’t out in the wilds. They are buried deep inside you. They’re in your past experiences, present reality, and the vision you hold for your future life.

They’re already riding along with you. 

Counterintuitively, it takes circling back and investigating those findings to move more purposefully forward.

And, while the scope and benefits of this introspective work is vast, one of the lovely treasures that can come from it is clarity around your most deeply held fundamental values. And those fundamental values have the power to lead you home to your highest calling.

So let's explore what fundamental values are and why those values are important.

What Are Fundamental Values?

Fundamental values, sometimes called core values or personal values, are the simple principles that guide your life. They direct your decision making and action taking. 

When you live in alignment with your values, you feel fulfilled. When you take actions that do not reflect your highest values, you feel less than stellar.

Here are a few examples of core values from my 111 Core Values list…



Risk Taking

Why Are Values Important? 

Imagine that you’re holding your life’s compass. 

To my way of thinking, True North on the compass is defined by both your fundamental values and your vision for your most ideal life. 

You need both what already exists (your currently held values) and what you want to exist (your vision for your future) to set the magnetic pole for the needle.

The needle is your purpose statement, or what I call your Big Why. Your purpose statement helps you gauge, every day, whether you’ve continued taking action in alignment with your life’s True North.

Your values are fundamental to your sense of a well-lived existence.

  • When you prioritize participating in activities that are in alignment with your fundamental values, you’ll typically experience fulfillment or a sense of pride or accomplishment. 
  • If you’re unable to move your values into action regularly in your life, you may find yourself feeling frustrated or inexplicably irritated or angry.

This is one of the reasons that clearly stating your fundamental values is so important. 

By thinking through which values are most important to you and writing them down, you will have a useful tool to benchmark your daily choices and actions to ensure that they are in alignment with your most deeply held values.

This goes a long way towards ensuring that the bold vision you hold for your life can be made real through your daily actions.

Your fundamental values can also impact your relationship with others.

Have you ever wondered why some folks can have genuine friendships with people with whom they vehemently disagree while others only associate with those with whom they are in ideological lockstep?

Fundamental values are one reason for the disparity.

Take political conversations as an easy example.

Two people diametrically opposed on the political spectrum can have rousing political debates and a wonderful personal relationship so long as they both hold the fundamental value of respect higher than a political principle.

Those who value certain aspects of their party’s platform more than civil conduct or intellectual engagement will likely have more volatile interactions about that topic and may not choose to associate with those who hold a different belief because their fundamental value supersedes other values that would keep them in connection with those who hold a differing point of view.

Whether we’ve debated politics with someone or not, we’ve all had intuitive hits when meeting strangers - that sudden sensation that tips you towards this person is my kind of person or this person just isn’t for me.

There’s nothing inherently good or bad here.

To quote Shakespeare, as I do liberally in my online course about purpose...

There is nothing good or bad, 

But thinking makes it so.

All people aren’t for all people. And that’s ok. 

Actually, that’s more than ok. That’s great! Diversity is the spice of life. But it often comes down to fundamental values. 

If you’ve never clearly stated your values but sometimes have the vague creeping sensation that you’re somehow off in certain people’s company, it might just come down to a misalignment in values.

Calling this out into the open for yourself is one of the most empowering things you can do to get deeply rooted in your sense of self.

And that is the beautiful, grounded place from which your most rich sense of purpose and fulfillment can flow.

Your Next Right Step

If you've never done so, I highly recommend that you explore your core values before attempting to refine your Big Why.

As your core values help set the magnetic pole for your purpose statement to track to, it's vitally important that you the time to name your core values first.

I firmly believe that the more people we have in our world committing their time and energy to living lives of deep fulfillment, the better our world becomes. You send ripples of goodness out by living your most authentic life, and I can't wait to see what you bring to our world.

You can enter your email below to download a list of 111 Core Values To Choose From to help you on your way.

I look forward to staying connected to you and supporting you in this incredibly important work.