Values – Toward, Away and Actual

How often do you see people and organizations behaving incongruent compared to their claims?

When was the last time you saw marketing that is not followed by delivering what they say they would?

Who was the last person that claimed to have one kind of values but behaves in a different way?

These common experiences bring us to these distinctions:

  • Toward Values
  • Actual Values
  • Away Values

Let’s look at them a bit more closely…

Toward Values

Toward values are the values we put on our website, business plan and what corporations tell they value. These are usually very positive values. Stating them bring them more to the actions congruent to the value statement – although not necessarily always. We aim to build our presence and consequent actions toward these values. This is like a commitment, which we unintentionally may break at times. Once we notice this, we get ourselves back on track again.

Example values: Happiness, Honesty (Virtue), Excellence (Character)
Best toward values are the kind of values you naturally are and express most of the time.

Actual Values

“Actual Values” are an observation of what’s actually running the show. This needs a good level of personal honesty and often you might need  to ask someone else to find this out. Also, note that these tend to be different at different times – in different situations.

Example: We claim to hold the value Happiness, but some time we just have a miserable feeling moment. That’s an actual value at that moment: “Misery”. Once recognized it can be rectified. Do things that addresses source of misery and bring happiness in this case.

On the other hand, one can discover more good values from actual values. For instance, I found out that I’m really helpful and compassionate when talking to friends and clients. This recognition brings more self-appreciation and might even revise the toward values – list.

I haven’t seen the term “Actual Values” defined anywhere before, so this might be the first time.

Away Values

Away values are a bit less known concept than toward values, but more known than actual values. These values are a set of values you want to go away from. Easiest way to start is to list the negative actual values and actively work on having less of these in your life.

For example: Procrastination, antagonism or desperation would be great examples of away values. We may slip into those ways of being at times and it’s not taking us where we want to go in life. They have a role, but in this context, we want to recognize them as values we want to move away from – and toward our “Toward Values”. Simple recognition is usually enough to set us on track.

That’s it folks… The story of three types of values. Hope you found this insightful and useful in building your more perfect version of your life.

To your success!



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