An examination for how we can connect with our values to live our best life.

This series has been co authored by Dr Mandeep Rai & Mark Edwards

In her seminal book, Regrets of the Dying, Bronnie Ware shares that the most common regret people have is: “I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me”.

We feel that the first step in living a life that is true to ourselves is to first understand who we based upon what our essential values are.

How are our values formed?

  1. Inherited.  Values may have been instilled in us from a young age, taught and handed down to us from our parents, our cultural institutions and our peers.
  2. A natural expression.  Some values are simply a natural expression of who we are.  There have been plenty of studies of twins who despite having a near identical upbringing, have very different personalities.
  3. Life experiences.  They may have formed through our experiences particularly before the age of 18. Involuntarily we begin to gravitate towards some and away from others. 
  4. Our personal aspirations.  Then most importantly there are the values that we seek to aspire to be.

It is our hope that through this series, you can identify which of your values are inherited and which you can choose and explore as a natural extension of your true self.

An important first step, is to be aware of what your values are; as they may be running you.  Once we have our values in place, we can begin to build out our purpose, mission, and live a life that is meaningful to us.

Dr Mandeep Rai (Author of The Values Compass)

Join us on a Values journey

Over the next year, each month we will be profiling a diverse range of people across the world who have / are examining their values which lead them to their unique gifts.

We believe that when we give more attention to our unique values and what makes us come alive, we will get closer to reaching our highest potential.

Why are we talking Values / purpose now?

The re-set button has been firmly pressed.  We find that more and more of us are asking the questions:

  • How do I organise my life in a COVID / post COVID world?
  • What does hybrid-working mean for me?
  • Am I doing professionally what lights me up? 
  • How can I align myself to what is most meaningful to me?

In our case studies, you will see examples of people who have discovered their values and who are living them in a variety of settings across their lives.

It has been our experience that in this rapidly changing period, companies themselves are looking to create and make decisions based upon their own clear values.

Mark Edwards (Author of Faces of Mallorca) by Olga Poppius

How we get there?

1.  Discover

Over past few years we have both been working with a range of people and organizations to help them identify these values.  We will be sharing the work we have done with individuals, although the basic process to determine the values of an organization is much the same.

Our process has been a combination of the following:

  • Identifying a person’s unique values.
  • Ascertaining from the people themselves their unique qualities / values
  • Working with them to speak to their personal and professional network to discover times and discover what is being at their best.
  • Consolidating all this data into a small number (typically 3-4) of values.
  • Reinforcing them.

We had found that for this process to be effective it should feel fresh, visceral and intensely human.   It is one thing to know your values.  It’s another to own them.

As you will see from the stories which follow, we combine coaching, feedback from the person’s network via written positive feedback and crucially photography to unlock and embed people’s values.   In short we have sought to use a multi sensory experience to identify and lock in peoples values.

Our ultimate aims with each person was to:

  • Use a combination of outputs and inputs that really enabled each person to own their greatness.
  • Take them somewhere as a true expression of their best self. 

“Our deepest need is to be seen”.
Marianne Williamson

Parents do all they can to spot their child doing something well and acknowledging them for this.  As adults however, we never loose that yearning to be acknowledged.  The difference is that as adults it is much more powerful when the praise is in alignment with how we would like to see ourselves or indeed with a strength / value we didn’t even know we had.

For the leaders amongst you please take note:

“If you can see a strength in others you’ll be loved.  If you can see a strength in others they didn’t even know they had – you’ll be forever remembered.”

Both of us have made drastic career changes (which we’ll be sharing in subsequent articles), since what we were originally doing was not a natural expression of our talents.  To be seen for an area in which we excel is, well delicious.

2.  Practice

Once you have identified your values, the next step is to consciously find opportunities to put this into practice. 

3. Employ

Once you have the nuggets of your values, then it’s really possible easy for the north / onion layers for other parts of yourself to fall into place.

How can we begin to incorporate our values into every aspect of our lives?

  • Our work
  • Our outside projects
  • Our role in the community
  • As a parent, etc.

Start to identify how you can identify your best life in every area.

Not just when in community, etc.

Find the environment where you can be YOU.

Crucially, it’s important to put ourselves in positions where we can thrive.  For example, let’s take the example of work.  If our key values are creativity and innovation, and we are working in a company with a command and control culture, we will be limited in how both we and our ideas will be received.

“When a flower doesn’t bloom, you fix the environment in which it grows, not the flower.”

Alexander Den Heijer

Why You Need To Establish Your Company Core Values List - Customer Bliss

Our hope

It is our deepest hope that as you read through the accounts of the (brave) people who have gone through this process, you yourself are inspired to examine your unique talents / values.   That through sharing these people’s stories it elicits further with you, the reader what your values are / may be.

Our invitation

Over the next 12 months, as you read about people and their values, jot down the values which other people have that most resonate with you.  Ask yourselves whether this value / quality represents something inside of you which you may wish to bring out some more.

The more we can be true to ourselves the higher our potential will be.

In addition to sharing our client’s journeys, we will also be sharing with you our own journey to best live our own values.  In the next two months we will be exploring Mandeep and her values, before focusing on Mark.  We will then introduce you to some of the special people we have met, coached and photographed.

About the Authors
Both Mandeep and Mark work with individuals and with companies helping them to identify and live their values.
Both the authors have been through their own journey to live in alignment with their values.  Mandeep left a career in investment banking to turn to journalism/ international development & venture capital creating a portfolio career, most recently wrote the book The Values Compass: What 101 Countries Teach Us About Purpose, Life and Leadership

Mark works with leading organisations in developing their people.  In recent years, through exploring his own values, he has also co-written the photo portrait book “Faces of Mallorca”, completed a TEDx on his photographic coaching work and has served as a travel presenter.

Get in Touch

Mandeep and Mark, work with companies and individuals to identify and live from their values / strengths.

To get in touch with the authors and to see how we can support you – please get in touch via LinkedIN.

“Your values become your destiny”
Mahatma Gandhi


  • Dr. Mandeep Rai

    World Values Expert, Author, Speaker, Broadcast Journalist, Non Exec Director

    The Values Compass

    Dr. Mandeep Rai is a global authority on values, working with companies, institutions, and individuals around the world. She has traveled to more than 150 countries and reported as a broadcast journalist for the BBC World Service and Reuters, among others. She began her career in private banking at JPMorgan, and later worked for the United Nations, the European Commission, and grassroots NGOs before setting up the UAE’s first media venture capital fund. Mandeep studied philosophy, politics, and economics (PPE), has an MSc in development from the London School of Economics, and completed an MBA at London Business School, with a year at Harvard Business School and MIT. She also holds a PhD in global values.