You are on the road. No matter if you're taking a hike or navigating a job, you are finding your path through your environment.
What is guiding you on your path? The road is a great starter. It's the path that many traveled before you. It is easier to look ahead on here compared to the wilderness surrounding it.
That road makes your path sure look neat and straight. You finish that project, put in the effort, get that promotion, and then that CV looks ripe for a new job application...
Sooner or later you will find yourself at a decision to make. It is in front of crossroads big and small when your path becomes interesting. Will you take job offer A or B, will you go on that second date, will you get vanilla or strawberry?
"No problem", you might say, "I have a plan", and whip out your trusty map. Looking at its content, you instantly know how your path continues ahead.
Well, kind of. Your life is not a hike in the park. It is exploring unchartered territory. No matter how thought-through your plan, your future is uncertain.
It is in moments when your map fails that a more fundamental approach is needed to get orientated.
Take out your compass. It does not hold nearly as much detailed information about the peaks and valleys around. It does one thing and one thing only: No matter where you are and what you face, it points north (Magnetic North that is).
Your map might not have every territory chartered just yet, but your compass will work nonetheless.
Your values help you make critical decisions, especially when consequences are difficult to foresee.
How's your compass?
It never hurts to fine-tune it. You change as a person, and so will your compass.
Identifying your values requires self-awareness: even when cannot list your values (or firmly assert you have none), your values exist. Compass or not, True north exists.
Your compass can be tuned in many ways. This post is not the spaced to list any of them; I trust you find the right process on your own path.
I sincerely hope you keep updating your map and compass. You only have so much time for your journey and I think the world benefits at large from more well-traveled people. Be safe on your roads, traveler!