This article follows on from part 1 (how to elicit your values) and part 2 (how to discover your values hierarchy). What follows is an edited extract from my book, Achieve Your Goals (Dorling Kindersley 2006).


Conflicting values (for example, ‘adventure’ versus ‘security’ in your career) are a recipe for dilemmas, and for feeling ‘stuck’ or ‘torn in two’. Here is how to check that each value is compatible with each of the others:
  • Take the lowest value on your prioritised list and check it against the one above it. Can you have both? If you feel that these two values cannot coexist, make a note of the clash. Continue to check the lowest value against each other value, all the way up the list.
  • Then take the next lowest value, and check it against each value above it in turn.
  • Continue with the next lowest value until you have checked each one against all the values above it.
Alternatively, you could use a matrix structure, as with this example using the previous “Work and Career” list:

In this case the person feels that there is at least a potential clash between enjoyment and money. This could just be a reminder that the person needs to consider carefully how both values can be fulfilled, or it could indicate a head-on clash between the two values which needs to be resolved.


Why not share how you got on with this exercise by leaving a comment below?

Next up: How to resolve values clashes

How to check whether your motivation is ‘Towards’ or ‘Away-from’, and why it matters

How to clarify your values (3): Check for Clashes

Comment on this post