I have been doing values training for healthcare professionals over the years. One of the exercises I use to help participants become aware of their own values is called ‘Heroes and Heroines.’

The Heroes and Heroines Exercise

The groups are usually between 10-14 people. For this exercise I ask them to reflect on someone they admire. The person could be a relative or friend; it could be someone who is no longer alive, or they could choose a fictional character. They are then asked to consider, ‘What is it that they say, or do, that you admire?” Also, ‘What are the qualities/values they demonstrate?’

The participants have a chance to share with someone in the group about the person they admire for 5 -10 minutes. I then ask the group if each of them could name some of the values or qualities that they have identified. As the group feeds back I record the values on a flip chart. Examples may be courage, generosity, enthusiasm, calmness and kindness.

Next I would ask the participants to write down all of the qualities I have recorded on the flip chart. There are usually quite a few, but I will write up about ten. I then ask them to give themselves a score of 0-10 on how they rate themselves on each value.

Our Own Values

Rarely does anyone score zero for a value. I will point out to the group that we all have these values and, that to see them in someone else we must have them ourselves. We may not have them to the same degree, after all everyone is different, but we all have our own special qualities.

They are then invited to share in turn with the group their top three qualities. It is a way of affirming their qualities.

This is an exercise you can do for yourself in a quiet moment. Once you have identified some of your own qualities say to yourself slowly and meaningfully the qualities, such as, I am patient … I am determined… I am creative,…I am honest, and so on.

The Core Values of All Humanity

I have done this exercise with many groups in different countries, and although there are cultural variations, the same qualities such as peacefulness, compassion, honesty, courage are common to all groups which makes one think they are the core values of all humanity.


Craig Brown


To follow Craig’s daily mindfulness suggestions @amindfuldoctor  please click here.

Craig’s free meditation podcasts can be accessed by clicking here. Do listen to podcast 6 for the discussion on values


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