So, what are your values?
If you are not happy with the way things are, a good place to start is by asking myself ‘what’s important to me now?‘. This is how you start to understand your values – the things that you believe are important in the way you live and work. Your values should determine your priorities, and in some way provide a measure of whether your life is turning out as you intended it to. This can be a key to achieving Career Success.
A few years ago I went through this process because I knew that I was ready to make a big change. I was getting close to the end of my maternity leave, and I knew that going back to my old job didn’t feel right, I was ready for a new challenge. The problem was, I felt confused and unclear about what I wanted to do. It was important for me to take a step back and look at the fundamental piece of me that should be the foundation of all action.
It helped me recognise that whatever I do it needs to be driven by several things, but at the core are:
- Interesting work – which is challenging, creative, and forces me to learn daily
- A need to have a positive impact on others’ lives to help them be their best
- A good quality of life – including work-life balance
- To be a positive role-model to my daughters in what I do
- To promote equality
Pinning Down Your Values
It may take a while to pin down exactly what your values are, the important thing is to become conscious of what feels right, what drives you. A helpful starting point can be to take time to think about times when you were at your:
What were you doing, who were you with, what contributed to that feeling of happiness?
What made you feel proud, who shared in this, what else contributed?
Most satisfied or fulfilled
What lead to those feelings?
If you’re stuck, here’s a list of values to help you – you don’t need to use or stick to this list (it is by no means exhaustive), but it may help give you some ideas:
| Authenticity|| Achievement|| Adventure|| Authority|
| Autonomy|| Balance|| Beauty|| Boldness|
| Compassion|| Challenge|| Citizenship|| Community|
| Competency|| Contribution|| Creativity|| Curiosity|
| Determination|| Equality|| Fairness|| Fame|
| Family|| Friendships|| Fun|| Growth|
| Happiness|| Honesty|| Humour|| Influence|
| Impact|| Inner Harmony|| Justice|| Kindness|
| Knowledge|| Leadership|| Learning|| Love|
| Loyalty|| Meaningful Work|| Openness|| Optimism|
| Peace|| Pleasure|| Popularity|| Recognition|
| Reputation|| Respect|| Responsibility|| Security|
| Self-Respect|| Service|| Spirituality|| Stability|
| Success|| Status|| Trustworthiness|| Wealth|
The Importance of Your Language
Once you have a list, make sure you name the items in a way that is meaningful to you. I shared my values with a friend who declared “those aren’t values”. I was so enraged, it was clear that whatever their definition of values was, they were mine! We don’t get angry like that unless we really care. Your values are at the heart of everything you do so they drive your passions. It’s good to discuss them and test them, that way you know you’ve hit the right spot.
This is a personal exercise, and language is extremely important. We have an emotional tie to the words we use, so USE YOUR OWN WORDS, not what you think the right words might be for others.
Identify your Core Values for Career Success
When you feel you have identified your list, you want to narrow it down to 3-5. These represent your core values. These are the things we NEED, are non-negotiable, that we cannot do without. These core values, when you get them right, help inform your decision-making of whether something is right for you. I’ve found that they have been crucial in helping me make choices about the business. I can now understand what’s right for me.
If you need help, join my Rise and Shine Career Design Online Group Programme. Its ideal for anyone that wants support to develop a roadmap for Career Success.
I will help you to identify what it is you really want, and how to make it happen. As well as this clarity and strategy, you will understand how to maintain the motivation by creating a career success mindset!
**Now only available as a digital self learning programme – The Insider**