How Does Your Life and Career Align with Your Values?
Values are what you hold most dear in life. It’s what’s most important to you. Values influence your reactions to people and events, often give meaning to your actions, and are used as an internal compass. It gives your life meaning and purpose. It helps you to know what motivates your energy and to know what is right and wrong, good and evil, and wise and foolish.
These can be anything from achievement, creativity, and fulfillment, to humor, security, and honesty.
Values are one of the most common sources of stress for people between the ages of 38 and 45. As we reach the midpoint of our lives, we start to wonder if what we do all day is worth doing. Oftentimes, our goals and actions are set by our systems, and we never stop to think or compare them to our strongest values.
Our values originate in our families of origin. We absorb them before we even start school. The most important values are the ones our parents live out, not the ones they speak to us in words: “Do as I say, not as I do.” Likewise, the most important values are the ones you live out in the actions of your life.
To make your values work for you, you must compare your top values to how well you live them, or “walk the walk.”
To identify your core values, take a look at the following simple exercise:
- Take a list of all your values and rate them in importance on a scale of 1-10 (with 10 being the most important).
- Once you’ve rated them on importance, rate how your current life reflects those values.
- Then compare the two. Do your life and your actions reflect the values you hold dear?
Career and Values
How do you consider your values when thinking about your ideal career?
First, consider the following when evaluating a prospective job or career path:
- Do the people I work with share similar set of values as me?
- Is this company or organization’s mission and purpose aligned with my values? Would I feel conflicted working here because of its mission, values, or practices?
- Will I feel comfortable and fit in with the culture of this company?
Also, take note of the top 5 values — the values you’ve rated the highest in the previous exercise. You can use your values as a guide when evaluating opportunities that come your way. If your current job, projects, or relationships don’t allow you to honor your core values, and if there is no way to change that, it’s time to consider alternatives that would allow you to live them out.
If you’re interested in exploring your values as they relate to a meaningful career, please contact me and I would be happy to provide you a Values Assessment.
Check back next week for the next topic on personal life vision: skills!