The Connection Between Your Values and Your Career
Most people (and especially those who have never been through a coaching process) never really understand how important their values and their recognition of them are. Our values determine what makes us happy and what makes us stressed. Our values, if we are aware of them, can serve as a compass that navigates us toward our best choices – having the career that is ideal for us, being just one of them.
From my extensive experience as a coach, I know that people often become restless in their careers because they donAï¿½t understand the impact their values have on their everyday working lives.
LetAï¿½s say one of your highly rated values is freedom. Yet you go to the same office, day in, day out, meeting the same colleagues, following the same routine. Is there any wonder that at a certain point this situation begins to upset you; you become bored, lazy and de-motivated? Your performance drops and you get fired? Another options is, you keep giving it your best effort, even if you donAï¿½t enjoy it, you keep going, only to get seriously physically unwell some time later, from suppressing the same unhappy emotions. This didnAï¿½t show in your performance but took its toll on your health. Needless to say, that very same person, who has freedom as one of their values, would thrive in a job with flexible hours, with unexpected situations that would require unusual solutions, or as an entrepreneur.
On the other hand, we can have a person whose number 1 value is stability. For such a person, anything unexpected represents stress; anything unusual can create a panic attack. Such a person would never dream about having their own business and enjoys knowing the environment and routines that go with it.
Both of the examples above are, of course, a little bit extreme but I am sure many of you can find yourselves in them or somewhere on the spectrum between them.
If you are feeling unsettled/unhappy/unsatisfied in your current career and donAï¿½t know where to begin when it comes to possibly changing it, being honest about your values would help you a lot. But how do you go about it?
1.) Ask yourself which situations make you the happiest.
2.) Ask yourself what you enjoy doing the most.
3.) If nothing substantial comes up, return to your childhood/youth and recall your favorite games, sports or activities.
4.) List all the parts of your work that you enjoy the most.
5.) Explain why these particular parts of your job are the best for you.
If, after following the previous 5 steps, you still feel unsure about your values, you can try going through a professionally led “values elicitation exercise”, which any experienced life coach should be able to do for you.