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Is your career aligned to your personal values?
I have talked a lot recently about aligning the work you do with your
own personal strengths. Today, I’d like to focus on something even more
intrinsic to you as an individual. That is your personal values. I
believe that aligning your career with your values is essential and that
any discontent you feel in your career could well be because this
alignment is out of whack.
So, what do I mean by values?
Your values are your view, defined and refined over time, about what is
important in life. They drive and motivate you at a deep level and are a
fundamental part of who you are. They are why you get out of bed in
the morning. They tend to be consistent but can change over time,
particularly as you mature or as a result of major life events.
Your values at work
Although our values have probably been formed mainly by events in our
personal life, we can’t leave them at the door when we arrive at work.
Your values at work are important because they will have an influence on how you view:
You can make a list right now of what is important for you in each of
those areas? How many of these “values” are being supported or
contravened in your career right now?
A personal example
In order to explain how values can drive and motivate you but can also derail you, I am going to share my own personal example.
In career coaching, I often use a Values assessment which measures seven
key value dimensions. The below table depicts my results.
You can see here that I have three strong value drivers: Aesthetic,
Altruistic and Theoretical. These values appear above the floating boxes (an average range for the general population). I also have two lower value drivers which appear below the floating boxes:
Economic and Traditional.
Whilst this assessment is quite complex, I can summarise my values with the following requirements:
If I look at each of these in turn, I can quickly identify times in my
career when it was aligned with my values and other times when it was
out of whack but I couldn’t put my finger on why.
You can easily read me here. I am not suited to big structured
corporates with highly-geared commission schemes run out of tiny dark
offices. I am suited to open, happy work environments where I am
learning every day and feel like I’m making a difference to people’s
What are your values?
There are many ways in which you can identify your values. Here are a few:
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