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Create a Career You Love: Align it with your Values


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:

  • Your colleagues: Do you get on with your colleagues at a genuine level?  Do you feel empathy with your colleagues?  Or do you tolerate them at a surface level?
  • Your job:  Is what you do in line with your values and drivers?  Do you spring out of bed on a Monday morning?  Is there anything about your current job that doesn’t sit easily with you?
  • Your organisation: Is your organisation’s mission and values in alignment with your personal values?  Do you feel proud of what your organisation does?
  • The work environment:  Is your working environment one where you feel motivated?  Do you feel positively connected to your working environment?  If not, why not?

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:

  • Harmony and balance
  • Low conflict
  • Nice environment – light, space, beauty
  • Helping others
  • Always acquiring new knowledge
  • Little formal structure, rules or regulation
  • Recognition more important that financial gain

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 lives.

What are your values?

There are many ways in which you can identify your values.  Here are a few:

  1. Carry out the exercise I mentioned earlier in “Your Values at Work”
  2. Get a list of values (you can download one here), pick any that resonate with you and then prioritise these to a manageable number (3 – 5)
    Think about your past career and identify the highs and lows.Can you see any connection between these highs and lows and which values were being met or not met?
  3. If you’d like to take our Values assessment, as shown above (the cost of which is £120 including 12 page report and 30 minute debrief), please email me.
  4. I’d love to know how you get on with identifying your values and seeing how they align to your career.  Let me know!

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