Updated: Apr 15, 2022
When your career is aligned with your values you’re at ease with your actions and decisions. You’re able to be consistent and authentic. You feel a sense of purpose, that you’re doing something that matters, something that makes a difference.
Why align your career with your values?
More and more, I'm talking with people about values. The topic comes up in all sorts of conversations:
⭐ I love what I do, but the culture is getting me down. I need to find another organisation where I'll fit better. ⭐ I want a change of career. I don't know what, but it has to be something rewarding. ⭐ I have a tough decision to make and don't know where to start.
Often, when we start to explore values and what matters we find a disconnect, or even a clash, between the person’s values and how they’ve had to be within their organisation / team / role. They don’t feel they’re able to be their authentic selves and they don’t feel a sense of purpose in their work.
How does knowing your values help you find a career that gives you a sense of purpose?
When you're 100% clear on your values: 💛 You can search for an organisation with values that align with your own 💛 You can search for a role that enables you to work in line with your values 💛 You can make decisions and act with confidence because you have a compass to guide you 💛 You're able to be your authentic self, your best self
How do I understand what my values are?
Your values are those things that drive your behaviour. They are most often driven by experiences and things we learned in our childhood, or by significant life events as adults.
When you understand your values you can describe them, why they are important to you and how they show up for you and for others. You can also use them to guide your behaviours and decisions. If you're not sure you are 100% clear on your values ask yourself these questions: ? Which 'lessons' from your childhood have stayed with you? ? When you've acted in a way that feels right, why did you feel that? ? When you've acted in a way that feels wrong, what made you feel that way? ? What really matters to you, and why? ? What do your close friends and family believe are your values? Why? ? What do your team and colleagues believe are your values? Why?
How do I align my values with my behaviours?
Now you’ve identified your values: Think about why each one is important to you. Where has it come from? Is it something you’re motivated to do or not do? Think about when you’ve acted in line with your values in the past. What did you do and why? How did you feel? Imagine a future scenario where you have to make a difficult decision. How will your values guide you? What specifically will you do? How will you feel? Next, capture three ‘I will’ and ‘I won’t’ statements for each of your values; for example: Integrity
I will: ü Always be guided my values ü Be honest with my family, friend and colleagues ü Do what I promise to do
I won’t: × Let fear detract me from what’s right × Let others take the blame for my actions × Act for selfish reasons
This activity will help you to really drill down into what your values mean to you, how they will guide your behaviour and how they will show up for your people and colleagues.
You can then use this understanding to find work that enables you to be your best self.
If you’d like help to understand and articulate your values, and to be able to find a career that aligns with your values, get in touch for a confidential conversation.
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Karen is a career change success coach with over 25 years’ experience in HR and Financial Services. Her favourite things to do in her career included leading teams, coaching and mentoring people and developing leaders. She is passionate about enabling people to be their best selves so they can perform at their best in work and in life.