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What REALLY matters to you? How digging deep into your values can give you career clarity and focus.

Updated: Oct 7, 2022

What are your values?

You want a role that aligns with your values. You know what your values are but you keep getting side-tracked, unable to stick to your goal to find a role that enables you to put what really matters to you, first.

There's a reason for this. Read on to learn what it is and how you can focus your job search to find a role that WILL enable you to work in alignment with what really matters to you.

“I want a job that’s aligned with my values.”

This is something my clients often say to me.

Of course, different people have different values. And often people will state the same words for their values but they mean something completely different to them.

This is why, if you tell me you want a job that’s aligned with your values we’ll spend some time exploring that before jumping in to your job search strategy, CV, etc.

This is what it might look like*:

“My number 1 value is freedom.”

“What does freedom mean to you?”

“It means being able to do things I want to do, outside of work.”

“And when you can do things you want to do outside of work, what will that give you?”

“It will give me time to relax and I’ll be able to spend more time with my family.”

“When you have time to relax, and time to spend with your family, what will this mean for you?”

“I’ll feel like a better mum and daughter. I don’t spend enough time with my kids or my elderly parents at the moment and I’m increasingly aware that the time we have now is precious.”

“When you feel like a better mum and daughter, what will that mean to you?”

“I won’t feel as guilty as I do now, always rushing around. When I visit my parents, it feels like I’m watching the clock for when I have to leave rather than enjoying their company.”

“When you are able to spend time with your parents, enjoying their company rather than watching the clock, what will that mean for you?”

“I’ll love seeing them playing with their grandchildren. We’ll be able to create great memories.”

“And when you’re creating those great memories, what will it mean you?”

“It will mean that when my parents die, I’ll be able to remember all the times we shared and talk with my children about them. I’ll be keeping them with us, in our memories.”

There’s quite a movement between the first answer and the last answer, isn’t there?

The first answer (“It means being able to do things I want to do, outside of work.”) is surface-level, and most often that’s where we stop. We know we want time to do things outside of work – doesn’t everyone?

The last answer (“It will mean that when my parents die, I’ll be able to remember all the times we shared and talk with my children about them. I’ll be keeping them with us, in our memories.”) is getting to the real heart of what this person wants more time for.

By getting to this last answer – by tapping into the emotion underneath the words “My number 1 value is freedom” - it becomes firmly rooted within us.

Imagine this is you.

And imagine if we accepted that first, surface-level answer. When you’re looking for your new role, you know you want ‘time to do things outside of work’ and so you’re looking for a job that requires less than 5 days a week. But what if you’re offered a job but told it must be full-time?

If it’s a job that excites you, or if you feel you need to accept the offer because ‘What if another one doesn’t come along soon?’ you may be tempted to give up your time to do things outside of work. You may convince yourself that you’ll be able to make the time to do things anyway - you’ll find a way around it.

Now imagine this is you and you’ve tapped into the emotions attached to your last answer.

Now you know when you’re looking for a new role that more time to spend with your parents and children REALLY matters to you. You’re likely to make that a red line you’re not prepared to cross. So you don’t even apply for anything that is going to cross that red line. Your time and energy for your job search goes in to finding the right role for you – the one that WILL give you time for what really matters to you.

So, how clear are you on what REALLY matters to you? If you’d love to explore this, to gain this level of clarity and focus for your job search, get in touch.

*NOTE: This is NOT an actual client conversation. I will never share private details of any conversation we have. But it is reflective of the conversations I have with people about what matters to them once we start delving into their values and what really matters to them. There is ALWAYS an emotional and deeply personal connection to the surface-level answer. (And yes, often people do cry when they get to this deeper-level reason. It’s perfectly normal when we tap into our emotions, and it’s perfectly OK in our coaching conversations.)

About Karen Felton

Karen Felton Strengths-focused career coach and mentor

Karen is a career development mentor and coach, enabling people to thrive in their career through understanding their strengths.

She has over 25 years’ experience in HR and Financial Services, leading teams, coaching and mentoring people, developing leaders and enabling people to achieve their career goals. She is passionate about enabling people to be their best selves so they can perform at their best in work and in life.

Learn more about Karen here

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