Values define what is most important to us. They are the basis by which we make decisions, and are the motivations behind our work and our passions. Yet, often our values are so deeply ingrained in our way of being that we lose sight of what they are and the extent to which they shape our actions. Values discovery is a powerful way to get reconnected with your values, and who you truly are. When you are clear on your values, decisions become easier, because your choices will align with your values.
For example, a client was torn between two competing job offers. One offered slightly more pay, a little longer commute, more career prestige and a bigger team of direct reports. The other offered less pay, was a shorter drive to the office, and came with flexibility around time in the office, including the option to work from home three days per week. My client, at first glance, really wanted the first job with the higher paycheck and more responsibility. Her close friends all told her that the prestigious job was the one she should take. However, she was hesitating about making the decision. When we discussed her values, what we found was a deep value around having more time for her children; she regretted the time she had not been there when they were younger, and she wanted time to attend events at school and to be a bigger part of their day. Through values discovery, we also discussed what "success" meant for her - in life and in work. My client realized that she could honor her strong value to be present more for her family – while being successful on her own terms. The end result: she decided to forgo the better paying position, and the second job become an easy choice. She was happier, enjoyed her work more, and had greater work-life balance.
To get more in touch with your values, take a look at the following questions (you could do this across different areas, such as work, money, family, etc): What are your core values?
- What things, if they were taken away from you, would make life unbearable? When making important decisions, what are your most important considerations?
- Where do you invest most of your energy and why?
- What do you take the most pride in about yourself?
Once you’ve made a list of your core values, examine where in life your values are most being lived, and where they are least being upheld. With this understanding, you take the first step towards putting your values first, and finding alignment between what you really want and the choices you make.