Does Your Job Support Your Values? (It Should)
One of the most powerful questions you can ask is: does my job support my values?
Being tuned into your values and making conscious choices that support your values often goes overlooked and unexamined. We intuitively know our values are within us, but too few of us actually stop and take time to define them.
The list of values seems almost endless (http://bit.ly/1jWmeee), but most of us live our lives according to our top five to eight values.
Find Your Value Gaps
- Take five minutes to reflect and write down your values. It is okay if it is a long list
- Notice which values are similar, and pick the one that best represents you
- Choose your top eight values
- Ask yourself whether your work, important relationships, and lifestyle are aligned with those eight values
This exercise brings many of my clients into greater self-awareness. Clients often discover many of the problem areas of their life are connected to what I call a Values Gap. This is a misalignment between what you experienced day-to-day versus how you want to live your life. The larger the gap (or gaps), the less connected you feel to those parts of your life, and the more discomfort you feel when the gap is exposed.
If your highest value is compassion, and you work for a company that treats its customers or workers poorly, the gap often manifests itself as stress, frustration, disengagement or straight forward disdain for your job or boss.
For example, I served as a mid-level leader in an organization where the boorish (and illegal) behavior of the CEO stood in direct opposition to its internal brand and mission. Instead of addressing poor behaviors and decisions, other members of the senior executive team dedicated significant energy and time doing damage control and workarounds.
Over time, I grew increasingly uncomfortable working for an erratic and unprofessional leader. I voted with my feet and found a new position in an organization with leaders who demonstrated values much closer to my own. In fact, one of the primary reasons I later became a coach was to be true to my values.
Once you know your key values, you can take actions that increase authenticity, physical and emotional well-being, and happiness. Being true to your values is being true to yourself, and is a necessary step on your journey to your personal and professional success.