Why Values Make all the Difference

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This is the first article of a series on values.

Have you ever wondered why some people rave about their jobs and how much they enjoy doing it, while many of us (sadly) do not? You may even have met the very lucky person that absolutely loves their job, does really long hours and doesn’t get paid a huge deal.  What is going on? Is it some kind of fever that has gripped them?

The reason why most people don’t get job satisfaction from their jobs is that they have not consciously considered what their values are.  Values also relate to the satisfaction we get in life.  The philosopher Socrates once stated “To know thyself is the beginning of wisdom.” If we consider this statement, a big part of knowing yourself, means knowing your values and who you choose to be in life.

What is a value?

Values are what are important to you and the way you live your life.  What you may not realise is that values underpin a lot of how we see and experience life.  They are your priorities, and if life is good and you are satisfied and fulfilled, then it is because your most important values are being met. 

However, if you asked most people what their values are, they would find it difficult to break them down into fine detail.  Unless you’ve explicitly explored and stated them, you’ll probably only have a rough idea of what they are.  We usually have an intuition or feeling that we are headed in the wrong direction or life is not as fulfilling as it could/should be.  This is your unconscious barometer of values.  Your values are screaming at you and hence you get a feeling that there is more to do this or that you are not fulfilled.

Now that we understand values, let’s now take a look at how we can make them more explicit.

Defining Values

The first step is to write down six to eight of your top values.  It’s very important that for this exercise you don’t think about values you’d like to have or “should have”.  These must be your current values. If you are finding it difficult:

1. Remember a special time when you were super successful or achieved something great.

What was happening at that time?

What values were important to you at that time?

2. Now remember a time when you were angry or felt an injustice about something.

What was happening at that time?

What values were being supressed? Which values were not being met there?

3. Think about what values you would like to pass on to your children?

What values did your family hold or what did they pass on to you?

What values would you want to pass on to your children?

If when examining your family background, you don’t like what you see or perhaps you didn’t have the greatest family background, then think what great values can you start for yourself and what you would like to pass on?   

If you are still unsure of values to list, I have deliberately put a link to a list at the end of this article. Although lists have their uses, they can also limit your own great ideas.  Try and use your ideas first and then check with a list as they can be a useful tool.  Have a look at this list and feel free to do an internet search as there are many good quality lists and articles.  In the next article of this series, I will show you what to do next, now that you have chosen your top values.

Finally, why not go further and explore your values with a good career’s coach.  Did you know that we have been supporting thousands of people in the field of career’s advice for nearly 24 years?  New Challenge has a team of qualified and experienced advisors that can help you with this and more.  For information on career’s advice and courses that we offer, contact our office on Telephone: 0208 795 3999 or email: info@newchallenge.org

Guy Guneri, 01/12/20