How Values Can Guide Your Career and Life
This post first appeared on LinkedIn.
A few weeks into my working career I became familiar with the concept of core values. Rather randomly, a book was left on the desk that was now to be my working home. The book was called ‘The 10 Natural Laws of Successful Time and Life Management’. It was written by a gentleman named Hyrum Smith, who at the time was the CEO of the Franklin Quest Company; an American company that specialised in providing tools and training around time management.
His underlying message has stuck with me to this day. Find out what is truly important to you (your governing values) and then ensure that what you do each day (your daily tasks) is aligned to and moving you towards those values.
As Hyrum puts it:
‘If you set goals that aren’t aligned with your values, you may accomplish a great deal, but you won’t ever be satisfied, because you’ll be neglecting the things that matter most to you. By the same token, if you create a daily task list that doesn’t reflect your long-range and intermediate goals, you’ll be busy but not productive.’
Injecting Your Values into Your Life
Follow the below pyramid to bring your values into your daily life.
Step 1 – First you identify and prioritise your core values.
Step 2 – Set some long range (18+ months) and more immediate goals (upto 18 months) around those core values.
Step 3 – Take the time each day to plan and ensure that you are doing something that moves you closer to these goals.
Only by living your core values on a daily basis can you hope to find inner peace and happiness. It’s an incredibly powerful way to get control of your life and direct it with some real purpose and sense of mission.
Your Values and Your Career
The pyramid helps explain why so many people are frustrated with their career and their daily tasks at work. They are simply not aligned to their most important core values. If you are spending eight or more hours a day doing something that isn’t really important to you then the chances of experiencing enjoyment and satisfaction are going to be less.
Look at your career honestly and try to perform an objective assessment as to whether it exhibits strong alignment to your most important values. Are your daily tasks and responsbilities at work allowing you to work on things that are important in your life?
Research has shown that aligning your values to those of your organization can also lead to positive outcomes for employee and employer. Does your organization reflect your important values? Does the culture allow and encourage those values to be on full display?
A Values Based Life
Awareness of your own values will naturally grow over time as you experience more of life and start to understand what is important to you. Some people will feel the pull of their values stronger than others and are more likely to be guided by and act upon those values.
Once you are clear on your values, you have a very powerful tool to help you navigate career and life decisions and lead a more authentic, purposeful life.