Have you ever been in a situation where you made a decision (or had to), and deeply felt wrong on the inside?
Chances are this decision or outcome went directly against one or more of your most important values. I remember clearly, in my first role as Sales Manager 18 years ago, production was running well behind schedule, and clients would get their orders very late. The business owners prohibited us to inform the clients of these delays - and this felt horrible to me. Feeling I had to hide information and even lie went straight against my values of honesty and transparency.
Sometimes though, we might be acting against or in disconnect with our own values without realizing it, however experiencing a similar feeling (albeit less intense - perhaps a lingering unease or discomfort), and this can be a permanent state like staying in a role or company that doesn't allow you or support your values.
But first - what is a Value?
Values are emotions, experiences, feelings or actions that are important to you, and can be the compass of our life, guiding your decisions for your whole life (hopefully). Values are what makes us tick, what we live for and even might be willing to die for (ask soldiers or any extremist). Values most likely will have been developed from your upbringing, mainly parents and family, but later also teachers and other role models we come across. Certain events or environments also shape values (e.g. if you were kidnapped, you will probably value Safety very highly afterwards).
Having clarity on your Values is a great step towards taking the right decisions in your life. And being able to distinguish what your values are, as opposed to values that might have been pushed to your from older generations or different cultural contexts, can be the difference between living a fulfilling career or life, and not.
Values give us the reason why we do the things we do, what it is that motivates us to set and pursue certain goals, activities, careers and relationships. Going through life without knowing these deeper motivators, leaves us exposed to living other people's values, setting goals and pursuing careers that aren't really fulfilling or important to us.
Knowing your values is just the first step, the second is really living them! Living a life in disconnect with your values will only lead to frustration, disempowered and demotivated. Know your values and find ways, careers, relationships and an environment that supports and elevates you to live and breathe them!
If this resonates with you, and you would like to have a conversation around your values, how to live them in a more aligned way, and how you can use this understanding to focus your life or career towards a more fulfilled version of you, get in touch now for a quick chat - I can help!