Satisfaction and fulfillment at work are directly related to how well you are working in alignment with your values.
Values are not morals or principles. They are the essence of who you are—not who you think you should be, who your company thinks you should be or who your mother or partner thinks you should be.
Remember that money is not a value, whereas the things that money might buy, such as time freedom, adventure and helping in your community are values.
When you’re aligned with your values, things just feel right. Your choices are easy to make. And, your actions reflect who you really are. This is one piece of what I call Finding Your Own Internal Groove.
Take this quiz to see how well you are working in sync with your values.
1. I have spent time clarifying my values and can easily articulate them. Y or N
2. My values are my own. I have not simply adopted them from parents, teachers, partners, bosses, colleagues or clients. Y or N
3. I based my choice of occupation on my deepest values. Y or N
4. My values are in alignment with the company I work for (or own). Y or N
5. I regularly examine how I am living up to my values and purpose and make changes accordingly.
Y or N
6. I turn down money-making or status-building opportunities when they conflict with my values.
Y or N
7. In resolving disputes at work, I look beneath the apparent problem to see if values are being dishonored, and then I seek ways to honor them. Y or N
8. Anyone looking at my life from the outside would see what I value. Y or N
9. I use my values as a guidepost for making career decisions. I ask if a particular choice would bring me closer to—or further from—a core value. Y or N
10. I am not easily swayed by others’ opinions when they conflict with my values. Y or N
11. My work values are in harmony with my personal and relationship values. Y or N
Definitely out of sync: You answered NO to 6 questions or more.
It’s likely that your values are just plain being trampled on—either by the choices you are making or by someone else. Either way, guess who’s in charge of getting them honored? You may not even be aware of what your true values are. Perhaps no one has ever asked you or you’ve never considered what they are. What’s the result? You’re probably feeling pretty burnt out by your career at this point. You dread going to work, and some days you truly hate your job.
What’s the solution? Well, it’s a multiple step process, but the first step is assessing what your values truly are and getting clear on their order of priority to you.
Some room to adjust: You answered NO to 3-6 questions.
You’re aware of what’s important to you and you’re willing to re-examine your choices, but you’re still mainly being led around by outside influences instead of by your own values. What’s the result? A nagging feeling at the pit of your stomach on Monday mornings, and a loss of passion you used to have for your work. You’ve been thinking pretty seriously about starting a new career or even opening your own business, but you don’t want to just take your current work habits with you.
What’s the solution? Realigning what’s really important to you and taking steps to get those needs met is the place to start.
Feeling the groove: You answered NO to 2 questions or less.
Congratulations! You are working in alignment with your values and probably have a sense of your own Internal Groove. You are obviously finding creative ways to honor your values at work—even when there appears to be conflicts. What’s the result? You are likely feeling very satisfied and successful in your work. But then why are you here and reading this page?
If you suspect there may still be some “dust bunnies” to uncover, keep looking for hidden pieces where you could be doing a better job of staying true to your values at work. Nothing will contribute more to your joy and satisfaction.