Sophie Cliff (aka The Joyful Coach), is a coach, writer and podcaster who helps people live their most joyful lives, whatever that means to them. She has created a blog post for Career Academy all about using your values to find a career that brings you joy. If you're not sure what that means, she'll help you to identify your values in this article and the supporting podcast, too.
"Choosing a career path that feels like a good fit for you isn’t an easy process. There are so many options available, and it can be hard to know where to start, but identifying your personal values can be a great first step. In this post I’ll be telling you a little bit more about what values are, explaining why we can feel a little lost at work when we aren’t aligned with them, and giving you some tools to help you figure out what your values are. I’ll also be sharing some pointers on how to use your values to clarify the career path that would feel great to you.
So, what are values?
Our values are the things that we believe are most important in the way we live and work - they are our internal drivers and help us to stay motivated. Values help us to determine our priorities, and when we know what they are, we can use them to measure whether we’re working and living in a way that feels good to us.
We all have a unique set of values, but many of us might be unaware of what ours are. By identifying them, we can live more intentionally, making decisions and taking action that aligns with them.
Why are values important when it comes to choosing a career path?
Simply put, when we’re doing work that doesn’t feel aligned with our values, we experience a sense of conflict. This conflict shows up in different ways for different people, but common symptoms include comparison, stress, dissatisfaction, a lack of motivation, burnout, and even poor mental and physical health. Often we get caught up in pursuing a career path that looks good on paper or would make other people proud, but the truth is, if we’re pursuing work that doesn’t satisfy our values, it won’t feel fulfilling, energising or purposeful.
How can we identify our personal values?
There are 6 key questions I like to use with clients to help them identify their values. Those
- When did you last feel in flow?
- What are your 5 happiest moments from last year?
- What are your 5 proudest achievements?
- What are your 3 biggest priorities in life?
- What do you want people to say about you when you’re not in the room?
- If you won the lottery tomorrow, how would you spend your time?
I encourage my clients to reflect on these questions and spend some time writing out their answers. Then I ask them to look back over their answers and use any patterns or themes to identify 5-7 core values. There might be more than 5-7 themes that come up, but being able to prioritise will make it easier to put your values into action. You can download a worksheet with these questions and a list of values here.
How can you use your values to help you find the right career path for you?
If you’re already employed, the first thing to do is check in with how your current job aligns with your values. Take each value and assign a score out of 10 for how well you feel your work aligns with it - this will give you a good idea of what is and isn’t working for you. Then, you can start to explore what would feel more satisfying. Take each value in turn and ask yourself how your days would look and feel if you were scoring 10/10 for each value. What would have to change? How would you be spending your time? This can be a great starting point to help you scope out new potential career paths.
Knowing your values can also help you to scope out whether companies or organisations feel like a good fit for you before you apply. Check out the details they share on their website - if it feels like you have a good value match, chances are you’ll enjoy working there so much more!
This blog post is an accompaniment to this podcast episode - if you’d like to hear more about using your values to find work that you love, give it a listen."
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