Why what matters to you, matters in your career

You are sitting in a meeting listening to the same cyclical conversations you have this month every year since you started your job five years ago. It’s the same old drill every time. It’s seasonal work, the same conversations, the same tasks for the same people. You’re barely able to keep your eyes awake. You wonder if you’re coming down with something.

You stare out the window watching the birds soaring through the sky, free to fly where they choose. You sigh inwardly. That would be pure joy.

You’re so disinterested in the next project because you’re not learning anything anymore. You’ve done it to death. You can do it in your sleep, which is lucky, because that’s how you feel most days at your desk; asleep.

Does this sound familiar?

Before you jump to the conclusion you’re in the wrong job, or you need to get more high energy drinks or visit the gym more, take a moment. You might just need to make a few tweaks. You see if any of that sounds familiar you might not be experiencing all your top values in your current work.

Your values are what’s most important to you. Without them you can feel ‘off’ or bored or unfulfilled in your work, like the feeling you get that you have more to give and you’re not able to.

Getting clear on what’s important to you is a huge first step in obtaining clarity on what and where you want to take your career whether that’s further up the ladder of an existing one or through a shift into a totally different line of work you find fulfilling (and dare I say it, fun… yes that’s actually a real thing, fun work!!)

Start by asking yourself what really matters to you, and either jot those things down, or you can start by scanning a list of values like the one below and highlighting the ones that jump out at you. Don’t try and get it right, trust your first sense before you try and analyse it.

If you get more than five on your first pass, that’s great and you can then play a ‘trade off’ game where you ask whether you’d be happy to trade one off for the other. For example if you had ‘achievement’ and ‘beauty’ on your list, ask yourself which matters more ‘achievement’ or ‘beauty’. Take the winning value to play the trade off with the same question for the next value on your list, eg ‘achievement’ and ‘creativity’. When you’ve done that for all the values you’ll be able to see your top five values.

You can use these as the core of your future career decisions. If achievement matters most to you and a role will not offer you that, you know it’s a no go role for you if you want to feel fulfilled in your work.

Here’s a helpful list of values to get you started.

  • Authenticity
  • Achievement
  • Adventure
  • Authority
  • Autonomy
  • Balance
  • Beauty
  • Boldness
  • Compassion
  • Challenge
  • Citizenship
  • Community
  • Competency
  • Contribution
  • Creativity
  • Curiosity
  • Determination
  • Fairness
  • Faith
  • Fame
  • Freedom
  • Friendships
  • Fun
  • Growth
  • Happiness
  • Honesty
  • Humor
  • Influence
  • Inner Harmony
  • Integrity
  • Joy
  • Justice
  • Kindness
  • Knowledge
  • Leadership
  • Learning
  • Love
  • Loyalty
  • Meaningful Work
  • Money (can also be wealth)
  • Openness
  • Optimism
  • Peace
  • Play/playfulness
  • Pleasure
  • Poise
  • Popularity
  • Recognition
  • Religion
  • Reputation
  • Respect
  • Responsibility
  • Security
  • Self-Respect
  • Service
  • Spirituality
  • Stability
  • Success
  • Status
  • Trustworthiness
  • Wealth
  • Wisdom

If you want to start strong in 2022, start by getting clear on what matters to you. I have two spaces opening up to work with me in finding greater clarity on your career direction and your big audacious goals for the future. If you’re interested, let’s talk.

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