Defining and discovering your values

When you can devote your time to work that aligns with your values – the things that are important to you about the way you live and the work you do – you will feel you’re enjoying your ideal career. When you can’t, you won’t. When the things you do and the way you behave match your values, life is usually good – you feel satisfied and content. But when your life doesn’t align with your values, things feel wrong. This can be a real source of unhappiness.

When the work you do is in keeping with your personal values, life usually feels good. However, if this is not the case, you’ll soon start to feel you’re in the wrong job. You will lose energy and motivation. 

Sometimes, people say they have ‘hit the wall’ in their job, meaning they feel they can’t go on any longer. Maybe they’ve been working too much or have had a stressful period. But the reason often has nothing to do with long hours or pressure — they just feel their work is meaningless and that they are not getting anywhere. 

On the other hand, you always feel like you have more energy and enthusiasm when you’re doing something exciting. Have you ever heard of anyone having a breakdown after spending too much time on their hobby? The answer is probably no! This is because you are more likely to give effort, time and energy to something you love, and which aligns with your personal values, and the result is usually excellent. 

How would you define your values? And what are your personal values?

For example, let’s say you really value personal growth and development. This suggests you should look for a job that gives you the opportunity to learn new skills and fulfil your potential.

Someone else might consider stability to be really important and not care so much about challenges. That’s fine! Everyone has their own set of values and these should determine your priorities. 

Here are some other examples of personal values that may be important for you: freedom, security, ambition, being adventurous, progress, creativity, reliability, curiosity, balance and honesty. The list really does go on!

In order to discover your personal values, take a look at the values table we have created. You can pick as many values as you like, but be sure about which ones are most important for you, and try to stick by them. 

Your personal values are a crucial part of who you are and who you want to be. Discovering them means finding out what really matters to you. It is an  exciting process that deepens your understanding of yourself, and knowing what you think is important in life. Have fun on this road of discovery!