The thing that coaches, especially career / work coaches talk about more than any other thing.
But I promise you there is a good reason for this!
Your values are absolutely central to who you are as a person, they are your guiding principles, they influence every decision you make, and they are what makes things feel 'wrong' when they aren't being respected.
And if you aren't clear on what your values are, it can make finding work that's a good fit for you decidedly tricky.
Values are things like security, creativity, family, learning - and the combination of values that you hold is going to be unique to you, a bit like your fingerprints. And they may well change, or flex over time, depending on the season of life that you're in.
So how do you go about figuring out what your values are?
1. Use reflection to see where you've felt most fulfilled at work
One approach is to go through a reflection exercise to get a high level, rough draft of what's important to you:
Think about your top 3 or 4 work experiences - write them down.
Think about what you were doing in each experience - what was important about the work / the role?
Think about who you were working with in each experience - what was important about the team or the people?
Think about the environment you were in each experience - what was important about where you were working, in terms of culture, and/or physical environment?
Look for any similarities between your experiences - highlight or circle anything that comes up repeatedly.
This will give you a clue to your values, and the things that are important to you at work.
2. Think big
You can also think on a grander scale about the kind of person you are, and the things that are important to you. If you are into journalling, then maybe try the following exercise:
Imagine you are at your 90th birthday party, and you are looking back with fondness over your life - all the things you did and all the things you achieved.
What passions have run through your life? How have you spent your time?
What mark have you left on the world around you? How would you like to be remembered?
When we think about our legacy, and what we want to be known for, it can bring clarity over what's important to us, and what we need to prioritise in order to create the legacy we want.
3. Take a quiz!
I can't be the only one who loves an online quiz!
If you fancy giving an online test a go, one to try is:
In it, you answer a number of questions and it produces a report which explores how you feel about 14 work values compared to the 'average person' (as defined by the report).
Whilst I must stress that these are not the only work values that are important, it can be a good starting point, and I find it intriguing to compare what I see as important to what others see as important!
Once you have started to understand what your values are, you can start to explore what this may mean for you at work - for example, if one of your values is creativity, how might this show up for you at work, and how might you try to get more of that into your everyday work?
Your values are central to finding work that feels like you, and so it's worth spending a bit of time figuring out what's guiding you.
If you're struggling, do get in touch - you can contact me here, or if you'd like to book a call with me to see what difference building a work life around your values could make, you can book a free 45 minute Discovery call here.