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How to Make Sure Your Work Aligns with Your Values

By: Pamela Slim


A mentor once told me that the only way you truly know what your values are are when they are violated.

Like when a key partner betrays your trust.
Or when you try a new marketing strategy that makes you feel disingenuous.
Or when you are encouraged as a kid to tease someone at school, even when you don’t want to.
When you betray your values, you feel awkward, uneasy, and even sick.
Conversely, when your actions match your core beliefs, you feel a sense of calm, ease, and peace.
In my decades coaching people in many different work environments, I find that values mis-match is the biggest cause of angst, dissatisfaction, and conflict in the workplace.
And most often this is the case because we don’t take the time to clarify our values, then choose jobs, partners and clients that resonate with those values.
So as you finish up this year and look toward planning your business and career moves for 2014, answer the following questions:
  1. What do you value? Brainstorm a list of values. Review the list, choose the top five, and create a definition for each.
  2. What do you believe? List the top five things you know for sure about your life, yourself and your career.
  3. Why do you believe them? Describe the life experiences that have shaped your values and beliefs.
  4. Whom do you care deeply about serving? Who are the people you want to impact? Why are they important to you? What will happen in their lives as a result of your support?
  5. Which problems do you want to solve? What do you want to fix? What could be made better in the world with your help?
  6. What drives you to act? Which thoughts, feelings, circumstances or beliefs drive you to act?
Now that you have this information, look at your current work situation.
  • Are you in a role where you can act according to your values and beliefs?
  • Are you serving those who you care most about serving?
  • Are you making an impact on problems and issues you want to solve?
  • Are you set up for success, so you have the support you need to take action?
If so, keep at it! Build on this success, and go deeper and stronger in your work next year.
If not, look at changes you can make to get yourself in alignment with your values, up to and including changing jobs, changing your business model, or getting new partners.
Life is too short to trade your well-being for a paycheck. Take action.
This article was originally published by Escape from Cubicle Nation
Published: December 11, 2013

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Pamela Slim

Pamela Slim is an award-winning author, speaker and leader in the new world of work. She spent the first 10 years of her solo practice as a consultant to large corporations such as Hewlett-Packard, Charles Schwab and Cisco Systems. In 2005, she started the Escape from Cubicle Nation blog, now one of the top career and business sites on the web. She has coached thousands of budding entrepreneurs, in businesses ranging from martial art studios to software startups. She is the author of the award winning book Escape from Cubicle Nation and is working on her second book Body of Work, due to be published in December, 2013.

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