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How to Identify Your Values and Align Them With Work

Aligning your values with your work is a powerful ideal.

Often, the difficult thing is determining what is truly important. Each of us must take the time to identify our “Whys.” In other words, what is your purpose in life? What are your personal values? What is most important to you?

Your Values are Your Foundation

It is critical to identify your values as they become the foundation you can build upon to design the life you want. When you are confident in the values that will lead you, it becomes much easier to determine your purpose, and what will provide true satisfaction both professionally and personally.

Often, we fall into the trap of living for someone else’s values – perhaps our parents, a significant other, or a boss. When we are not sure of and living true to our own values, this will result in a sense of lacking in this area of your life. Ask yourself if you are tied up in the “have-tos” that are the success lie: working toward something you think you should be doing versus living within your own gifts and passions and striving to be the best version of yourself. If you find you are discontent and unsatisfied with your life, it may very well be that you are caught up in living in a way that is not congruent with your own values.

When Values are Not Aligned

As you consider this topic, you may find that your values are not aligned with your business or the work that you do. Sometimes there are situations where you are not in control of the company values. There may be others in leadership, on a board of directors, or stockholders who are setting the direction of the company. I am compelled to pause a moment to talk with readers who find themselves in this situation.

If you find yourself in a place where you are unsatisfied, or maybe even dreading to go to work, it may be an issue of personal and professional values not being aligned. Here are a few questions to ask yourself:

  1. Are you excited and on board with the vision and values of your company? If so, you will feel aligned with and support the company direction. If not, you will find yourself often uneasy, and company decisions will make you uncomfortable.
  2. Do you have a positive connection and shared values with the people you work closest with? If so, you will look forward to seeing them each day, and collaborating will be natural. If not, you will likely avoid them, and detour opportunities to work together
  3. Are you using your top strengths at work? If you are working the majority of time at what you like doing and are best at, you will likely be happy in your work. On the other hand, if you spend most of your day doing tasks that you find grueling or unappealing it will lead to job dissatisfaction.

Too often we approach our work, families and personal lives without considering the overall impact it will have on the values we have or what we want to achieve. Take the time to define your values. Then make the choice to live your life with the intent to set your priorities and accomplish goals in alignment with your values.

Originally published on Quora.

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