One Simple Assignment To Keep Your WorkLife Aligned To Your Values

Because Your Values Can Go Out Of Sync and Can Change Over Time

Photo by Dariusz Sankowski on Unsplash

As a teenager, Jimmy had defined his values. This helped him choose the best course of study to enable a WorkLife where he was motivated, fulfilled and happy. His values have guided him ever since to live his WorkLife with purpose, passion and pride.

Straight out of college, Jimmy had joined an online travel company for recreational and business travel. It’s been a great company to work for, and he has enjoyed his time there, which is now close to twenty years.

Until, lately, that is, when something changed. Jimmy felt he wasn’t as happy as he had been throughout his WorkLife, but he didn’t know why. After all, he was living his WorkLife true to his values.

An Assignment In Revisiting and Reevaluating Values

To try and figure out what was different, Jimmy revisited and reevaluated the values he had defined by the meaning they held for him.

For each value, he asked himself two questions:

Does my WorkLife honour this value?

Is this value as important to me now as it was when I first defined it?

Jimmy’s Values:

Autonomy: Ownership in creating a WorkLife of independence and freedom.

Not only did Jimmy’s WorkLife live up to this value. It surpassed it. This was because he had been encouraged and supported in owning his own decisions. The company’s ethos is to recognise and celebrate both successes and failures and the learning taken from these. This has fostered a workforce that is confident and secure in making courageous choices.

Questions/Answers:

Does my WorkLife honour this value? Yes.

Is this value as important to me now as it was when I first defined it? Yes.

A Progressive WorkLife: Driven by continuous learning, development and growth.

Jimmy had joined the company as an Intern and was given opportunities to work across different functions before his current position as Account Manager. There had been no borders or boundaries to the trajectory of Jimmy’s Worklife. He had followed a progressive WorkLife path true to his values of continuous learning, development and growth.

Questions/Answers:

Does my WorkLife honour this value? Yes.

Is this value as important to me now as it was when I first defined it? Yes.

Purpose: To make a difference both through broadening people’s horizons and strengthening connections between people and communities.

Throughout his WorkLife, Jimmy had worked on meaningful projects and was given the support he needed along the way to bridge divides.

Questions/Answers:

Does my WorkLife honour this value? Yes.

Is this value as important to me now as it was when I first defined it? Yes.

Openness: An openness to change. An openness to differences — different styles, different opinions, different ways of working.

The Company Mission is to create lasting change that helps create a better world for future generations. The approach they take in achieving this is by building an equitable workplace. Where people can say what is needed in the confidence, their voice will be heard.

Jimmy loves that ideas at his company matter more than titles. The trust this has built means everyone believes in putting their ideas forward; they will be listened to.

Questions/Answers:

Does my WorkLife honour this value? Yes.

Is this value as important to me now as it was when I first defined it? Yes.

Travel/Adventure: A force for good that allows a unique view of the different cultures of the world. It brings about a sense of health and happiness through new experiences that create long-lasting memories.

The company lives by its belief that it’s as important to love the journey as much as the destination. That, together with an excellent travel allowance, has attributed to Jimmy’s WorkLife being an endless adventure through travel.

Questions/Answers:

Does my WorkLife honour this value? Yes.

Is this value as important to me now as it was when I first defined it? Yes.

Jimmy’s exercise in revisiting and reevaluating his values allowed him to know his WorkLife was honouring all of his values and that each of them was as important to him now as when he had first defined his values.

While he was relieved to discover this, he was also perplexed. He hadn’t found the answer to why he wasn’t as happy now as he had been throughout his WorkLife.

Not knowing what else to do, he distanced himself from the problem by getting stuck into his day-to-day WorkLife.

Then a few days later, out of the blue, or rather in the midst of a phone call with his dad, the answer came to him.

He had never considered Family as a value. He had taken it as a given that it was important, but it had in no way guided him in his WorkLife. His extensive travel and desire to live in and experience different countries had taken him away from home. He had visited when he could, but since college, this had been no more than once or twice a year. His family had always supported what they fondly referred to as Jimmy’s free spirit and wanderlust. They were happy when he visited, but equally, they were happy that he was living his best WorkLife.

While in good health, Jimmy was mindful that his parents were growing older. He felt he wanted to spend more time with them while he still could.

That was it. That was the answer to Jimmy’s question as to why he wasn’t as happy in his WorkLife now as he always had been.

Once he knew his ‘Why’, he also knew what he needed to do to bring about the changes that would honour his value of Family: To spend more time with my parents.

Jimmy relocated closer to home, enabling him to spend more time with his parents. This was easy for him to put in place because his company advocates that people can work from wherever they choose. Not only was he still able to honour his other values, but when it came to his value of Travel/Adventure, he brought his parents with him on many of his trips. Not only was his company supportive of this, but they also included Jimmy’s parents in their research projects by interviewing them about their experiences — what they enjoyed, what they would have liked to have experienced to have made it even better.

They were rewarded with travel points. Not wanting to leave Jimmy at home, they always include him when they’re planning their next adventure with the travel points they’re continuously earning.

Words of Wisdom

While things do not always change on a daily, weekly, monthly or even a yearly basis, this simple practice of defining your WorkLife values, then regularly checking in with yourself, by posing the questions:

Does my WorkLife honour this value?

Is this value as important to me now as it was when I first defined it?

Demands that you stay in tune with your values.

If and when your WorkLife goes out of sync with your values, trust this process will enable you to discover your ‘Why?’. The answer may come to you immediately, or as with Jimmy, it may take a little time. But it will come. You just need to trust the process.

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As a WorkLife Learning Practitioner and Writer, I create learning programmes and resources to help people manage, develop and transition their WorkLives in good, challenging and bad times.

I created The School Of WorkLife book series to help people continuously fine-tune their learning, development and growth in the areas most important to them. Click on the series to see all the books available and previews of what’s inside each book.

How To Make Your Values Matter is book 1 in the series. Click on the title to see a preview of what’s inside the book.

Published by Carmel O' Reilly

Carmel O’ Reilly: WorkLife Learning Practitioner & Writer Author of School Of WorkLife Books & Your WorkLife Your Way: Created to help you manage your WorkLife Learning Blogger & Podcaster: Telling people’s powerful stories about WorkLife challenges & successes Founder of www.schoolofworklife.com My guiding statement is to help people pursue their WorkLives with greater clarity, passion, purpose and pride by creating continuous WorkLife learning programmes that are accessible to everyone.

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