How Your Values Help You in Times of Change

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Little is as it was, that’s simply a fact of life, whether it’s at the personal or global level, life is change.

Change can be unsettling, but there are ways to feel more at ease, safe and happy even when there’s whirlwinds around you.

Take the current job situation and businesses’ desires to hire. There’s a mismatch in my part of the world, where jobs of all kinds stay open because people have had a chance to reflect on what’s important to them. What they want.

In the past 10 years, I’ve done a lot of reflecting and deciding on how I’ll live my life and it all started with becoming clear about my values. Not what my culture, my family, or society says I should want, but what fills my soul with purpose and the deepest kind of satisfaction.

That’s meant, among other things, ending a 29-year marriage, moving out of the area I’d called home, and launching my own business. None of that was done easily, but it was all undertaken by ultimately asking — what do you want?

Knowing what you want is the first step, values are the second

Do you know what you want? This isn’t a surface question, but rather one of the highest order to choosing the kind of life you will have. And it begins with knowing your values so that you can craft your own pathway to living a life of meaning and purpose.

When you’re faced with a challenge or a decision in your work or personal life, what guides you towards making the best possible choice for you?

Your values consciously followed or sometimes unconsciously ignored is the difference between creating the life that best fits you or feeling trapped and unhappy in one that doesn’t.

No doubt you’ve come across the term being applied to the shift in the world of work — #thegreatresignation. The pandemic has been a hard stop for many to sit back and reflect on what’s working in their world and what isn’t.

Is that you? Have you been trying to decide what you want more of and what you’re ready to release?

Values are your guidance system and no, there aren't two - not one for your personal and one for your professional lives. 

Just one set of values that carry you through in every kind of situation and decision that you make. When you’re acting in accordance with your values you’ll know because the body doesn’t lie.

Often, it’s as easy as feeling lighter — the proverbial weight off your shoulders. Or if you make a decision that doesn’t align with your values and what you really want, you can feel heavy with resignation or defeat.

Same decision — different values-different choices

When it comes to work, consider these two different values for a sense of how values-based decision-making can come into play.

If you value security, then you may choose to stay in a job and find ways to make it work, even if there have been uncomfortable changes in management or expectations. On the other hand, if you value freedom, and the ability to carry out your job becomes more constrictive without opportunities to express enough of your freedom, then you may look elsewhere.

Values are highly personal and as such, are exactly why trying to follow someone else’s idea of how to live your life will never bring you the satisfaction and happiness you desire.

You can’t outsource your decisions based on someone else’s values and expect to get what you want. While the decision might look the same, the reasons for making the choice you do are deeply personal. It’s the difference between feeling aligned to your path or lost in the woods.

The one constant is change and how easily you navigate it rests on whether you’re willing to identify and live by your values. Yes, you may need to make some changes of your own to claim the kind of life you want, but then, that’s the real beauty of embracing self-leadership. Your vision, your values, and your goals that lead you to create a life you love.


PS

If you’re an educator, you may be interested in an organization that I’m affiliated with — VbE –Values Based Education. I had the great pleasure of interviewing Dr. Neil Hawkes when I organized a global self-leadership summit in 2020. He and his organization are making the best kind of change and making a difference globally.

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