Do you remember how you chose your career or what you considered important in making the decision to accept your current position? There are several factors that affect the career decision-making process. Some of these factors include interests, knowledge, experience, goals, personality and values. Values are often an overlooked aspect and have a real impact on career happiness and business success.
Oxford Dictionary defines values as “A principle or belief that a person or organization views as being of central importance.” Understanding our value set allows us to structure decisions and focus on “true north”. The ability to incorporate values-based decision-making can help you evaluate best fit, whether it's accepting positions throughout your career or leading an organization to success.
The following five tips are ways to increase awareness of your values and incorporate them into your career decision-making process.
- Define, refine and review your values. You should know what’s important to you then review, in case you have forgotten. Start by making a list of your top 5-10 core values; remove those that are not deal breakers. Then revisit this list from time-to-time to make sure you remain on course.
- When a choice makes you uneasy, do some soul searching and identify if it is due to fear or because it does not agree with your values. This is certainly not an easy step, but taking that time and “knowing your gut” are integral steps.
- Are you proud of the work you get to do? Do you believe in your product or service? Engagement is key here. Is your job working you or are you working your job? If you aren’t comfortable sharing what you do for or a living or your response lacks enthusiasm, this could be a clue that it’s time to find something you can sink your teeth into.
- If the opportunity in front of you doesn’t align with your values, don’t choose it. To do this you must truly know yourself. An example of this is, you are offered a fundraising position at a non-profit. While the cause might be worthy to some, it isn’t something that you would ever give your own money to, in fact, you think it is frivolous. How can you “sell” others on something you don’t believe in?
- Be proactive and know what’s important to you before a crisis hits. Spend time thinking about past decisions and the tipping point or factor that got you to that decision. What values came into play? Was it justice, responsibility, independence, family? What values did you neglect to take into account last time you made a decision you later regretted? You have a track record of decision-making; utilize it to inform future decisions.
Multiple sources cite that adults make 35,000 decisions each day. Values are a part of so many of our most mundane decisions, like brushing teeth for health reasons or dressing professionally for our corporate image. It isn’t realistic to understand the why behind every one of those 35,000 decisions. But understanding the values that help you make decisions around your professional well-being will assist in building a sound decision-making process for your career.