Things don’t happen by accident.
Just imagine that someone is going on a trip and when he comes to the booking counter he asks for a ticket to nowhere. You know this is wrong, yet people do this with their life.
You can change this; you can write your own ticket. But before you choose your destination, you need to lay down the correct groundwork, starting with your values. If you understand what your values in life are you will be able to work out your goals easily.
What are values?
Values are the things in life that are important to us – the things we ‘value’. They are the reasons we make the choices we do. Each person has a unique set of values – we all develop values that are as unique as our personalities. Though some people share some basic values, they may have different opinions on a subject or choose different courses of action.
A value is an idea of something that is, in and of itself, attractive. To make it a value becomes personal by simply adding the words “to me”. Personal values don’t need to be justified to be attractive, although we must be careful of matters that others may call values that are antisocial or destructive.
Each action is a reflection of our values … of what we believe and how we put these beliefs into practice. As children we form values through our experiences and by watching the world around us. Different childhood experiences, styles and upbringing, social class, educational influences all add to the development of our own value system.
Some people are motivated by a strong drive for accomplishment – they will look for highly paid, high status jobs, and may thrive in a business environment.
Others may look for work that is really interesting and will also meet their need for stability and social contact with other people. Again others may need the opportunity to be creative and innovative.
Following is a list of sample values that will help you to make a beginning when exploring your values. In another article we will address the issue of knowing your work related values as this knowledge can help when considering your business choices.
Now try to decide which of the following values are the five most important in your life:
- making lots of money
- looking after your family
- making friends
- personal good health
- having fun
- helping other people
- personal success in a job or career
- good citizenship
- honesty in all dealings
- being creative
- being a leader
- tolerance of others
- personal attractiveness
- becoming famous
- becoming a good team player
Our personal and work related values have an important part to play in career planning and decision-making. As adults we examine and reorganize our values – choosing those that best fit our intentions.
Our values may change with time. What seemed important at one stage in our lives may give way to other concerns. Desire for your own home may make a highly paid job important. A new baby could make a young mother less ambitious for a full-time career.
The power of focus
Once you clarify your value system it will provide focus for your life. Focus adds power to our actions. When someone throws a bucket of water at you, you will get wet. But if water is shot at you through a high-pressure nozzle it will injure you because of its power. The difference is focus.
Another example is Karate. If I hit a block of wood or a brick with my hand, I will hurt myself. Yet, when a karate expert does it, they can slam through it without pain. They are focused. And the results are stunning.
Now write down your values. Once you have an understanding of your values, it will help you to set your goals or to know what you want to aim for.
This is the second article in a series of three by Grace du Prie. In the first post we looked at Motivation. Next, Grace explores the area of setting goals.