Conversations with BlackBook – Finding My Values


“Being Brave & Finding you”
Finding My Values – it’s simple and are the life blocks to build honest connections

Over the last 20 years I have met thousands of exceptionally talented and successful people, whether acting on behalf of client on a search or many times where I am asked to offer advice or hold a coaching chat to senior talent. It always surprises me when asking what your values are, I am amazed how many people don’t know or are not aware of their own values and how they use them to create successful connections.

Many people appear to be lost or at a crossroads in their life or career – this simple exercise has without exception created a wonderful lightbulb moment for the individuals I have done this with – many have then used this to reflect and to find out what they really wanted – some have changed the way they work, many have changed  career totally, a few even changed their personal life for the better.

So, what is a value – they are the things that you believe are important in the way that you live and work, they are personal to you and should determine your priorities, moreover they tell you if your life is turning out the way that you want it to. If the things that you do feel good it is likely that you are meeting your values, if there are questions or it doesn’t quite feel right then your values are potentially compromised and could lead to conflict and unhappiness.

Identifying and making a conscious effort to know your values is so important. Your values identify and validate your actions and if they are in alignment will give you a strong sense of worth and achievement.

If your family and friends are a strong value for you and you’re working all the hours that god  sends and have no time, you will ultimately feel internal conflict and stress – as you cannot give those close to you the time they deserve. Or you don’t value competition for instance but you’re working in a highly competitive sales environment, will you be satisfied in a role that calls for this?

So, understanding your values really can help in making the right decisions about how you live your life, you will be able to answer questions like:

  • What role should I be doing?
  • Should I accept this promotion?
  • Maybe I should be starting my own business?
  • Can I compromise, or should I be holding my position?

So, let’s get started…… all you need is a pen, a few sheets of paper and maybe some Post IT Notes.

Step One

Taking a sheet of paper, divide the paper into three headers:

  • Happiness – for times when I was at my happiest in my career and personal life
  • Proud – for times when I was proud in my career and personal life
  • Fulfilled – for times when in my career or personal life I was most fulfilled and felt satisfied

With each header ask yourself the following questions:

  • Happiness – What was I doing? Was I with other people? Who? What factors contributed to this sense of happiness?
  • Proud – Why was I proud? Did other people share my pride? Who? What other factors contributed to this sense of pride?
  • Fulfilled – What need, or desire was fulfilled? How and why did the experience give me meaning? What other factors contributed to my feelings of fulfilment?

This exercise allows you to identify what made you feel happy, gave you a sense of pride and also what made you feel fulfilled.

Step Two

So you have your lists of Happiness, Proud and Fulfilled – using the List (a list of the most common values) below start thinking of the words that will set your values – as you work through each list, you will find that some of these combine, for instance if you value philanthropy, charity, community and giving, you might say that service to others is one of your top values.  We are aiming for your 10 Top Values (if you have more or less that’s OK to).

Step Three

This is the step that really is about you looking deep inside of yourself, it’s the most important step, you’ll be making decisions, choosing to satisfy your values and discovering which value is more important than another.

  • Using a Post It Note or a small piece of paper write down your top values, not in any order.
  • Look at the first two values and ask yourself, “If I could satisfy only one of these, which would I choose?” It might help to visualise a situation in which you would have to make that choice. For example, if you compare the values of service and stability, imagine that you must decide whether to sell your house and move to another country to do valuable charitable work, or keep your house and volunteer to do charity work closer to home.
  • Keep working through the list, comparing each value with each other, until the list in in the correct order.
  • You may find difficulty with choosing or deciding between one or two of them that’s fine, assign a score to the two in terms of importance to you.
Step Four

Remember I said these are your values and they are personal to you – so it is important that you reaffirm your values. It might be an idea to leave them for an hour to reflect. Then check that they fit you, your life and your vision for you.

  • Do these values make you feel good about yourself?
  • Are your proud of your top three values?
  • Would you feel comfortable and proud to tell people you respect and admire about your values?
  • Do these values represent things you would support, even if your choice isn’t popular, and it puts you in the minority?

When you consider your values in decision making, you can be sure to keep your sense of integrity and what you know is right, and approach decisions with confidence and clarity. You’ll also know that what you’re doing is best for you now and also your future happiness and satisfaction.

Making value-based choices may not always be easy. However, making a choice that you know is right is a lot less difficult for the future.

written by The BlackBook Team