How to Get Some Clarity around Career Direction – Part 3: Values

Friendship, community, nature, financial security, learning, challenge, variety, freedom, health….

Are any of these fundamental to the way you live your life?

These words are all values. Your values define what matters to you most, reflect who you are on a daily basis, inform your words, thoughts and actions and guide you to determine your priorities.

We all have different values.  Considering them alongside your strengths and interests will give you strong foundations to explore different career options and evaluate which working environments and which organisations might be right for you.

Life is usually good when the things you do and the way you behave match your values. But if you end up working in an environment which doesn’t enable you to live your values then you’re likely to feel quite unhappy.

Your values may change over time but here are some questions to support you in pinpointing your values now.

1. Identify the times when you were happiest

  • What were you doing?
  • Were you with other people? Who?
  • What other factors contributed to your happiness?

2. Identify the times when you were most fulfilled and satisfied. Think of some work and personal examples.

  • What need or desire was fulfilled?
  • How and why did the experience give your life meaning?
  • What other factors contributed to your feelings of fulfilment?

3. What could you not live without?

Think about being, doing, having. i.e. like being outdoors, seeing friends or learning every day, having enough money to go to a festival. 

  • Why is this important to you?

You should now have a list of personal values. Try to get to ten and then prioritise them. Some of them might naturally combine. To cut the list down further to say five to seven, keep comparing one value against another and ask yourself ‘if I could satisfy only one of these, which one would I choose?’

Some of life's decisions are really about determining what you value most. So use your values as a strong guiding force to point you in the right direction.

This article was written by Rachel Harrison:

After a varied career across marketing, recruitment and training Rachel Harrison qualified as a career coach and founded My Professional Hat. Her coaching and training business inspires students and graduates to set out on the right career path for them, by helping them with career direction, mindset, practical skills, and focused action planning. She is co-author of the Lonely Planet Volunteering Book, loves tennis, travel and hanging out with friends.