Hello Workwell

When Your Personal and Workplace Values Collide

SoulLydia Loizides
Photo by Martin Schoeller in GQ Magazine

Photo by Martin Schoeller in GQ Magazine

"I am going to speak the truth when I'm asked about it." – Colin Kaepernick

Learning to Work Your Values

No one said your work life was going to be easy. The day you start working, you're submitting to finding a way to balance your personal values within an institution and culture you cannot control. (I'm including all your K through 12 and college years as well because let's be honest, school is hard work.) For some people, it's easy -- their employers may embody and reflect their personal values. For others, every workday can be a living hell. Thankfully, there are some steps you can take to get your work/life into alignment. 

Step One: Get Crystal Clear

Getting clear about what your values are is the first step. Anyone can do this at any point in their career and everyone should do this exercise at least once a year. Set aside time and space to work through a values exercise. We'll save you the Googling -- here is a simple list of three from Positive Psychology Program:

Values Clarification from Therapist Aid

This worksheet has a long checklist of predefined values and instructs the user to select and rank the ten most important values to them. This worksheet serves to not only help people identify their values, but also allows them to figure out the relative importance of each value. This is an important step in understanding one’s value system.

Values Clarification from PsychPoint

This values clarification worksheet digs a little deeper than the above worksheet. It asks for one’s core values but also asks about their parent’s core values and other aspects of one’s life, such as life lessons they’ve learned. This is a good way to learn someone’s core values, as well as a little bit about why they hold those values.

Clarifying your values

This is another values clarification worksheet, but it is more informative than the first two. The worksheet includes information about values clarification and also discusses a values clarification exercise called The Bull’s Eye, where people can evaluate their commitment to their values in various aspects of their lives. This is a good option for anyone who wants to learn about values and values clarification in different life domains.

Step Two: Get Active

Now that you've taken the time to clearly define what’s important to you, what motivates you, and what you need from your workplace values, it's time to get moving. If you're out of alignment, start thinking about the pros and cons of staying or leaving this employer. Yes, you're getting a paycheck. Yes, the devil you know is better than the devil you don't know. Yes, it's really not 'that" bad. Yes, you're lying to yourself. Start by making a simple list - pros and cons. If you're not ready to make a change, set a calendar reminder to go through this process every month. If you experience three or four consecutive months of imbalance, it's time to make a change.

These two simple steps can help your worksoul get to a happy place. The reality is, you're going to spend the majority of your life working; become an activist of your work self and put in the time and energy needed to live your best work life.