World Values Day

How to determine your values and how these can influence your working life

It’s World Values Day today. This might sound like an excuse for a national awareness day but we think this one really deserves a mention, especially in the world of work. How so? Well, taking a moment to understand and explore your values can really shape your life. You see, if you’re not living a life that is in line with your values then you might be missing a trick.

Defining Values

Values are the beliefs that motivate you to act a certain way. Knowing your own personal values can change your behaviour and can shape the life you lead for the better. They can also help organisations determine whether they’re reaching their goals.

Each person will have different values. For example, some may value compassion over risk taking, while others value risk taking over compassion. There are different types of values from personal values which you exhibit in your own day-to-day life to relationship values which dictate how you interact with friends, your partner and colleagues.

Then there are societal values, how as individuals or as a company, you relate to the rest of society, and then closely linked to this are organisational values which help you define the purpose of your business, which can then impact the culture too.


When Values are Missing

Values are our beliefs that can guide and motivate our attitudes and behaviour. They help us to determine what is important to us and what is of less value. They describe the personal qualities we choose to embody to guide our actions – the kind of person we want to be and how we treat ourselves and others. In a nutshell, values help us decide what is good, desirable, or worthwhile.

However, sometimes you can lose touch with your values. Various factors might get in the way. You might have never had a firm handle on your values and therefore need to spend a bit of time exploring what’s important to you. Other times, we can get caught up in other people’s process or journey – self-comparison on social media for example, and also in the workplace, can surface and cause a road block to living by our own values. It’s important to not get sucked into comparing and to instead learn how to stand in your own power and create your own space to withstand this ‘noise’.

One helpful way can be to understand yourself better – your strengths, talents, desires, hopes, goals, dreams, values, purpose, what you truly NEED. Once you understand your strengths, values, needs and your purpose, it’s easier to stand back from the ‘noise’ knowing you have your own path, you know where you’re headed, it’s a path you feel excited about. That can sometimes help to minimise the kind of social chatter that can become unhelpful.


Benefits of Values

Having established values can really help improve your problem-solving and decision-making skills because once you know what you value, you can handle situations and make more informed choices.

Values can also give you some perspective and show you what is more important to you personally. Values are therefore like an anchor, they can keep you rooted so you can focus on what matters to you, ensuring you don’t get swept away by others.

Understanding your values, and living by them, can help with your confidence levels. Recognising your values helps you understand who you are and what you believe, leading you to hopefully dealing with obstacles with ease.

Lastly, values can help steer your career choices so that you choose a career, job or role that you really want.


Decide What’s Important to You

It’s important to have a good sense of your work-life culture – what’s working and what isn’t. What you want to ditch out of your life and what you want to say YES to more. If you haven’t explored values before, today might be a good time to start thinking about what is really important to you and to define a set of values.

You see, your core values are things that you feel are important in terms of the way you live your life. Things like: balance, integrity, creativity, compassion, teamwork, honesty, innovation, humour, influence, respect, service and wisdom. Usually your values will determine your priorities, and deep down, they’re probably the measures you use to tell if your life is turning out the way you want it to.

So, when you are choosing to change aspects of your life like your career, or your personal life, it’s a good idea to make sure that what you engage in, aligns with your core set of values.


Exploring Your Values

Firstly, you might like to take a moment to find a list of possible values. There’s heaps of stuff online – we quite like this grid but there are many other resources via the powers of Google.

Start by printing off a list of these values and highlighting the ones that feel most important to you. Then reflect again, and try to narrow your list down to around ten. Take your time with this. If you need some inspiration for different ways to work out what’s most important, consider these questions:

  • What are the things that bring you the most happiness in life?
  • What is it about those situations, occasions or things that you love?
  • What makes you sad, mad or frustrated?
  • What things did you love to do when you were younger?


Tip: Sometimes it can be hard to discover the values you have are your own or what you think they should be based on other people’s perceptions and expectations of you. Try to come back to this exercise a few times and consider if this is true for you.