Perhaps you’re compelled to wash the dishes and clean up the kitchen straight after dinner, even on the nights you really just want to chill in front of the TV with a glass of wine?
When we’re driven to do things, it’s a strong indication of what’s important to us deep down. And what’s important to us is our unique set of internal values. In the example above, if your need to clean up feels almost like it’s being driven by some internal force, it might mean you value cleanliness and order more than relaxation.
Your values are your very own personal motivators. Knowing what they are in a certain context (for example career or business) can help you focus and inspire you to spend your energy on the things that are intrinsically important to you.
On the other hand, if you’re doing an activity or task that’s not within your value set, you’ll find it much harder to motivate yourself to actually do it. In fact, it may well be one of those tasks that features permanently on your To do list, but never actually gets done.
Most values are unconscious, and we’re largely unaware of them. To determine what your business values are, take yourself off to a quiet corner with a pen and paper and answer this question: “What’s important to me in the context of my business?” Write your answers down as quickly and honestly as possible (allowing you to tap into your unconscious answers rather than your conscious ones).
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With the information in hand, you can then ask yourself if you’re current work life fulfills your business values, and if not, what you can do to change things so that it does.
If your career or business is in alignment with your values, you’ll find the journey a much smoother and more congruent one. Goals that match up with your values tend to be easier to hit too.
The same exercise can help you understand your values around family, relationships, personal development, health and spirituality. Do it regularly, as your values may change with your circumstances.
Starting to think about your values in each of these areas of life tends to lead to improved work-life balance, purely by awakening awareness about what’s a priority in each area. It can also provoke some excellent goal setting that‘s spot on in terms of aligning with your internal drive and motivation.
Do you know what your business values are? Has the information been helpful to you? Please share your comments below.