Written by Nina Grunfeld Monday, 22 July 2013 08:39
I was recently talking to a friend who had a big decision to make. He’d been offered a job and wasn’t sure whether or not to take it. It was, on paper, a great job, offering far more money than he’d had before and yet I could feel he was really unclear as to whether or not to go for it.
As we talked through his life and answered the five questions below, what became apparent was that two of his biggest values were ‘freedom’ and ‘learning’ and, in the job he’d been offered he’d be neither free, nor did he feel he’d be learning anything as he was going to be Head of Department. I could see why he didn’t want to commit to it – it just didn’t agree with his core values.
Values can help us with all our decisions, but it can take a little bit of time to find them. The simplest way is to ask yourself the below 5 questions:
1. When were you happiest?
2. What do you want to be remembered for?
3. When did you feel at your most successful?
4. When did you feel most satisfied?
5. What have you regretted the most?
To each of those questions, focus on what’s really important about the answer you give.
For example, if you answer question 1. by saying ‘I was happiest when I used to draw as a child’, ask yourself ‘What was important about that?’ And then, when you answer ‘I liked the concentration I had’, ask yourself again, ‘What was important about that?’ Keep asking yourself ‘What was important about that?’, until you get to one value, such as ‘focus’.
Then focus on each value you’ve written down and check if it’s a means or an end? Is focus what you value, or was that the means to the end result – ‘creativity’ or even ‘producing’?
Once you know your core values you’ll understand why you like the things you do and dislike the things you do. You’ll even know whether or not to take that job.