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Do you get tired just hearing about these topics? Are you feeling dissatisfied in your life and/or career but you're not sure what you should do to feel better?
You're not the only one. Millions (33 million in the US alone) have walked away from their jobs and left their workplaces that do not support working according to their values, using their strengths, creating exciting learning opportunities, advancing their career objectives or contributing to the world and their communities by making a positive impact.
When others look for more meaningful ways to grow in their careers, others want a way out from a burnout cycle. The past two years have given us an exceptional pause and time to re-evaluate our priorities. Over many decades, we have given work such an influential role that we have accommodated other life areas like spending time with our family, friends and in hobbies. Looking at this crisis from a positive perspective, it has helped us to see our priorities in a new light and notice if we actually live by them or not.
Values become truly your values when you're acting upon them. If spending time with your family is important to you, but you are constantly spending overtime at work your work priorities rank higher. Many might not have wanted to admit that to themselves but have now noticed what they've been missing since they've been able to have more time with their loved ones.
So, many are now re-evaluating and rearranging their priorities (value assessment). A career, though it's still an important life domain for us and a way to pursue our professional interests, has less weight in the bigger picture - looking at life as a whole. So, employees are increasingly discovering new ways how to integrate their work into other life areas. A fulfilling way of living usually includes 6—8 important life areas. When career and work, education and learning, personal development, finance and wealth used to take a big part of the whole spectrum, love and relationships, health and recreation, living environment and spirituality have started gaining more attention in the lives of career-oriented high-achievers. By this attention, I mean actually making time and effort for these life priorities. These aren't new values by any means but we, career-focused talents have increasingly wanted to create a way of living that considers all the meaningful life areas and this includes rearranging the way of working.
To re-evaluate your priorities and integrate those life domains, follow these five steps to creating a value-based way of living and working.
1. Arrange your life priorities
Our values are formed very early on. We hardly ever choose them. Instead, during our childhood, we adopt values from other people like our parents and from the society we grow up in (Psychology today). This value base remains throughout our lifetime but there are situations that can influence it. For example, big emotional life events such as becoming a parent, getting married or having a health issue can change our life priorities or the order of them.
Many people say they know their values and yet they are not feeling satisfied. Thus, they might have a "wrong" sense of what is important or have difficulties living by their values. Due to this dissatisfaction, some are questioning their top values and if they have considered them as their own based on external factors like what is expected and appreciated in their community, field and social circles.
Our values really get tested when we are being challenged and big decisions need to be made for example. Since our values influence our decision-making and those decisions impact how we choose to live our lives, values play an important role in our life satisfaction and happiness.
Therefore, doing a profound value assessment is more essential than we think. The more aware you are of your values the better you can create a lifestyle that supports what you find meaningful - in other words, it opens a door to a fulfilling living and career path.
Let's begin your value assessment:
make a list of your values (what you find important)
put them in order of importance (what value outweigh the other)
think about being in a difficult situation and what matters to you the most? (this is often your number one value)
2. Evaluate your priorities
Now that you are aware of your values it is time to start creating your life around them. First, we need to look at where you are now that we can plan the changes you want to do.
Next, assess each value at the time and
think about what living according to this value would look like in an ideal situation
and evaluate how well your current lifestyle supports this value on a scale of 1-10
3. Cultivate your ideal lifestyle
Now, look at the values you scored less than 10:
think about in which life areas you want to cultivate this particular value
come up with a few ways you can apply to your life that will foster this value
Tip: try to think about as small activities as you can. This will make it easier to apply these new activities to your everyday life and stick to them.
4. Give up to gain more
Notice that when you want to add things into your life, you might need to give up on other things. Often this is related to time or other resources. If you want to see your friends and family more often, start a new hobby or keep up with a habit of reading, exercising, cooking, for example, you need to find the time to do that from something else that has been occupying your time previously.
choose how often and how much time do you want to dedicate to these activities
and think about the best times (days and times of the day) for these activities
and preferably put them in your calendar or somewhere you can see them
then come up with a list of activities you want to do less and you want to replace
lastly, can you combine some activities e.g. going for a walk with a friend
Did you free up as much time as you wanted to gain for the new activities? (If not, do this part again)
5. Less doing and more being
While you want to focus on doing more of what truly excites you, I also want to encourage you to add more free time to your days. This available time is not meant for doing but being with yourself and your thoughts. This is the time dedicated to being in the moment without feeling a need to be doing something.
How often do you have this feeling that you need to be doing something or something else instead? Our nature and culture force us to think not to waste time. But more often than not, we're thinking that we should be doing something else than what we are doing at the moment. This means we are not being present, engaged in what we are doing and not feeling satisfied or happy about what we are doing. Sounds terrible, doesn't it?
Though we humans are coded in this way, it doesn't mean we need to be living this way. You have all the power to change the way you think and act. And I'm inviting you to include more time for just being (and this requires eliminating other distractions like your phone).
There are a lot of benefits in embracing being. I'm not going through them in detail but here are just a few examples that you can notice once you're having more time for being. For example:
feeling calmer, more resourceful, self-sufficient and present
having more room (mental space) for innovation, creativity and problem solving
having the capacity to look at issues and goals from different perspectives
allowing to come up