Knowing Your Own Values 2011

Knowing Your Own
Values and Careers
 We believe one of the key pieces
of information needed for a job
transition is a clear understanding
of what is most important to youie your values
 Getting a job that is consistent
with your core values will likely
result in a happy and successful
long term situation-otherwise you
will be unhappy and can only
have limited success
What are Your Values?
• For the purposes of this workshop our
definition of values is “core
psychological driving needs or
priorities in life”
• All behavior is driven by values
• Values tend to be fairly basic and
simple and can usually be expressed in
one or two words-if it is more than that
it is usually a story or a description of a
• Success in life: Being in the process
of creating that which is most
important to you-thus you can’t really
be successful without knowing your
Values Clarification
• Most people are not very clear about
their values even though they are
usually obvious when we look at their
• Being clear about what our values are
allows us to make good choices about
important matters such as work and
choice of partners etc.
• We typically have many values but it is
most useful to be conscious of our top
5-7 values-We need to know them in
some useful order of priority
• Values tend to be formed fairly young
and usually don’t change much over
the course of our lives-what does
change is the way these values are met
or sometimes the priority can shift
slightly as we age
• For example a person that values
prestige and attention will likely have
the flashiest bike in grade three, the
hottest BMW after becoming a partner
in a prestigious firm, and the coolest
scooter in the old folks home-nothing
has changed except the form in which
the value manifests itself
 You will get your core values met
positively or negatively and
whether or not you are conscious
of them or not-you are
automatically programmed to
seek them out
 If you need stimulation,
excitement and variety in your life
you will create them-these can be
created constructively(being a
prosecutor) or
destructively(robbing banks)
• Values can manifest in what
appear, on the surface level, to be
quite different behaviors
• I value a sense of freedom and so
bought a large boat and enjoyed
the openness of the ocean on
weekends-after a number of years
the work of cleaning the bottom,
endless repairs and cost and
boredom with boating I sold the
boat to regain my sense of
• People tend to have trouble
knowing their values for a number
of reasons
• They confuse “ideal self” values
with their “authentic self” valuesyour “ideal self” adopts the values
of your family and culture as you
grow up usually without
questioning them much-I call
these values “should values”
People are all unique and may or
may not actually have these as
• Simply asking people about their
values usually doesn’t work since you
will always get “should” values mixed
in with authentic values
• An easy way to tell is how that person
actually behaves in life if they say “I
value my health” but they are
overweight, smoke and out of shape
this is a “should or ideal self” value not
a real one for them-or it simply isn’t
one of sufficient importance for them
to act on
• Living your life congruent with your
values results in happiness-actually it is
a byproduct of this congruence!!
• My top 5 values are beauty,
compassion, teaching and learning,
inner peace and personal and spiritual
growth-almost everything I do involves
these values-my job at LAP is very
consistent with these values as well as
my friendships and social activities-this
results in a stress free happy life
• Once you are aware of your top values
you can use this information for
decision making
Figuring out your Values
• We are going to do an exercise
based on your life experiences or
stories and from that deduce your
own values-this involves a boiling
down or a questioning of why you
do what you do-it can be tricky
• Money is not a value-what value
to you is the money? Being happy
is not a value-it is a byproduct of
the way you live your life
Manifesting Values
• Your values will manifest or show up
in your life consciously or
unconsciously and interestinglyproductively or unproductively
• For example if you value excitement in
your life this can be created by doing
trials or prosecuting or by naked
bungee jumping
• I have some need for excitement and if
it is not met I create it unconsciouslyusually by locking my keys in my caroften while running at a gas station
Manifesting Values
• The most common problem is living
your life according to someone else's
values (i.e. parents or family) Another
common problem is not being clear
about the importance of core values to
you-you will always have a sense of
un-fulfillment or that something is
“missing in your life”
• If you are out of touch with your
values what is missing from your life is
Living your life according to
your values
• Once you are aware of your values the
question is: Are you living your life in
accordance with those values? If you
value friendships and physical activity
how much of your time do you actually
do those things? Are you pursuing
money and prestige when these things
really don’t mean that much to you?
• Almost all lawyers want to be helpersDo you value helping poor people get
justice but actually work in a firm that
helps rich people get richer? You can
create ethical incongruence and it will
manifest as unhappiness
Values Indicators
• Most people have lots of values and various
tests can raise your awareness of your own
• One way is to simply rate the importance on a
list of values, in other words scaling from 110-the problem with this method is that “ideal
self” or “should have" values can creep in
• Another way is to look at your life and try
and deduce values from your behaviors-this
tends to be more accurate but involves some
detective work since it is not often easy to
deduce why you did what you did -i.e. what
values were in play when you went to law
school?-accomplishment, intellectual
challenge, curiosity, sense of achieving
something difficult, prestige, power, wanting
to help others etc.
Values Indicators
• After doing these tests we are trying to
get to our top 5 values-this is a tough
process and may take several attempts
• Share your vignettes and see what
other people see as your values-did you
miss some?
• Don’t fret about getting anything
perfectly right-we are looking for your
best effort not the right answer (park
your desire for perfection)
• Stand up and recite your core values to
the group

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