Key to career success – follow your values

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core-values-updated-06-26-13[1]According to Wikipedia, “Values can be defined as broad preferences concerning appropriate courses of action or outcomes. As such, values reflect a person’s sense of right and wrong or what “ought” to be. “Equal rights for all”, “Excellence deserves admiration”, and “People should be treated with respect and dignity” are representative of values.

Values tend to influence attitudes and behaviour”.

In other words, values are the things that we believe in and which we think are important; they are things we feel very strongly about. Everyone is unique and has their own set of values which are formed in a variety of ways through our life experiences, our feelings and our families.  Your career values can be linked to things like recognition, achievement, creativity, contribution, job security, money, structure, flexibility, excitement, helping others, delivering a quality service, providing value for money, independence or variety for example. However, these values are equally applicable if you have your own business.

I recently spent time helping a client to identify his values as he was trying to figure out where his next career step would take him. He found the process interesting and commented on how lucky I was to know all this and to always be able to follow my values; but the way he phrased it made me think,

“Am I really working towards my values?”

One of my more demanding corporate clients has been putting a lot of pressure on me to take on more work and, as usual, I’d been having a difficult time saying “no” and it became clear to me that perhaps I wasn’t following my values any more.

The answer!

My answer was to go back to basics and re-assess why I had started my business in the first place, what was important to me about how I run my business and the results I want to achieve. This was a really eye opening experience – it was interesting to see how easy it is to get so caught up in day to day work that you forget why you are doing it in the first place!

I then made an appointment with this particular corporate client and explained to them that unless things changed, I would have to give notice to terminate our agreement.

I expected that to be the end of our relationship however I couldn’t have been more wrong! They have bent over backwards to help me so that I can continue to help them as and when possible.

Perhaps I was just lucky but I do believe that it is important to re-assess that your current job enables you to stick to what is important to you and follow your values. This is also a great tool to help you figure out what the right area of work is for you and to assist in preparing for annual appraisals at work to make sure that your work is meeting your needs.

To determine what your values are, try answering some of the questions below:

  • What do you most want to achieve this year?
  • If you won the lottery what would you do?
  • What things do you value most about yourself?
  • What is your greatest achievement so far?
  • What is the possession you value the most?
  • If you could have one wish, what would it be?

Then list the 10 things that you believe are most important to you in a career and match this list to a previous job (preferably one that you enjoyed), your current job and the job that you think you would like to have. The results should give you an indication as to whether any of these jobs meet with your values and being aware of what we value in our lives is important because if you have a job that supports your value system i.e. it is in-line with your core beliefs and values; it is more likely to motivate you than a job which does not meet with your values.

I’m lucky; my current job now meets with my values. Does yours?


© Anne Galloway

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Anne Galloway is the Careers Consultant for those who want to put the fun and passion back into their working week. Find out how Anne can help you along your path to career success at



I am a Certified Advanced Resume Writer, Employment Interview Consultant, and Career Coach and it is my aim to help ambitious and motivated people like you become fully empowered to get the job you want.