Discovering Your Values Can Set The Stage for Making Your Work More Meaningful
While the Bureau of Labor Statistics has reported that nearly four million people have left their jobs as the pandemic has given them some time to reflect on their life goals, this solution is not the answer for everyone. There are people that are happy in their current job environment and the career path they are on. However, this might still be a good time to identify and put into perspective one's values and passions to be able to achieve one's career ambitions.
How can one identity their sense of values, passion, and purpose to accomplish their career goals?
What does finding a renewed sense of purpose look like?
Is your work meaningful and inspiring to you?
When I think of these questions, I can see patterns in my own career journey that give me insight into what jobs have been the most meaningful to me, the environments I worked at, and what inspired me. In short, the patterns I've seen specifically for me, is that the best roles or the best fit in my own journey have been in positions where I've been able to impact the lives of others, to be able to serve and be of support to others, either individually or as a team, toward the greater mission of the organization, and where I've been given increased responsibility, autonomy to be both curious and creative, and the opportunity to maximize my strengths, learn, and grow.
How do we renew our sense of value and find purpose and meaning in the work that we do?
It begins with aligning our values with that of the organization we are working for, finding significance in our work towards a common good, and making a greater impact in the world.
One day when I was younger, I had an "Aha" revelation and realized that although making more money was good and it helped pay the bills, I wanted something bigger and more fulfilling. I began to evaluate where I would really like to work and why. I took time to research organizations and what they stood for. This lead me to work at amazing organizations, such as Rady Children's Hospital and Point Loma Nazarene University (PLNU). Their mission and values was something that I was passionate about and wanted to be a part of, which was to help others and to make a difference in the world.
So, renewing my sense of value in those positions meant, I was there to make a difference in the lives of others, to be a part of a greater mission, and to support my team members toward one common goal that we were all passionate about. I knew the emergency physician's I worked for at Rady's were there because they loved children and they wanted to give children the best care and the greatest possible advantage to thrive. With the same token, I saw PLNU's heart to equip and develop students toward their calling, not only in their career, but in their spiritual journey, and the impact they would make in the world, as well. Being a part of a bigger purpose, mission, and values only makes us stronger human beings.
Steve Jobs said that we need to "find what we love" and psychologists say we need to "develop [our] passion." Personally, I agree with both statements.
When we are children, we are given the freedom to explore, to build, to venture out, and to try new things. We instinctively jump in puddles. We color outside the lines. We do our best to sound out words as we are learning to read. We jump on our bikes, fall, and get back up, and try again. We don't know what we like or what we will be good at until we experiment. Are we going to be good at Legos, building blocks, or Crash Bandicoot? We don't know whether we will like or be better at music or sports or talented at both, whether we will make friends easily, or whether we will shy away from new acquaintances.
You can't develop your passion, unless you discover your passion first by exploring the world around you and what it has to offer. The possibilities are endless!
Marcus Buckingham, author of "Now, Discover Your Strengths," tells a story in "The Speech I Never Intended To Give," about how he grew up with a speech stammer until the age of thirteen when he had to read out loud in chapel, hoping his parents would "save him" from humiliating himself in front of his classmates. However, in his parents not "saving him," they set the stage for Marcus to be at his best. In this speech, he highlights the belief in the uniqueness of the child and making space to allow the child opportunity to try new things. Marcus explains how his day of doom turned into a day of discovering that he was naturally gifted at public speaking. These components of allowing ourselves room to explore and be curious to try new things and figure out what we are naturally good at should follow us throughout our lives. It's vital that we believe in ourselves and provide the room needed to discover who we are and what we are good at.
What are your strengths?
How are you creating space to discover the activities that make you strong?
How are you wired and how do you maximize what gives you energy?
Yon't know until you go out and explore. Try new things. Jump in with both feet. You might surprise yourself and uncover a hidden talent you never knew you had. How else will you find out what you are naturally good at, your full potential, your calling?
Part of the adventure is in the journey toward discovery; what we learn, how we feel, and how we grow in the process of becoming who we are called to be.
How do you leverage your strengths? Build relationships? Convey what's important to you? What is it that makes you extraordinary in what you do? Public speaking? Leading? Customer service? What is it that you do that is your own unique style, that you do better than anyone else?
Trying new things sets the landscape for growth!
When I first became a life coach, I was working with amazing coaches whom I admired. Though, I thought I had to be just like them to be a great coach too. I soon realized that we all have our own unique style, strengths, and passions and that only by leveraging them will we be at our best. So, I developed my own style to become the coach I wanted to be. I saw the talents they had that I didn't have, and I saw the talents I had that they didn't have. That was inspiring to me and helped me to become the best version of myself.
Part of finding out what gives our work meaning, a sense of purpose, and what inspires us is to figure out our strengths and passions and how we can leverage them to bring value to our team and the organization we work for.
Reflect on the areas of your professional and personal life where you can add value. Where can you make a difference? Whose life can you touch today?
I have also been able to refocus by way of setting new goals, pushing myself out of my comfort zone, taking risks by going in a different direction, and trying new things I would have otherwise not ventured. For instance, during one of my performance reviews, I asked my boss what I could do to grow in my position and learn new skills. She recommended signing up for Toastmasters. At first, I felt like Marcus Buckingham; fear and panic. I love talking one-on-one and in small groups, but please don't ask me to speak in front of hundreds of people. I don't think I responded to her recommendation in the moment, but after going home and speaking with my husband, my biggest cheerleader, I decided to go for it. I walked into my b the next day and told her I would sign up for a year of Toastmasters to grow my public speaking skills. And, I did!
Conditions I value that have helped me find purpose and meaning in my work include:
Working at organizations that are making a difference in the world
Working within teams that value strong work ethics as much as I do
Being given responsibility and autonomy makes me feel that I am trusted and appreciated
Opportunities to learn and grow
Leaning into the things that energize me
Maximizing my strengths
Engaging my flow
I value being loyal
Some of the things that have been meaningful and inspiring for me include:
Making sure that new employees feel welcomed and appreciated
Allowing others to share their ideas and contribute to the team conversations
Teaming up with others on projects and events
Serving others with my skills and talents
Building friendships and inviting others into my personal life outside of work
Here are some of the best qualities I've enjoyed in my career journey that have brought meaning and purpose to my life:
Monday meetings with my team
Being the go-to person on "how to" questions and knowing that I helped my coworkers
Monthly lunches, with space to talk to and get to know my coworkers
Wellness programs and challenges with monthly incentives and activities to connect with other like minded people
Regular professional development trainings, both within the organization and outside of the organization, such as joining Toastmasters and attending conferences
Organization wide events and celebrations
Monthly birthday celebrations and events that gave opportunity to get to know others outside of my own team and department
Recognizing and celebrating both individual and team wins
Team bike riding day, which included an early breakfast and ending the day with a late lunch
Collaborating on projects and activities that brought a sense of bonding toward a common good
Volunteering with my coworkers outside of work, such as creating a team in support of The American Cancer Society, Relay for Life
Being a mentor
Showing empathy when people were hurting either physically or emotionally
In short, I find meaning in my work through making the world a better place.
Where do you find meaning in the work that you do?
What are you invigorated by?
Where can you be more curious?
What energizes you, inspires you, gives you a sense of purpose?
Refocusing my work has helped me find purpose in what I do that contributes to the mission of the organization so that together, as a team and as an organization, we can make a greater impact in the world.
"Focusing on strengths is the surest way to greater job satisfaction, team performance
and organizational excellence." Marcus Buckingham
Have faith in who God created you to be! Believe in yourself. See your potential. Be open to possibilities. Seize opportunities. Grow where you're planted.
"Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, and not for men." Colossians 3:23