Search For A Job? Identify Your Personal Values First

Personal values

A client wants me to train and coach his company staff. My response was, “seriously?”

“Why?” He asked.

“Some of your staff may resign after the training and coaching.”

He thought for awhile. Then smiled. “That’s good.” And I got the contract.

Organizations hire me to motivate and inspire their staff to increase productivity, but what they may get is employees leaving. Now which organization will dare to hire me?

We are facing one issue here. An issue that create unhappiness in work. An issue that can cause frustration in life regardless of the number of jobs changed. This issue is the clashes of personal values and job requirements. But why? Aren’t you always looking for a job that you love?

No! Actually you may think that you love the new job, but deep inside you don’t. Or you probably look for a job that you are trained. Or you look for a job that pays you well. Or you look for a job that provides you some benefits that you like. Ask anyone, “why do you have this job?” The answer most likely are not very inspiring.

Since young, you’ve been taught to solve problems and complete tasks. The school prepared you for a job. You are competent to solve problems for the organization that you work for and to complete the tasks that you superiors delegate to you.

But you weren’t being taught about yourself, were you? You were seldom asked to think for yourself. You weren’t asked to reflect and identify your personal values. You were being taught to place the unimportant things as priority. So, the world is filled with unhappy people in the wrong job.

In the work that I do, clients come with their work challenges. After much probing, they discover their values clashes with the job or the organization culture. Leaving may not be a bad thing since it can save the organization’s resources in training the wrong person.

One client who worked in a sales position had the personal values of human connection and integrity. He chooses sales because it fulfills his need of human connection. Shortly, he discovers that some of the organization little practices are out of the line. This clashes strongly with his value of integrity. He was struggling very hard when he came to me. After a month, he left the organization.

Two of my personal value are freedom and speed. So I find it tough to work in big organization that is going to restrict me with rules and regulations. Whenever I thought of working in a corporation, my friend, headache will visit. I knew this since 2000 when I was still working in an organization. I knew that one day, I’m going to run a business. It happened in 2003 when finally I couldn’t take on more restriction.

If you have been moving from job to job unsatisfactory, you really have to take a look at your personal values.

Identifying Your Personal Values

First of all, what is personal values?

Personal values are things that you believe that are important to you when live and work. If your daily living matches your values, you are happy, life will be in flow.

It’s important to identify your values as you can make better decisions, be happier and truly enjoy your daily life.


Step 1: What Do You Want To Become?

  1. Recall your childhood ambitions. List all of them down.
  2. Place one – three words beside each ambition that describe why you like that ambition.

For me,

  • Policeman – thrilling, justice
  • Scientist – discovery
  • soccer player – fun, variety


Step 2: What Are Your Hobby?

  1. Recall your childhood hobby.
  2. Just like Step 1, place a word beside each hobby that describe why you like that hobby.

For me,

  • Collecting stamps – variety, achievement
  • Solving puzzles – challenging
  • imagine stories – limitless

Step 3: What Makes You Proud

  1. Recall the times that you were proud from young till your adulthood.
  2. Again place a word beside each proud moment that describe why you had that feeling.

For me,

  • Winning in competition – Recognition
  • Doing an extra-ordinary stunt in sports – Recognition
  • Having my father in a lunch in Spirit of Enterprise 2005 Award presentation – approval
  • Closing my first 5-figure deal – achievement

Step 4: When Are You Most Satisfied

  1. Recall the times that your needs are fulfilled.
  2. For the last time, place a word beside each satisfied moment that describe why you had that feeling.

For me,

  • Conducted the first training in 2003 – contribution
  • Enrolled a good number of participants to a US program – achievement
  • Bringing parents to meal – connection
  • Chill out with friends – fun
  • Deep conversation – connection

Step 5: Reaffirming The Words

Now you have a list of words. Single out the duplicate words. These are your top priority on your values list.Eg. I have Fun showed up twice, Variety showed up thrice.

Next you check words that are similar. Group them up and give it a word that summarizes this group. Eg. I grouped Thrilling, Variety, Discovery as ADVENTUROUS.

Now you can check those words that appear only once. Do these words resonant with you? If any of these words don’t resonate with you, cancel it from your list.

Now, you successfully identify your personal values.

One last thing. This process works more effective when someone is asking you the questions. This person can support you to get to your truth. Because we all have a set of model answer for some questions. This person can help you get past the model answer by probing more if he/she feels you are not at your truth yet.

Now with your values, what kind of job do you like to take on?

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