Professional Fulfillment Starts with Understanding Your Values

November 30, 2016 Yoseph West

A compelling vision for your business will guide its growth. But before you create that vision you need to first understand what matters most to you. This means defining your values and your vision for your future. Your values are your internal compass when it comes to making decisions. A clear personal vision gives you clarity about the life you are trying to build. Together, they provide the context for your vision for your business.

Here’s how great advisors clarify their personal values and vision.

Step 1: Create a draft list of values

Values are often thought of as empty words. But the reality is they have nothing to do with what you say. Your values are defined by how you spend your time and money. For example you may know somebody who claims to value respect for others. And yet, they are ten minutes late for every meeting. Always with a good reason. A meeting ran late. Traffic was bad. The reality is, they didn’t cut that meeting short or leave more time for the trip. Those choices demonstrate where their values truly lie.

To determine your core personal values list all the values you can think of that are relevant to you. Mark each one as not important, somewhat important, important or very important to you. The ones that you ranked as very important are your draft list of core values. These are the traits that you think guide your decision-making and behavior.

Step 2: Test your values against reality

To check whether your listed values are real, test them against your actual behaviors. For each of your core values, list examples of decisions you have made consistent with that value.  Try to think of time when you were forced to choose between that value and another competing one. For instance a time when you chose to be kind rather than correct.

Think about important moments in your life. The times you remember, either because you felt good about them afterwards. Or perhaps because you later felt you could have done better. These are the moments when your core personal values are exposed. Consider that we are often defined by what or who we say no to. Think of times when you have had to say no. What personal values did your choice reveal?

Also consider the opposite type of decision. Can you think of any counter-examples for each of the core values? Times when you chose something contrary to that value? If so, you may need to strike that value from your core list.

Step 3: Define your personal vision

Your personal vision describes the life you want to build. To craft your personal vision imagine yourself ten years from now. Paint a picture of what your day looks like. Consider family, where you live, what you work at and how that looks. How much time do you spend with family, at work, or vacationing? Are you happy to make a good living and keep your stress levels low? Or do you see yourself running a large business with many employees and clients? Is it possible you are retired completely? Consider all the things that are important to you. Don’t just focus on your career.

Wrap up

Your values and vision are your roadmap to success. Your values guide you in each decision you will be faced with. Your personal vision defines the life you want to build. It sets you up to create your vision for your business. One that is aligned with the things that are really important to you. It makes that vision more achievable.

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