Using Values to Drive Professional Growth

September 1, 2022

Posted by Lai Han Sam (Ms), PCC

When I key in the word “values” into Google a search, the online dictionary run by Oxford Languages informs me of its different definitions. This one is the one that I was looking for.

“Principles or standards of behavior; one's judgement of what is important in life.”

Most of our values comes from observing our parents and our family of origin. And our family values generally are influenced by the social and cultural trends in that moment in time. New life experiences may also inform and change values that we previously held.

They are drivers of how we live our lives, how we make important decisions, and how we manage our relationships. Like a guiding compass, values can determine our growth path and our development as a person. Values are intrinsic to us, and everyone lives by a different set of values. They are not immediately noticeable, but they are present in everything we do, say or be. Values also help us to find direction, purpose and meaning in our lives.

It is, therefore, extremely important to be on a professional path that is aligned with our values. Often, when we feel lost in their professional path, we either don’t know or have forgotten our values. As a result of the environment and the people we are in touch with, we may sometimes start to take on others’ values instead.

One of my clients shared how she was offered a promotion which will allow her to become the manager of a small team. When she shared with the people around her, everyone said how great an opportunity that was and how she must take it to advance in her career. Only then she can be happy and have financial security. She was about to take on the promotion when she noticed a discomfort in her heart. There was a nagging feeling that this was not her path.

When she discovered her top value of Mastery during one of our sessions, she realized deeply how she does not want the promotion. How she really wants to live her life was to gain mastery in a field of her interest and pursue excellence in her craft. Within 6 months of discovering that, she quit her job and started to pursue her own path. She is extremely happy and excited to be doing this. She knew she made the right decision.

Another client shared how within months of working with a new company, she knew she had made the wrong choice to join them. This was because her top value of Making a Difference was not just unexpressed, in fact, the work that is related to this company was damaging the environment in a big way. This situation was in direct conflict to her top value. She then decided to leave the company. She later found another role that was aligned with her values, makes use of her skills and experience, and truly make a difference in the lives of the people she serves.

This is another example of how an understanding of your true values can help you make a sound professional decision that can change your life.

That joy which comes with doing work that is aligned with your values is unparalleled. No matter how hard the work is, you are always able to overcome and grow, thus giving you tremendous satisfaction and fulfilment. You are always excited to jump out of bed and it fills you with energy to do this work!

Do you know the values that are driving your life? Here’s a quick exercise to help you to start discerning your values.

1. When were times you were happiest? What were you doing and why were you so happy?

2. Were there times you felt proud of yourself? Why were you so proud?

3. Lastly, when you felt really fulfilled and content, what desire or need did you satisfy?

May you find your way to a values-driven life!

Speak to one of our coaches about how you can achieve this: