Dr Woody’s Blog

Career Planning for Uncertain Times

The YOU Plan: Start With Values!!!

Posted by drwoody on August 2, 2010

As I mentioned in my first blog post, any good career plan starts with introspection. You have to know yourself, before you can effectively pick a direction, market yourself, and get back on track. As a coach trained in the field of organizational psychology, I am a big believer in introspection as a starting point. All too often, I come across transitioning professionals who have jumped out ahead of themselves only to outrun their coverage. If you want to stand out from the herd, you are going to have to be thoughtful and deliberate in your actions. This requires knowing yourself first.

When it comes to knowing yourself, you have to start with values. The values you espouse are vital to the choices you make and ultimately dictate the way you live. Values can be thought of as the principals you hold near and dear. Your values are the code you live by. They are the rules you follow and the ethics you adhere to when dealing with others.

The following is an excerpt from my upcoming book The YOU Plan:

“Who you are drives how you work, play, live, and ultimately shine. Your experiences, upbringing, and culture have acted to shape the person you have become and the values you espouse. The values you espouse ultimately influence the decisions you make and the path you choose to follow. Your values are the lens you view the world through… There is no doubt that our personal values play a critical role in the choices we make and the careers we pursue. Yet, the unfortunate reality is that most of us can’t articulate our values. Often this leads us to making bad decisions. These bad decisions tend to land us on career paths that aren’t truly fulfilling and sometimes, even toxic.”

When resetting your career focus and re-engaging in your career journey, you have to be mindful of how your values play into your decisions. Every organization has its own unique culture driven by a set of core values. It’s up to you to understand what these values are and determine how well they match with yours. However, before you can do this you must be sure to have a good handle on your values.

So, how do you assess your values? Doing a quick web search for values checklists will provide a lot of results. I also have a values checklist in my book. The following is an on-line values assessment:

http://www.career-test.biz/values_assessment.htm

The key to using any adjective checklist effectively is taking the time to narrow down your values to your top five. This is a much tougher challenge than it seems because it requires making tough choices. Whenever I have taken groups through values exercises they always struggle with this, so take your time.

Regardless of the checklist you use, you really need to ask yourself if the values you chose are really yours. A good way to test whether or not you truly value something is to ask yourself the following questions:

• Are you willing to fight for it?
• Are you willing to sacrifice for it?
• Are you willing to pay for?

Any good career plan starts with introspection. A critical component to the introspective process is assessing values. Keep in mind, values are a major driver in decision making. We are in uncertain times and successfully navigating the New Economy will require using your values as a compass. When it comes to stepping back and creating a YOU Plan, be sure to start with assessing your values.

Good luck,

Dr. Woody (www.DrWoody.com)

To learn more about Dr. Woody and his new book The YOU Plan, check out http://www.TheYouPlan.com

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