Do you dream about achieving a successful career? If your career feels stuck, the concept of being happy and successful might seem illusive. Do you wonder if a successful career is even possible? Or if it’s just something that happens to other people?
Recently I had the privilege of hearing Brian Cox (yes Logan Roy himself) in conversation at the Melbourne Writer’s Festival. Cox is a fascinating storyteller and a brutally candid speaker. He holds bold opinions and he’s not shy about sharing them.
What captured my attention most though was his gratitude of finding his calling when he “fell into” his first theatre job at the tender age of fourteen. He describes it as a “great relief” and a “homecoming”. He acknowledges how lucky he is to have recognised, what he refers to as, “his bliss” so early. And, he encourages everyone to “follow your bliss”.
Whether you refer to it as your “reason for doing”, your “why”, your purpose, or your calling… it’s so, so important to get clear about what matters most to you when you consider your working life.
And the active word is “you”. What matters most to you. Not what you think should matter and not what others tell you should be important… but those things you prioritise over everything else.
The path to a meaningful and successful career is an inside job
The things that matter most to you are known as your “values”. Your values inform and guide your life – what you think, say and do. They’re the standards by which you evaluate everything.
While we all value many things, when push comes to shove there’s always just a small handful of things that are truly important to you. Uncovering exactly what your values are and then structuring your career to align with them is, quite literally, life changing.
If you’re working at odds with your values, you’re going to feel unhappy with who you are, constantly dissatisfied, and likely to be in conflict with those around you. These feelings may creep into and affect every area of your life. It’ll impact your self-confidence and cause you to second guess yourself at every turn.
You spend way too much of your life working to not enjoy what you do. If you’re stuck, frustrated or fed up, and you’re not doing anything about it, you’re doing yourself, and those who care about and rely on you, such a disservice.
Life is too damn short to not prioritise achieving a successful career. Imagine feeling lit up and inspired by what you do every day instead?
A successful career is one that’s aligned with your values
By identifying your values and proactively aligning your career to your values will unlock these amazing benefits –
1. You’ll MAKE BETTER DECISIONS
When you understand what’s most important for you, you’re better prepared to assess and make confident choices about the opportunities that come up. If you value variety, working in a role with a daily routine might not be for you. If you value professional status, an organisation with a flat structure will not be a great fit. Your values are your guideposts when it comes to making decisions about what’s best for you.
2. Your PRIORITIES will become clear
What makes you happy and satisfied in your work? It might surprise you to know the answer to this is not “more money”! When the size of your salary is your only priority, you’re setting yourself up for a continuing cycle of frustration. Instead, focussing on the aspects of work that are even more important to you than money, will ensure you remain inspired and motivated by what you do. And you’ll be best placed to find an employer who aligns with your values.
3. You’ll ENJOY WHAT YOU DO
If your working life is out of sync with your values you’ll end up somewhere between feeling a general sense of discomfort and suffering professional stress leading to burnout. When you’re in a role that’s the right fit for you, work satisfaction increases exponentially. When your workplace aligns with what you believe in and the work you do feels meaningful, you can’t help but enjoy what you do.
4. You’ll feel confident
There’s nothing better than feeling confident in the work you do. Being self-confident allows you to perform your best when looking for roles and once you’re in the workplace. Understanding exactly who you are and feeling certainty in the decisions you’re making banishes that nagging sense of “not belonging”. Feeling confident is like activating your super-powers – you’re able to solve problems, overcome obstacles and present yourself in a way that’s authentic and engaging.
5. You’ll SET A POSITIVE EXAMPLE FOR OTHERS
When you do something inspirational, like working in a way that works for you, those watching on think, “if they can do that, why can’t I?”. And in doing so, focussing on and fulfilling your potential becomes the least selfish thing you can do. Courage is contagious… how great would it feel to show those around you that you can be brave, you’re able to do difficult things, you can learn from making mistakes and trying again, and life is so much more interesting in doing so.
Knowing your values and exactly what they mean for you should not be a mystery. And they’re often what’s right in front of you! Are you feeling stuck or unfulfilled in your current role or career? If you need help to achieve career success that’s aligned with your values, I’d love to help you work it out.