ngagement. We all aspire to wake up before our morning alarm signals the start of our day; excited about the opportunity to go to work and perform a job that we are passionate about for a company who’s mission we believe in. Unfortunately, for a large majority of us, this is not our reality. Hitting the snooze button until the last possible moment, slamming enough caffeine to make it through the morning meetings, and keeping our unread messages above the fold, while managing our boss’ unrealistic expectations is a closer depiction of our weekday. This lack of engagement and conviction for the work we spend a majority of the day doing leaves us vulnerable to the latest video trending on YouTube, reviewing the snapshots of those we follow on Instagram, and counting down the hours until we can pour ourselves a glass of Pinot.
I’m here to tell you that the power to change this reality lies within you. Regardless of the professional environment, you have the ability to find meaning in your work and actively contribute to the vision of your employer. This power begins with having a clear understanding of your values and who you are at your best. Acting within our values allows us to be congruent and authentic. Being true to ourselves not only increases our own personal well-being but it also promotes increased trust and deeper connections with those we interact with. It is also this authenticity that helps to fuel our engagement and work satisfaction.
Follow the five steps below to uncover the values that are driving you and work more authentically.
- What is driving you– Just as the north star is a guiding light for travelers, knowing our values helps to provide us direction and guidance. A quick search online will lead you to a variety of exercises designed to help you identify your core values, but a simple method is to reflect on what mission really drove you when you started your career. And then identify what the values were that promoted that mission.
- Define your values- Once you have identified your values, it is important to go a step deeper and create the individual definition that you apply to that value. Our life experiences and cultural background can significantly impact the meaning that we give to a particular value, so it is important to be as clear as possible. If you want to take this even further- think about specific behaviors or actions that you engage in regularly that exemplify your values.
- Who you are at your best- We all have unique strengths and talents that are inherent when we are at our best and that we can draw upon during times of adversity. To identify these strengths, think about what you’re doing when you feel most energized or when your work feels less like something you have to do and more of what you want to do.
- Identify your organization’s values– Now that you’re armed with the values that drive you and the activities that give you energy, explore the values of the organization you work with. While most companies have a published set of values that you can start with, the best examples of their values in action can be seen through their charitable or philanthropic efforts or by asking the leadership for examples of the organization living its values.
- Alignment– After this period of exploration, determine where your personal values and the organization’s values are in alignment or at least where you share similar values. If, at first glance, there appears to be a disconnect, don’t update your resume just yet. Take the time to identify ways that you can bring your values into the daily activities that you perform at work. Also, have a conversation with your supervisor about ways that you can utilize your unique strengths to have even more impact in your current role.
These steps are simple but not easy. It will take time and a commitment to reflection, but I can say with certainty that your increased levels of self-awareness will serve you well in a variety of domains. Also, the alignment of personal and corporate values will provide you with a more meaningful work experience and contribute to a more engaging and satisfying professional and personal life.
If you’re looking for easy to implement strategies to improve your performance on topics ranging from leadership, developing stronger relationships, effective communication, sport performance, and more, I invite you to subscribe to my Performance Blueprint-Weekly program where I will send you weekly nuggets via email with specific actions you can take immediately. SUBSCRIBE HERE