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Values Versus Goals – know the difference

Deep down inside, what is important to you? What do you want your life to stand for? How do you want to show up Professionally?  These are your Values.

Values are our heart’s deepest desires for the way we want to interact with and relate to the world, other people, and ourselves. They are leading principles that can guide us and motivate us as we move through life. Therefore, it’s quite useful to know what they are!

Values Versus Goals

Values are not the same as goals. Values are our guide to who we want to be, they are the things that are truly important to us once we strip it all back. Values are an ongoing process by which we wish to live by and it’s only when we are living in honour of our values that we feel satisfaction deep inside. For example, if you want to be a compassionate, caring, and supportive person, that is a value – an ongoing process. Therefore, if you stop being compassionate, caring, and supportive; you are no longer living by that value.

In contrast, Goals can be achieved or ‘crossed off’. If you want a better job, that’s a goal. Once you’ve got it – goal achieved.  Even if you start treating your job with complacency six months later, you have still achieved that goal.  However, if you want to fully apply yourself at work, well that’s a value – an ongoing process.

Not everyone has the same values and there is no such thing as ‘right values’ or ‘wrong values’.  It’s a bit like our taste in coffee if you prefer a flat white and I prefer a mocha that doesn’t mean that my taste in coffee is right and yours is wrong, it simply means we have different tastes, and similarly we may have different values.

Do you know yours?

Take some time to work out what is truly important to you, and what are you values versus goals. Don’t short change the process by listing all the obvious things people would expect you to list (the right values) but rather, think about what you would like people to say about you 10 years from now?  Who do you want to be? What areas of your life have you given up or missed out on for the lack of willingness?

Here are some examples that might help with the ideas;

  • Adventure: to actively seek, create or explore novel or stimulating experiences
  • Courage: To be courageous or brave; to persist in the face of fear, threat, or difficulty.
  • Freedom: To live freely; to choose how I live and behave.
  • Humility: To be humble or modest; let my achievements speak for themselves
  • Responsibility: To be responsible and accountable for my actions.
  • Open-Mindedness: To think things through, see things from other’s point of view, and weigh the evidence fairly.
  • Self-development: To keep growing, advancing, or improving my knowledge, skill, character, or life experience.

If you need some further prompting, I have a more complete list so just make contact and I’m happy to send it to you. 

Using Values to guide Action

Once you have your personalised list, try narrowing it down to 3 key values and then think about how you are going to live those values in your everyday life – Keep it simple and achievable and get specific so you can measure very real actionable steps.  For example, maybe your value is to be open and honest and you have identified that you want to have a better relationship with your work colleague – how will you measure that?   “Have I tried to be open and honest in this situation”? or “Will this action take me closer or further away from my value of having a better relationship with my work colleague”?

Once you know your values it then becomes easier to guide your behaviour and your actions simply by reflecting on whether these daily choices are taking you closer or further away from living your values and being the person that you want to be.  When we are living in alignment with our values, we feel enriched and satisfied. We become more resilient with a greater sense of living a full and meaningful life, so why not give it a try!  I would love to hear how identifying your values has helped guide your daily actions. 

Enjoy the journey.

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