Know what you value before changing careers

Let your values be your compass when making life changing career decisions.

Let your values be your compass when making life changing career decisions.

Values [noun] – Principles or standards of behaviour; one's judgement of what is important in life.  Oxford dictionary

By the time we reach mid-life, many people feel they inherently know what their values are. But surprisingly few do.

My career coaching clients inevitably have really good insights when we spend time exploring their values because they realise they hadn’t really stopped to think about them before, and the exercise brings into sharp focus what really matters to them.

Values describe how we want to show up in life and point to what’s really important to us, so they are a pretty crucial part of the puzzle when contemplating career changes.

The risk, if you are not clear about these things, is that you will move from one dissatisfying situation to another (see Are you following your dream or drifting into a nightmare?)

It’s even more important if you are considering self employment or consulting.

Why? Because in that case, you are the business and the brand. Everything hinges on you. And if you are not clear about what’s important to you, you could end up attracting clients you don’t care about, and putting in long hours doing work you don’t want to do.

Which sort of defeats the purpose of being your own boss!

Your values need to be your guiding compass when it comes to making life-changing decisions. So if you are thinking about a career change or starting your own business and are not clear about your values, seek out some help to clarify what’s important to you. It could be the best thing you can do for your future self!

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About the author: Lucy Sanderson-Gammon, MBA, is a Wellington-based career coach helping mid-career professionals who have fallen out of love with their jobs to find meaningful work. Find out more about Lucy's coaching services here.