Monday, April 11, 2011

What is your essence?

When most people think about what they want out of a job, they immediately think about practical concerns: How much money am I going to make? What are the benefits offered? Am I qualified for the position? And the list goes on.

What we rarely stop to think about and articulate is if a job will nurture and support our essence, which is composed of our core values. There are no "right" or "wrong" core values. They are whatever makes you who you are and what you find important (e.g., camaraderie, health, personal development, personal fitness, respect, honestly, team work, fun, etc.).

If you do not feel satisfied or fulfilled in your current position, your job or company might infringe on one or more of your core values, thereby making you feel unsettled and anxious. Having this feeling day in and day out, wears on you and affects other aspects of your life. This is not in an environment that will allow you to attain a happy and fulfilling career or life.

I believe this also applies to relationships. If there are people in your life whose actions violate your core values, it might be best to minimize contact with them to enable you to have more time to spend with people who will help you develop and explore whatever it is that you value.

If you make it a priority to constantly seek out jobs and people who support and enhance your values and who will influence your life in a constructive and positive way, you are more likely to live a healthier and happier life.

How do you figure out what your core values are?
Think about and then describe to a friend a time when you felt completely happy and fulfilled. Spend about two minutes describing as much as you can about the event or period in your life. Once you finish, have your friend reflect back to you what values they picked up on.

This exercise is interesting because you will find that your friend will probably point out something you thought was assumed to be normal for everyone, when in fact, it is not.

If you are feeling uncertain about your life or career, I would recommend a professional life and career coach, such as Jung Yoo at Jung Yoo Associates, whose two-hour group session I attended inspired this post. I also encourage you to read Seth Godin's Poke the Box, which emphasizes the importance of initiating.

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