Finding Fulfillment: The Importance Of Priority Values In Your Career Arc

Written by on October 13, 2015

Among the professional choices we make in life, few are more important than those that influence the career path we take. For most people, a career has life-defining meaning and acts as a source of professional and personal frustration or satisfaction. Feeling satisfied in any given career is often tied to how an individual’s personal values align with their responsibilities. Personal beliefs are the definition of what matters most to a person and these values determine how well a number of potential career paths suit that person.

Shedding Light On One’s Values Through Reflection

Given the importance of personal beliefs in determining fit, it is surprising that many people never concretely recognize their core belief system and work ethic. Frequently, these beliefs only surface to the person’s consciousness when some sort of friction makes him or her realize that there is a conflict of values.

To avoid this scenario, individuals – employees and their leaders alike – must reflect on what motivates them, scares them, heightens their focus, and what sorts of paths could lead them to fulfillment. Recognizing decision patterns over time is one way to start identifying core beliefs. Once that process has brought some insight, they can take the driver’s seat – they can assume control of their career path by consciously making decisions that will enable them to live and work in accordance with their internal belief set.

Responding To Change: Keep A Pulse On Evolving Values

It’s easy to think of values as permanent guidelines someone holds on to, but the reality is that values are malleable, not static. Over the course of a life and a career, new priorities emerge and core beliefs shift. What might have been paramount at one stage in life is an afterthought in another. These changes in values are often a function of emerging responsibilities – at home and at the office. Just as self-awareness can lead to uncovering internal belief systems, it can also help individuals monitor their changing values and the correlation to their decision making choices. Once they understand what brings them fulfillment and why, then they can pursue career opportunities that match their values.

The common theme across all situations is self-awareness. We must understand our goals, aspirations and motivations clearly before we can make an educated decision about which career options to pursue. Being proactive in searching out the truth about oneself unlocks the potential for self-determining action in the workplace. Career success and personal fulfillment are more likely to follow the individual who is taking enlightened steps based on a conscious understanding of what is most important to them and why. In this case, as in so many others, a piece of ancient Greek wisdom holds true: it is important to “Know Thyself”.