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Check In With Your Values

For many of us who spent years in one or two organizations, career development may be intertwined with career management, meaning, what the organization defines as a career path for someone in a specific role. It is great when organizations have clear roles and career paths so that people know what to expect. It helps team members feel engaged and invested in the organization and that the organization invests in them.


However, what happens when an individual takes charge and practices career development, when they decide to forge a path for themselves independent of an organization’s framework?


A career change—whether to a new organization, role, path, or even a break—can feel daunting. It takes courage. Sometimes the changes, such as in the case of a layoff, may feel like something that happened to us, out of our control. In other cases, we may feel an awakening, a pull to do something different. Whatever the trigger, there is a need to move forward. Doing so with intention can help us self-lead in the transition toward where we want to be, and what sings to our hearts.


Awareness and integration of one’s values, work values, and strengths empowers us to own what is important and make sound professional and personal decisions, such as in professional and career development. This work calls for introspection and thoughtful self-interrogation, to make sense of what rings true to us.


  • Values: my core beliefs as a human, not just related to work

  • Work values: what is most important for me in a job/work, at this point in my life

  • Strengths: what I’m great at


The intersection of these three serves as a guide for informed decision-making, a compass. Exploring what’s next? Creating an individual development plan? Thinking about a career change? Considering a tradeoff in the short run for the long run? Whatever the decision, people feel more confident and at peace when moving with integrity to what is most important to them.


The process of exploring and clarifying our values, work values, and strengths should be done with a high degree of empathy and self-compassion. Empathy might come in the form of working with a mentor or coach to help with processing through the discovery. Self-compassion might look like having patience with ourselves and giving ourselves room to explore and clarify without judgment.


Identify your values, work values, and strengths. This is your compass to lead you to meaningful decisions that echo what matters most and amplify your growth. Then you will have greater confidence to craft your professional identity and career development.

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