I recently decided to review my values and really get clear about how I want them to show up in my career and business. Previously, I have tried to separate out my personal values and business values but since my business is me, I decided to define my values in a way that they can work cohesively across all areas of my life. I used the process I show you in my free e-book, How to Define Your Purpose, Vision and Values (Then Use Them to Craft Your Perfect Career!) and in this post I thought I would explain each of the values I have chosen and how I make sure I am honouring them in my career and business. Hopefully this will provide you with some inspiration for choosing and defining your own values and finding ways to weave them into your work.
Before I get started, I want to own up to the fact that I have cheated a little. In my e-book, I encourage you to whittle the number of your core values down to four or five in total. As you go through this post, you will see that I have landed on eight. To be honest, I tried to cull this list, but given that I expect these values to serve me in life, career and my business, and that it felt completely wrong to ditch any of these principles, I decided to go with my gut. That's the thing about your values though... they are yours and I certainly don't want you to feel restricted by the boundaries that I, or anyone else, set for you.
Another point that I want to make, is that there are some of these values that I am currently living more than others. I have been careful in selecting my values though, based on where I want to be, rather than where I am now, as my values are the guiding principles, rules or ethics by which I choose to live. I felt that it was important to allow myself some room for growth and change. With that in mind, here are my values.
For me, integrity is all about being honest, doing things the right way, and delivering on what you promise. Whenever I think of values, integrity is always the one that pops into my head first and it is also the value I find myself most protective of, perhaps because to me, integrity really means sticking by your values.
Having integrity at work means that I am always considerate of others. It kinda links with customer service in a way - I always do what I say I am going to do and I am honest when dealing with my colleagues and clients. This is also about being conscious of my behaviour impacts of others. You know those types that will do anything they have to to get to the top, even if it means they have to trample their colleagues? Integrity is the opposite of that.
Having integrity in my business is all about making sure that I under-promise and over-deliver. I want to follow through on all of my promises and then go one extra step. Integrity links with authenticity, which means that I aim to be 100% authentic (true to myself and my personality, even though sometimes I am a massive dag) in all of my Pop Your Career work – whether that be coaching, writing blog posts, delivering course content, writing newsletters or any of my other business tasks.
My values are my guiding principles - the rules by which I conduct myself in my life, career and business.
Love is one of my most trickiest values to uphold. I have a lot of love and I find myself using the word a lot. I tell my husband, family and friends that I love them, but I also love ice cream, denim joggers, the colour pink and my massage therapist for the way she knows exactly how much pressure to apply. So how is this one of my trickiest values, when I am so loved up?
Well, with the aim of doing everything I do with love, this sometimes means that I have to give love in situations where it is the last thing I am feeling. You know when that person at work ticks you off, when someone criticises your work or when the cafe in your building has run out of chicken tandoori rolls? Those are the times when it is difficult to approach a situation with love... but I am working on it.
Approaching my work with love is where it gets difficult. I love my job, I love the work I do, I love the impact that I can have on others, but I don't love all of the people. In my home life, if someone steps on my values, it is really easy for me to walk away and accept that they aren't my kind of folk. In a workplace though, you usually don't have the opportunity to walk away.
This is where love comes in - through acceptance that not all people are my people and that sometimes people are going to challenge me in ways that might not be entirely positive. (Just a note here that I am not talking about people treating me inappropriately - if someone did that I would deal with it through the proper HR channels. I am more so talking about people who don't demonstrate the respect or integrity that I would expect someone to in my personal life.)
Expressing love in my business is a lot easier, maybe because I have a lot more freedom. That is, freedom to choose how I express myself and when. And freedom to choose the types of people I want to work with. I show love in Pop Your Career by being open and not passing judgment. I am here to help.
Creativity is so important to me, whether I am creating for my business or for fun. I enjoy being creative and I think it is great for my mental health. Being creative allows me to relax, break the traditional rules (like colouring outside the lines) and it is one of the drivers behind Pop Your Career. Without creativity, I wouldn't be writing this post.
As I am a public servant, I don't get to express my creativity as much as I would like to at work. This is part of the reason that Pop Your Career was born. In saying that, I find that I can use my creativity in different ways, particularly in problem solving. In my job I am always looking for different ways to get a more efficient and effective result. I am also committed to being more creative about the way that information is presented, however, this is extremely limited compared to the way I can present information for Pop Your Career.
Creativity in business is about not feeling as though I have to follow a specific mould or way of doing things. It is also the freedom to create at will, in lots of different mediums, and to share my content and creative processes without doubt, embarrassment or second guessing myself.
Generosity is just one of those things that makes the world go around, and perhaps because of my affinity with love, I get a huge kick out of giving to others, especially when it is not expected. The other side of generosity though is knowing where your boundaries are.
In most circumstances, you can't keep giving and giving and giving without receiving anything in return, especially if what you are giving is energy. You know the phrase "one-sided friendship" - when the person on the end of your generosity is taking constantly without returning anything (even appreciation), then you need to know when to pull the plug.
If someone needs help, I always endeavour to come to the party, even if it means that I will need to stay later to make up the time. As a leader, I am generous to my team, not only in sharing my time, but also in rewarding them for their hard work and support.
I understand that not everyone has the luxury or inclination to do so, but taking my team out and shouting them a coffee or breakfast is one way of me showing them my appreciation. A $5 or $10 investment from me can translate into a meaningful demonstration of gratitude, which tends to breed even more loyalty and support... and so the cycle continues.
At Pop Your Career, I like to be really generous with my content. I write really long blog posts that are designed to be informative and/or inspirational. I have several free products available, including my 7-day email course, The Career Clarity Quest, an ebook, How to Define Your Purpose, Vision and Values (Then Use Them to Craft Your Perfect Career!) and my time (You can schedule a free 30 minute Discovery Session with me by clicking here). I want to give away as much as I possibly can!
I am a strong, powerful woman. Not exactly in a Xena Warrior Princess kind of way, but not too far off either. When I think of strength, I am thinking about physical strength (I am recovering from a physical injury and becoming stronger), mental strength (drive, motivation and the strength to keep going) and emotional strength (resilience, ability to bounce back and strength in protecting myself from harm).
In my career, my strength comes from knowing that I am qualified to work and provide advice in my zone of genius, but also in my resilience. Unfortunately the resilience thing is not something I have mastered - I don't handle criticism well, I have a tendency to take things personally and my bounce back rate is not overly high. This is important to me though, so in having strength as one of my values or guiding principles, it is a reminder about how I can improve.
Business is hard. There are loads of get rich quick stories on the internet, but the truth is that those stories are either hugely exaggerated or extremely rare. Continuing with Pop Your Career takes strength on a daily basis, particularly as I am also juggling my job, family and my injury. I show my strength by continuing – even when I have crappy days!
When choosing flexibility as a value, I was thinking about the flexibility I provide to others, the flexibility that I would like to receive from others and the flexibility that I would like to allow myself. I ummed and ahhed about whether or not to chuck this value from the boat, but I decided to save it because I know how important it is going to be to me as I move forward and grow the Pop Your Career Empire.
Flexibility in my day job starts with the fact that I work only four days a week. I am flexible and willing to work additional hours if my team has a heavy workload or a tight deadline. In return though, I appreciate similar flexibility from my boss if I need to take time off or rearrange my work hours once in a while.
Because of the environment I work in, I am also able to offer myself some flexibility in the time I start and finish work, which means I am never stressed in the morning or rushing to get to work on time. I start work when I get there and if that is not until 9:30am because I needed a little extra time to get ready or felt like stopping for a coffee on the way, then so be it.
I am super flexible in my business. From my working hours, to my availability to clients, even sometimes with my prices. I have a clear purpose and vision for Pop Your Career and I know that to fulfil these things, I need to be willing to move the goal posts sometimes. This is really hard for me as structure is my friend – I guess you could say that flexibility is a necessary evil.
Having an abundance mindset it about refusing to be driven by scarcity. It is about acknowledging the possibilities and putting a positive spin on things. Instead of being worried about not having enough money, I will focus on the endless possibilities there are to make money. Instead of concerning myself about other people who are blogging or working in the career coaching industry, I am choosing to believe that there is enough pie to go around and that we will all become more successful if we help each other improve. Don't get me wrong, I do not have a perfect abundance mentality, but when thinking about the values that will guide my future thoughts and actions, this had to be one of them.
Abundance is quite sub-conscious in my work life, but draws from my desire to be a positive, glass half full, type role model. I am the first to admit that I am not always sunshine and rainbows and sometimes negativity seeps in, but overall, I have a strong sense of passion for the opportunities that are available to me and my team and I would rather focus on possibility than lack.
As I mentioned, I truly believe that there is enough pie for everybody. I know I can make money, I know that there are plenty of opportunities for success and I know that the possibilities are endless. I am getting better at recognising my negative self-talk and turning it around to be more open.
Having an abundance mindset means focusing on opportunities rather than lack.
I promise I am not getting too woo-woo on you with this one. Intuition for me is all about trusting my gut. Do you know what it is like to agonise over decisions and avoid taking action because you can't choose which path to take? As a people focused introvert and an INFJ (Myers Briggs Personality Type), I find it quit difficult to make decisions, but I am learning to rely on my intuition to guide me, so that I can actually move forward. Sure, sometimes my gut is wrong, but this value is all about me listening to my body and not being afraid.
Intuition is another one of my values that I want to strengthen. As a leader, I rely on intuition a lot, to make decisions and recognise when things are out of kilter with my team mates. Tied closely with my observation skills, my intuition can guide me in the conversations I have with others and can help me "feel out" the truth when it comes to sticky situations.
In Pop Your Career, intuition boils down to trusting myself. I trust that I am on the right path and I trust that in the end, I will reach my business goals. This means launching before I am ready, progress not perfection, done is better than perfect and all of those other little phrases that help push me forward. I can’t sit around wondering whether you would like to read a post about how my values affect my career and business – I just have to trust the process, write the messages that I want to release into the world and then cross my fingers.
So there you have it. An insight into the values that guide my life, career and business – my fingers are crossed, hoping that you find this post informative and inspirational! I would love you to leave me a comment and let me know which of your values are non-negotiable.
P.S. This post was way longer than I intended, but I decided to trust my intuition and avoid cutting it down – congrats on making it through to the end. If you skipped right to the bottom, no hard feelings. You can grab a copy of my free e-book about defining your purpose, vision and values by clicking the image below.
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