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What direction are you going in?

Quick! If I asked you to list your top 10 values, what would you say? Would you be able to list the top 10 most important things in your life? Could you identify what matters most to you?

Not surprisingly many of my clients who are asked to do this respond in a similar way – what do you mean?

After further explanation the response is usually “Wow. That’s hard.” Followed by “can you give me an example?”

Your turn – can you list your top 10 values?

Here are mine – in no particular order: love, family, authenticity, freedom, equality, honesty, integrity, animals, kindness, compassion. So those are the things in my life that I value most.

I was 40 when I first saw my values written down on paper. I was surprised, but in hindsight there was no need to be. They had always been a powerful force in my life –even if I hadn’t known it.

Like many people, I never seemed to be happy in my jobs. In fact, it was just the opposite. In job after job I was miserable, and ended up taking stress leave on three different occasions. In one role the stress was affecting me so much that one side of my body became completely numb one morning.

After that incident I realized that finding my purpose was essential for me to live a happy life.

Thankfully, I also discovered the Career Development Practitioner Program at Conestoga College. I had finally found my purpose. Along my journey I learned some important questions to ask.

I heard somewhere that every job is solving problems. It’s just about figuring out what type of problems you are interested in solving.

What about you?

Are you drawn to people problems? Do you want to listen and help?

Are you attracted to thing problems – like designing or building?

Or maybe you are interested in information problems – data and investigating?

Or alternatively you could be attracted to creativity problems. Maybe you would like to write or paint or sculpt or take photographs?

You see, whatever you are drawn to is your path. (And don’t worry; you can take more than one path in your lifetime). Your values are the signs on the side of the pathway that keep you focused and going in the right direction on your journey of life.

Once you have identified what’s important to you, you’ll be able to live according to your values. For example, if you said that eating well and exercise are important to you, but you choose to eat junk food and not exercise, you would not be living according your values.

That’s when conflict shows up in your life.

I am not saying that by knowing your values you will start living a magically and radically different life. I am saying that these values will act as a guide for you to make positive decisions and this will reduce the conflict that you may feel.

Stay tuned next week for a real-life example of how living by your values can help you create a more satisfying life.  Can you think of a time in your life when you experienced conflict because you weren’t living in alignment with your values?

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