Have you ever seen people pursuing their passions and felt jealous? Jealous that you were unsure of what your passion was, or just not very fulfilled by your work or life? You are not alone. In 2014 it was estimated that more than half of all Americans were unhappy with their work.
The question is why?
In a world where there are opportunities left right and centre and an endless supply of jobs we’ve never heard of why are so many people choosing dissatisfying careers?
The answer is intuitive but undiscussed. We are not taught to distinguish what makes a good career and what makes a bad career. The criteria we’re taught by society is to choose a job with a high income and security. While these are definitely a lot of peoples values it is not a ‘one size fits all’ approach.
Today I had a very meaningful conversation with my friend who is also a yoga teacher here in Siem Reap. He’s worked in a variety of different jobs, from Silicone Valley to here and back again. Humanitarian jobs, wellness jobs, tech industry jobs etc. We had a conversation about what makes a career and better yet what makes a meaningful life.
The consensus is that a meaningful life is one built on our personal values. I instinctively begun describing my values: kindness, community, family…etc, before he stopped me to ask how much thought I had put into my values?
Shockingly enough – I hadn’t. I had thought out countless times which diet would be best for my ‘optimal body’ or how to plan the perfect social event…yet I hadn’t taken considerable time to think about what I truly value.
value “a person’s principles or standards of behavior; one’s judgment of what is important in life.”
Principles, standards of behaviour or judgement of what is important in life.
Without judging myself, I came to the conclusion that I had four very solid values.
- To do meaningful work: to actually have a considerable impact (based on my other values) with whatever I am doing.
- Community: to have an inclusive group of like minded, diverse, valuable members that I could call a community.
- Wellness: that mental and physical health come above everything else, always, period.
- Freedom: an insatiable thirst for the freedom to move wherever the world pulls me.
I’ve been spending so much time trying to think of how to optimally design my life, or at least figure out what the next steps were to be without really considering my values. Immediately after clearing that up I began to brainstorm and ideas upon ideas came to me.
Try this as you dive deeper into your own value system.
- spend 5 minutes brainstorming every value that comes into your mind on a piece of paper.
- set a timer and spend 3 minute circling values that you consider the most important
- narrow your values down… your core values should be between 3 and 5 things. choose things that you cannot live without in your life-without judging yourself. It’s OKAY to write wealth, it’s OKAY to write beautiful things-this is for you-no one else.
- BEGIN LIVING TRUE TO YOURSELF AND YOUR VALUES
Hope this helps you as it’s helped me. With love,