Your Values Help You Define Success

Companies usually implement some type of feedback system to provide employees with an evaluation of their performance. These reviews or check-ins are usually focused on progress toward goals that have been already identified. Generally, if you did more than what was expected, you get rated higher. If you did less, well, you get rated lower. For most of us, these ratings have a direct influence on our pay and growth within an organization.

Reviews often serve as a reference point to help us stop and reflect on the progress that you’ve made in your career. Often “success” and “growth” are defined based on someone else’s interpretation of the results that you’ve been able to achieve in consideration of the specific organizational goals that someone else has outlined for you.

While these reviews can often be valuable and insightful, one powerful way define a clearer and more complete context of success for you personally can be achieved by assessing your personal values. Taking time to think through your values will help you determine whether your role, and the results that you are achieving are in alignment with what matters to you as an individual.

For example, some professionals highly value power – the ability to influence and direct others, as well as to make decisions and accomplish goals. If you put this type of person in an environment that has loose deadlines and lots of collaboration, then they may not feel fulfilled in that role. 

Others place a high value on balance. These individuals feel fulfilled and happy when they are able to enjoy vacations, spend time with family or friends, and have fun in their free time. However, if that type of individual is responsible for 125 direct reports, a multi-million dollar P&L, and is working work nights and weekends, they likely would not feel fulfilled or happy after being presented with a stellar annual evaluation.

Similarly, some people really value creativity and innovation. But if that same individual is placed in a highly structured position with many policies and procedures, with no free time to think and brainstorm, that individual would likely feel very constrained, despite accomplishing a stellar amount of work or receiving a very favorable review.

Taking some time to determine your own values, and evaluating those things that are truly most important to you will help uncover areas of potential misalignment. It can highlight any potential areas of disconnect between what is truly important to you personally in consideration of what you are spending your time working to achieve. Seeking alignment between your personal values and the work that you do can provide you with a greater sense of purpose. Success will then be based on what you deem important, and you will feel a sense of satisfaction as your career goals flourish in a way that is personally meaningful to you.

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