Today's an important day. It's a day, not only to celebrate an amazing American leader, but to use Dr. King's words to reflect on our own values. Today is a day to revisit the connection between those things we hold deeply and the way we live our lives. Dr. King is known for his values. He valued non-violence. He valued progress. He valued equality.
In spite of the times, Dr. King did not compromise his values for conformity. He did not fear living outside the lines though he was ostracized, threatened, and jailed. The promise of a better tomorrow ignited the outward expression of his inner motivations.
Defining Your Values
We're often told we should find a career - a calling - that aligns with our values. I agree with this sentiment, but I think it over-simplifies the process. What if you don't know what your values are?
For much of my career I employed the "gut check." This meant paying attention when things didn't feel right and then further examining WHY they didn't feel right. I used these when making the decision to ditch the 9-5 and make the move to a less secure, but more fulfilling career path.
When I founded Pattern of Purpose I defined my values as:
- Living authentically: being the same person in my job as I am at home. Not trying to be someone else to attract clients or act like an entrepreneur. I always knew that my success would be measured by who I am and what I already offer.
- Pursuing what I believe in. I wanted to be able to make decisions that I think are responsible and right. This means doing the projects I want to do but also taking full responsibility when things don't work out as planned.
- Being available for my family. At this point in my life my career sometimes has to take the backseat to my family. This is really hard for me as a goal-chaser, but I've decided flexibility is more important than income in this season of my career.
I push all of my clients to define themselves by how they stand out, not how they fit in. This is because I truly believe the key to a meaningful career is aligning your values, strengths, and responsibilities. I know what it's like to put on a persona when walking to work and shedding it when you walk into your home. It's exhausting and totally inauthentic.
Dr. King spoke about the fierce urgency of now. If something is important enough to achieve some day, why wouldn't you work to achieve it today?
If you're looking for more on living a values-based life, check out one of my favorite podcasts, The Lively Show. Jess Lively interviews dozens of amazing individuals living our their life goals through value-based intentions. Sometimes it's helpful to hear how others label their values to be able to identify your own.
So I ask you today in the spirit of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., how do you plan on living out your values in a career worth leading?