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The one question you MUST answer before switching jobs

I thought it would be cool. After all, you can see other people cruise up and down the Thames sipping champaign and having a grand time.

This year I sold the boat, and I probably should have sold it sooner. Because while I thought I had something in common with those other people apparently enjoying themselves on the water, I actually didn’t. Boating was important to them, not to me.

It’s easy to get confused about what’s important to us, because there are so many people telling us what SHOULD be important to us. Family, friends, society, colleagues, company, media – they are all quick to tell you what you should care about.

Here is an article, for example, telling you The 12 Most Important Things in Life. With so many to juggle at the same time, how could you possible add any of your own?

I’m not saying you should ditch your family, but for many reasons family may not be a priority for a lot of people. And that’s fine.

The same is true of money, reputation or anything else you might have once believed was important.

Now is the time to properly assess what is actually important to YOU – the good, the bad, the ugly.

What’s important to you is simply another way of asking “what are your values?” And you can usually figure it out from how you felt from your previous actions. Run through this set of questions:

- What would you like in your next job?

- What would you NOT like to have?

- What do you like about your current job?

- What’s missing?

- What did you like about your previous job? And so on….

It will help A LOT if someone else can ask you these questions and write down your answers, pressing you to provide single words.

Once you’ve got a list, rank the top three (because no one can prioritise 12!).

Then step back and see how they feel. Sleep on them.

I went through this process in an hour-long session with a coach, identifying values that were important to me in different situations. But my top 3 motivating values are:

1 Progress

2 Freedom

3 Recognition

Now, seeking “recognition” isn’t exactly a lofty value that any book is going to recommend I embrace, but it came up repeatedly and it’s real. And now I’ve got it out in the open, I can incorporate it gracefully into my plans without feeling awkward about it.

Here is a worksheet for you to work through (ideally with someone else you don’t know too well):

Surfacing Your Values
Download PDF • 106KB

Clarifying my values has been one of the most valuable (no pun intended) contributions to building confidence in the future I'm continuously creating and recreating for myself. If you'd like help recreating your future, just give me a call and we'll get cracking.

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