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The Impact of Values on Your Job Satisfaction and Success

Are you aware of your personal values?  Have you ever thought about what you truly value at work, on the job?

Your personal satisfaction or the level to which your values are being satisfied in life are key to your personal happiness overall.  As documented by Blessing White, Inc., “Organizations usually have a clearer sense of their values and goals than their employees…Individuals normally don’t take the time to evaluate their values and goals, create five-year plans and publish them for all to see.  So their vision of success is a bit fuzzy.”  (Blessing White, 2004)

Many people find themselves dissatisfied in their jobs, but they only have a vague sense of why.  As I began coaching “Marion,” she expressed that she was unhappy in many aspects of her life, including her job, her team and the non-profit board she belonged to.  We then did a values clarification exercise, and some common themes emerged.  Her top three values were achievement, collaboration and integrity.  At work, she had spent weeks preparing for a big project launch, and the project was put on hold indefinitely.  Her achievement value was dashed.  The board members of the non-profit were bogged down in petty squabbling and could not work together.  Her collaboration value – denied!  Her company did not always do the right thing for the customer and her integrity value was being compromised.  We developed a personal plan for ways that she could begin to satisfy those values – asking some hard questions that led to hard decisions about seeking a position in healthcare and looking for a new volunteer opportunity outside of work.

Our values drive us, and when they are not being satisfied, we are unhappy.  Some key questions to ask yourself to raise your values awareness and overall self-awareness begin with the key question: “What are my top five values?”  Avoid thinking about values that you “should” have and focus on what really matters to you.  Some examples might be: integrity, achievement, freedom, creativity, family happiness, financial security, order, power, collaboration, continuous learning, just to name a few.  Don’t be afraid to name and define your values in your terms.  Then think about how well those values are being satisfied at work and outside of work.  If your level of satisfaction is low in either area, ask yourself what steps you can take to raise that level of satisfaction.

  • Do you need to ask for more challenging projects?
  • If you’re a business owner, are you pursuing the right clients?
  • Are there activities you can participate in or organizations you can join to provide better opportunities to maximize your level of values satisfaction?
  • What have you always wanted to try, but were afraid to?
  • Answer the question, “My life would be so much better if only…..?”


Nelson Mandela said: “Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate.  Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure….As we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.  As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”

The most successful people in life are those who define themselves.  And we all deserve happiness, so we have to create it for ourselves.  That begins with an awareness of who we are.  That begins with an awareness of our core values, what Bill George, the former CEO of Medtronic, calls our “true north” at the apex of our moral compass.  Take the time to identify and define your values and seek those things in your life, both at work and away from work that will bring you greater happiness and personal success.


Denise Peek

Certified Professional Coaching

Make Waves LLC

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