Monday motivation: determining your values

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What motivates you?

There are many reasons you might enjoy (or not enjoy) your current job, but if you are dragging yourself out of bed on a Monday morning it could be that you are not working in an environment that is in tune with your values. When you are in an environment that supports and mirrors your values you are likely to feel more positive, motivated and satisfied in your working life.

What are values and why are they important?

Your values are how you feel about things and what is important to you. They are not focused on abilities or strengths but are about where you feel comfortable and what you find rewarding. There are no rights or wrongs here and your set of values is unique to you. The financial gain could be the number one priority for one individual and the least important for another.

While there is no finite list of values, stop and consider what some of the following might mean to you: helping society and others, authority, power, prestige and respect, security, variety and routine, challenge, working with others and independence, knowledge, adventure, structure, creativity, integrity, personal balance, working environment, recognition, financial gain, community and belonging. Which of these values particularly resonates with you, and why and how would you prioritise them? You could also gain real insight by asking other people for their thoughts on what they consider your values to be.

Developing a clear picture of your own set of values makes it easier to decide on a whole range of personal and career decisions, such as which occupational areas you should pursue, if you should take on a promotion, or if it is time to leave you current role for something new. For example, if work/life balance and family are key values to you, and you are asked to take on more hours or to work away from home, how would that impact on your motivation for the role?

It can also be useful to think about your current, and also your past, workplaces to help pinpoint the settings and experiences that have been motivating and, equally, those that have not. If you haven’t felt comfortable in some of those situations, or have struggled to be enthusiastic or engaged, it may be because your set of values is at odds with the environment and the organisation you have found yourself in. When looking at new possibilities make sure you are not repeating the same mistakes, and actively look for opportunities that play to your values.

There may be a variety of career options that would be a good match for your set of values and you will also need to consider the part your skills, abilities, personality and interests play, but if you can establish real certainty around your values you will be in a better position to make informed decisions about your personal and career goals and find work that motivates you even on that Monday morning.

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