Understanding Your Work Values

When I had my last child I moved my financial planning business from a professional office to home and I was totally unprepared for how big an adjustment that would be.  The worst part about working from home was the lack of companionship, and trying to fit my working day around a demanding baby and clients was exhausting. With the benefit of hindsight, I now realise that working from home was so stressful for me at first because I didn’t understand what made me happy at work.  It took a financial crisis before I became aware of what my work values are.  That crisis turned out to be a wonderful opportunity that enabled me to start my life coaching and training business which is more suited to my interests and lifestyle.

Whenever you say you want more money, less debt, more financial possessions, a job you love, what you are really saying is that you want a feeling.  So in order to determine your work values you need to determine what feelings are most important to you in the workplace. One, sometimes more than one, of these values is your motivating force.

What some people love about going to work is the companionship they share with others. The camaraderie, friendships and social aspects of the job are more important to them than the actual work they do.  For others their personal values are their highest priority.  Working for an ethical organisation, being able to work in a harmonious environment, or making a difference, has a greater priority than the actual tasks they perform.

My hairdresser’s son, who is in Year Seven at school, wants to be an actor. He is so passionate about performing he clearly values work content. People who value work content often know specifically what they want to do from a young age. Was there something you wanted to do as a child? One of my clients told me that as a child she used to go from door-to-door offering to sing for money. She grew up and became a very successful singer.

For some people where they work is most important, they value the environment they work in, this could mean working outdoors, or in a variety of different environments. I have a lovely young man who assists me with my garden. After finishing school he went to university and obtained a business degree. When he finished his degree he couldn’t face the prospect of working in an office and so he works as a landscaper and gardener. He has two passions, surfing and travel. His work allows him to work intensively, and then take off overseas every few months. He never experiences winter as he always follows the sun. He said, “It’s a wonderful way to live”.

If you don’t know what you want then think about what you don’t want and write it down. Then when your list is complete write down the opposite of what you don’t want.

For instance, if you don’t want to be around negative people you know you want to work and socialise with positive people. If you don’t want to worry about money you know that creating financial security and possibly freedom needs to be a top priority. A lot of the time most people know what they want, they just don’t have a label for it.


When I experienced my mid life crisis I started walking each morning, usually at around 5 – 6am when it was quiet. On those walks I’d talk to the Universe and ask for guidance, help and sometimes for answers. At that time I didn’t feel happy and I didn’t know what work I wanted to do. However, over time as I asked questions and received answers I gained clarity as to what made me happy. The answers I received and then acted upon literally changed my life and became a large part of the life coaching process I teach today.

I still continue that habit of asking questions, the only difference being that now I usually ask my questions before going to sleep at night. Answers come to me in many different forms. Sometimes I’ll watch a TV show, read a book or magazine and the answer is right in front of me. At other times someone will tell me about someone, or say something that answers my question. Or, I’ll wake in the middle of the night with a flash of insight, or have a dream.

Knowing and understanding your work values can open up a lot more opportunities that will ensure you will be happy with the choices that you make.