MEANING The true key to finding lasting happiness at work and in life is to uncover your own values and thus find meaning in your every day, argues JESS BAKER
ositive psychology tells us that one way to enhance our wellbeing is to find meaning in the things we do. And the simplest way to find meaning in life is to identify our core values and live as closely by them as possible. I say ‘simple’, but it can actually be a lengthy process. Your personal values represent what’s important in your life. If you get clear on what your core tenets are, then you can use them as a guiding set of principles that will help inform the decisions you make on things, such as which jobs you apply for, or what you should do in your free time.
MAIN Psychologist, Jess Baker, reports finding that her clients who have begun working in alignment with their core values feel more motivated and alive
I’m sure you could readily list the things in life that are important to you (for example, your family, loved ones, friends, having a steady income, having fun). However, values go deeper than that; they speak to the very essence of your being. When I speak to clients who have begun working in alignment with their values they say they feel alive, engaged, motivated, energised, or in flow. To help you consider what your personal values are, I’ve listed a few questions below. You can answer all or some of them. You’ll find it easier to answer them if you approach this exercise with a sense
of curiosity and an open, explorative perspective. Use the questions as prompts. You could even discuss them with friends or colleagues – you might be surprised about what comes up!
Prompt 1 Here’s a list of nine personal values. It’s not an exhaustive list. Circle the ones that obviously describe you, and cross out the ones that definitely don’t. • Being principled (e.g. working for Fairtrade) • Helping others (e.g. choosing a caring or teaching profession)