What values drive your life? It is easy to confuse values with goals. Simply put, goals can be ticked off a list when they have been achieved.
An example could be wanting to buy a car. Once you have purchased a car that goal has been achieved and can be ticked off the list.
Values take a little longer to define and can be represented as a 'compass direction'.
If you know what your values are and they represent say, north, then when you are living according to your values and you feel on track, then you would be heading in the right direction, in this case north.
If you're living your life according to goal setting only, life can be more stressful than if you lead by your values.
That is because the list of goals can soon mount up, especially in our commercialised world. You may want a new car, a higher paying job, a bigger home, a boat, a bigger tv ..... the list can be endless.
It can also seem easier to put a feeling of happiness on acquiring these things. Imagine if you had all your goals fulfilled there could be a sense that you would be more happier than what you are now.
That is often a trap in life. Firstly it's hard to achieve all your goals at once especially if they require spending big amonuts of money!
The second is that often when you achieve a goal it's no longer a goal so we then set new ones.
Perhaps you got the car but it might not be quite right or the novelty soons wears off, or you want different wheels or a bigger stereo.
Another example could be you get the house you desire but now you want all new furniture to match!
When you work with values there is a tenedency to be a little less hard on yourself.
A relationship value, for example could be that you want someone in your life who is caring and enjoys your love of gardening or volunteering, or travelling. There is less focus on the asthetic appeal of your potential partner (their looks, the colour of their hair or eyes etc) and more focus on your compatibility.
A work value maybe that you want flexibility in the hours you work, a sense of autononmy and not to be office bound. That's different to wanting a job that pays a specific salary which would be more of a goal if it was achieved.
When you aim for values rather than going straight for goals you tend to be more flexible than rigid (a specific salary is quite rigid). So often there is a trade off in that if you really value your work value (pardon the pun!) you may settle for less money because you are happier in the job that meets your values (such as having flexibility, autonomy and not being office bound).
So how do you work on your values? Feel free to work on this values sheet which you can download here. Perhaps spend a few days pondering it rather than rushing into it. To give you an idea of my work value, which took me some time to finally get right, it is to "work with people in a supporting role where I have flexibility, autonomy, working in a variety of locations (not being office bound) and where I feel I can serve others with humility".
It can take a while to get it right, particularly if you have never done an exercise like this before. There are quite a few domains on the worksheet. You may like to work on the one that is most important to you right now (it could be working on your parenting role rather than a work value). Good luck!