I had the good fortune of working with someone recently and they made the comment to me that they are often not comfortable or happy with the work contracts that they pick. They have a feeling once they start it that perhaps it was not the best choice and maybe they chose it for the wrong reasons – like the number of zeros on the pay-check, or the prestige of the organisation they would work for, or the country where the contract is. So I want to bring out two great strategies and lessons here.
STRATEGY 1: values-based decision making
This is something I was considering as I was riding my bicycle through the rice fields the other day. It was essentially making decisions based on our deeper values. Which we probably think we do automatically. Maybe. And maybe sometimes we habitually make decisions, without being conscious of what values are being met or not met.
Therefore values-based decision-making (which I will create a system for in the future) is about this process, in brief:
- Write down your deepest values (e.g. integrity, happiness, health & vitality, family, partner, work, wealth, courage, contribution, etc.)
- Then establish a priority for your values. Start by asking “what is most important to me at the deepest level?”, then “what is the next most important thing to me?” and so on. You want to end up with a list of 5-10 priority ranked values
- Work out the deal-breakers. That is the values that you will not compromise. For me it would be integrity and health.
Then have these values where you can see them. When a decision comes up, you can use your values list (that you made up in a moment of clarity) to ensure that the decision you make, or path you take, is not in conflict with your values, or does not sacrifice a higher value for a lower value.
For example if I was offered an opportunity that was financially great, but sacrificed my health, I would turn it down. Because I know it is in conflict with a deal-breaker and not aligned with my deeper life values.
The more consciously we are aware of the decisions we make, the better decisions we make and the better decisions we make the better results we are likely to get.
STRATEGY 2: creating versus picking
The example I saw with this friend was where they were not entirely excited or empowered by the choices that were available for them to ‘pick’ from. And quite often after they made their choice they had some regrets. The thing with this scenario is that you are looking outside for something that will satisfy you inside; rather than starting from the inside out.
When we ‘create’ anything, it starts from within. It is more likely to be aligned with our values, our deepest desires and our inherent needs. In the case of the work it could be ‘creating’ the ideal opportunity that you would like to be involved with. So then rather than picking what is offered, you start looking for that which you want. And most often we find what we are looking for, if we are clear about it.
In the case we do not find what we are looking for then there is the opportunity to ‘create’ the business or contract or career or relationship or anything that you most desire. I believe that we are all ‘creators’. Regardless of whether we can paint, write love songs or impress our love with a poem (by the way, does the poem thing still work these days or has Hollywood set our would-be recipients expectations too high?). We are all creators and when we create from deep within some crazy good stuff starts to emerge.
So in summary:
- Be aware of your values when you have an important decision to make, and
Create the idea of what you want and then go and find it. If it does not exist than turn the creative idea into a creative product and end result.