Go back to your values
Recently I read Think Again by Adam Grant. His premise is that approaching life with a more scientific mindset can help you be more adaptive and innovative as compared to an approach of preacher, prosecutor or politician.
The final chapter was particularly insightful. Chapter 11 is titled “Escaping tunnel vision: Reconsidering our best-laid career and life plans”. When making a review, Grant suggests to go back to our values.
This is the third time in the past few months that I have heard the advice “go back to your values,” so I decided to explore further.
We can group our values into categories, for example:
- relationships (family, friends, parent, couple)
- activities (work, leisure, contribution to society)
- health (physical, mental, spiritual)
One approach is to draw a values wheel or 3×3 diagram listing the categories relevant for you and assessing how you are doing in each on a scale of 1-10. This values exercise helps to evaluate how we are doing in the areas important to us – as compared to things highlighted in the media or on Facebook posts.
Values relate to meaning, and Grant says,
Meaning is healthier than happiness, and people who look for purpose in their work are more successful in pursuing their passions – and less likely to quit their jobs – than those who look for joy. (p. 237)
He suggests doing regular checkups related to your career, business and life to see if they are still aligned with your values. Sometimes we get out of sync, and we are so entrenched in our situation that it is hard to change. Grant gives several examples of these “Escalations of Commitment”. He says,
The stakes seem too high to walk away; the sacrifices of salary, status, skill and time seem too great. For the record, I think it’s better to lose the past two years of progress than to waste the next twenty. (p. 233)
Perhaps some things in your life are not working so well right now. This may be especially true related to the disruption of the pandemic. Is it time for a career, business or life checkup?
These thoughts may provide some inspiration,
At work and in life, the best we can do is plan for what we want to learn and contribute over the next year or two, and stay open to what might come next. To adapt an analogy from E.L. Doctorow, writing out a plan for your life “is like driving at night in the fog. You can only see as far as your headlights, but you can make the whole trip that way.” (p. 241)
Best wishes as you take some time to reflect on what is really important to you.
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