Whenever you set any goal what you are seeking is a feeling.
When you understand these feelings it’s easier to make choices that make you happy over the longer term. For instance, most people get married because they want to feel loved and possibly secure. Yet one third of marriages end in divorce. This is a clear indicator that marriage, for those people, didn’t fulfil their needs. Sometimes it’s impossible to achieve a goal in exactly the way you want but you can always achieve the feeling. The feeling is the real goal. When you place your attention on the feelings you want to create rather than a specific goal, you usually find that you have more choices.
By asking yourself what makes you happy, then aligning your answers with a value you will gain a clearer understanding of what you really want.
For instance: If spending time with friends makes you happy, your value could be love or companionship. If always having money available makes you happy, you could value security or possibly freedom. If you love writing, music, or art you could value beauty, self-expression or creativity depending upon whether you are part of the creative process or a person who enjoys the end result.
I’ve found that when it comes to work goals the vast majority of people go to work for the social interaction with others. People who value relationships at work have a vast array of career choices available to them. However, there are jobs which provide casual interaction with others and there are relationships you can form with a client or co-worker which are more meaningful. People who value casual interactions could be happy in a job, such as a bank teller or a shop assistant, or any role where they would get to chat with people, even co-workers regularly.
People who value more meaningful relationships at work, or who want to make a difference, would gain more from being a counsellor, teacher, life coach, financial planner, nurse, or any role where they work one-on-one with people, usually in a supportive role. Or, they could flourish in an environment where they work in a team.
What I wasn’t aware of when I started my small businesses was that I was trying to find work that provided me with freedom and matched my personal values. That is why working in the corporate world was never a good fit for me because I often didn’t agree with the ethics of the organisations I worked for. At one time I worked in the customer service department of an investment company and a sweet old lady asked, “Dear, do you think this is the best place to put my money?”
Quite frankly I didn’t think it was, but if I said that I would have lost my job. Doing work where I make a difference is something I really value, so I needed to find work where I could be true to my personal values while at the same time help others. Creating a business that meets my needs has transformed work from being a job that I do for money, into work that I am so passionate about, I never intend to retire.
My hairdresser’s son, who is 13-years-old, 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. As an adult she became a very successful singer.
For some people where they work is most important, they value the environment they work in, for example 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 so he now 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 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.