I was four year’s old when my mother announced that new neighbours had moved in across the road. “They have a little girl about your age” she said, and I excitedly asked if she knew what her name was. “Not yet, but their surname is Herholdt” Mom replied.
My fanciful four year old mind immediately imagined how this ‘not yet’ friend and I would conquer the world together. We would fly our cardboard box rocket into space and discover new galaxies, we would dress-up as princesses (my mother’s jewellery came to mind), we would heal our dolls when they were sick or injured and make the biggest mud-cake the world had ever seen. We would be bridesmaids at each other’s weddings, raise our children together and be friends for absolutely ever! But wait a minute, what if she didn’t want to do all that. I needed to find out and this important fact finding mission could not wait another minute.
I marched my little self over the road and encountered what to me seemed like an incredibly tall man working in the garden. Must be her daddy, I thought and confidently walked over to him. “MRS. Herholdt” I erroneously blurted out, “My name is Adele, may I please speak to your little girl?”
Now what could this possibly have to do with career choices I hear you ask with a sigh? Well not a whole lot but it does have something to do with personal core values.
Loosely put, personal core values are the non-negotiables in our lives. The lines that cannot be over-stepped, the absolute must have’s that enable us to be comfortable in our own skins. They are the guidelines to every decision we make. Here are two thing to bear in mind when making value-able career choices:
Aligning your personal core values to your choice of career.
Core values are built and shaped by a number of influences in our lives, but a good many are evident very early on. As my story illustrates, my need to connect and establish relationships from an early age was stronger than my fear of crossing the road or speaking to a strange adult man (yes, my mother did warn me about that). Connecting with people is why I get up in the morning and my happiest days are spent reaching out to those I encounter. I would never be happy working in a job where people were not my focus. Establishing and being aware of your core values will greatly assist you in making decisions around your choice of career.
Aligning your personal core values to company values.
If you value uplifting people, the likelihood of you being happy and productive in a company that does not, is pretty remote. Companies proudly display their values on their websites, on plaques on their walls and in their profiles but do they live by them or are they a mere sales tool? Has the value of these values been lost in the business of everyday business. Before accepting a position with a company, speak to people who already work there and find out how value-able the company is. Joining a company is a bit like a marriage, so do your best to avoid a “till our values do us part” situation.
I believe that values are the basis of everything we do and influence how we respond to both the positive and the negative. It would be difficult to find a perfect alignment of values and you may have to work on some. But, if values between your career choice, the company you represent and your own are aligned closely, you are given the tools to shine. To show the world what you are about, to represent your company with pride.
Many decades later, I am still affectionately teased by the Herholdt family for calling Mr. Herholdt Mrs. Herholdt. Heather and I traveled the world on the swings in her back yard. We nursed hurt baby birds, had more dress-up sessions than I can remember and planned our weddings together. Through naturally acting on a value I was not even aware of, I gained a life-long friend. How much more could we achieve if we raised our awareness of what really matters to us? How much more could we contribute to our relationships, careers and the lives of others if made decisions based on our personal core values?
I would love to hear your stories around the core values you can identify when looking back on your childhood.