Our discussion on personal value statements was an interesting one – a classic example of discussions that are much deeper, richer, and more complex (in a good way) as a result of the participants than anything Melissa or I could have planned or imagined. We started with a background on personal value statements generally – that they’re most often used as an individual tool to provide an anchor of personal characteristics, values, or passion(s) to guide us through important decisions or changes we seek in our lives. It took some sifting to create a distinction between a Value Statement and an ‘elevator speech’, ‘career manifesto’, or other similar statements – these tend to be used for personal branding or career advancement, rather than incorporating values of ‘the whole self.
We really struck a chord when we took a minute to work through the brainstorming exercise (attached) – the challenging thing many of us encountered while attempting to do this on the spot was how many of the characteristics we wanted to select as important to us – which revealed that, even in the midst of a candid, supportive group, or alone in our own heads – we were tempted to select things that we should value. A key takeaway here was that a personal value statement can stay completely personal – it’s an opportunity for you to be honest with yourself about who you truly are and what you truly want – removing any assumed judgement or comparison with others. This is difficult to do! But certainly worthwhile.
Another interesting turn related to whether our current jobs are a reflection of our values and passions, or simply a way to pay the rent while your passions are pursued outside of work through side projects, volunteer work, or family. Everyone had a different story and different way of approaching this -but it touched everything from work-life balance to questions about whether sacrifices that we make for our careers early on are made intentionally to allow for higher salaries, more flexibility, or pursuit of true passions later on. Digging further into this specific area – especially related to Millenials – would be really interesting! Please share any comments or questions you have – there’s much I may have missed.