Do you remember participating in interest inventories and career aptitude assessments in high school?
That was the beginning of making choices about our vocation and career path based on what we believed about where our particular skills and aptitude would guide us. This exercise set us up for many limiting beliefs about our potential. For many of us, this exercise dictated whether or not we would be capable of pursuing higher learning. Regardless of our choice - post-secondary education or enter the workforce straight out of high school - we would have aligned our interests, studies, and skills as we anticipated a path we believed was best suited for our personality, talents, and education.
To better navigate our path, we continue to participate in more assessments in pursuit of personal and professional development.
Yet…most of us do not recognize the extent of our complexity. Our personal preferences and unique sense of values are buried under layers of expectations and demands. To add to the complexity, our work and life experiences contribute to a shift in our values over time.
When we identify as, or claim to be, a specific type of person (kind, caring, and genuine), and our thoughts, feelings, and behaviours indicate otherwise (resentment, impatience, or self-righteousness), we may be unaware of our true values.
Of course, we are quick to notice when we see this happen in others. Our perception might be that they are inauthentic, manipulative, or fake; maybe even a hypocrite.
When our own behaviours are inconsistent with what we claim to value, we experience cognitive dissonance 1 that often triggers a physical reaction: a twinge, a cringe, or a moment when our body says, “no!”
However, we often learn to ignore these uncomfortable feelings. Eventually, we stop paying attention. We become mistaken about our own identity and unaware of the shift in our values.
Shifts in our values can manifest significantly in midlife and escalate as we approach the age of 60. We can experience shifts in our work and our life.
How You Know When Your Values Shift
Your career and your life are moving along at a satisfactory pace - according to plans - and then one day you wonder, “How did I end up here?”
I hear this often from my clients - at all ages and all phases of life and work.
How Your Values Shift
In reality, our values are dynamic. With enough time or experience, the hierarchy of our values can change. Typically and generally, the shifts occur as a result of:
- New knowledge
- Changing social values and attitudes
- Personal experiences and significant life events
In a 2015 study 2 on the patterns of value change, researchers studied more than 36,000 individuals across five geo-social regions and found that regardless of gender, values substantially change throughout our life span.
Why This Matters
Your values are the underlying foundation of your inspiration, vision, and motivation - for your life and business. Your values help you set a course to what you believe truly matters and what is best for you. Your values guide your decisions, shape your relationships, and drive your behaviour. Your values serve as your personal foundation and guide you to purpose and fulfillment.
Understanding and appreciating when and how your values shift will help you make adjustments and improvements—in your performance, satisfaction, self-actualization, and fulfillment.
For women entrepreneurs and executives, a values shift can be a big deal. It can mean reevaluating what's important to you, changing the way you operate, and even redefining success. Future posts will provide insight on how to navigate a values shift in your life and business.
References and Resources
- Cognitive Dissonance - Psychological Stress, Wikipedia
- Patterns of Value Change During the Life Span, National Library of Medicine, Valdiney V. Gouveia, Kátia C. Vione, Taciano L. Milfont, Ronald Fischer
Your Next Steps
- Explore the connections I make with this topic related to Self-Actualization and other areas of emotional intelligence. Contact with me on LinkedIn. Or click to Get in Touch.
- Contact me to explore the opportunity to create your customized plan for your Personal Foundation supported by a professional coaching plan to develop personal best practices based on your values and principles.
- Receive Maestro's Encore blog in your inbox with VIP content and specific exercises, self-assessments, and self-assignments related to this topic and to accelerate your emotional well-being and resilience. Start with your 90-Day EQ Mini-Plan or the mini workbook Emotions Drive Performance: Triggers from Thinking to Results - Predispositions, Self-Handicapping, Self-Sabotage
Explore strategies for finding fulfillment after 60. Schedule a 30-minute complimentary call to explore possibilities. On this call, we will get acquainted and discuss what outcome is important to you. I will explain the application process for working with me and how we would work together. By the end of the call, you will have a "quick-win" action plan.
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