“Personal leadership is the process of keeping your vision and your values before you and aligning your life to be congruent with them” Stephen Covey

These days it seems a lot of women in their 40s are going through a mid-life re-evaluation that includes an assessment of their chosen career or employer.  Many of them dream of leaving their Corporate careers to pursue something more meaningful.  They are feeling dissatisfied, sometimes really unhappy and with a sense that there must be more.

Through my personal journey I realise these feelings often come from a mismatch of personal values and career or employer.  I value belonging, for example, so it was upsetting to work for an employer that encouraged individual competition over teamwork.   I value compassion and empathy so it angered me to witness results prioritised over people.    When your work and your personal values collide it can have negative consequences.  For me, my health (both physical and mental) and family suffered from my unhappiness at work.  At 42 I was facing a career re-evaluation.

Leaving a corporate career to pursue something meaningful

Leaving a corporate career to pursue something meaningful

My Story – It’s not you it’s me, we value different things

In 2017, I was working for a large corporation.  I didn’t dislike the work I was doing but I was dissatisfied.  I felt stuck and increasingly uneasy watching people being treated poorly.  There was a vague sense there must be more than this but no clear idea what to do about it.  Having worked for 20 plus years in the corporate world it didn’t seem possible that I could do anything else.  

I went on a journey of self discovery that began with the death of my friend.  I worked with my own life coach, quit my Corporate job and trained as a coach to support other women in their 40s going through a life transition.  Getting really clear on what is important to me, what motivates me and what I value was an important part of this process.   It became obvious my job didn’t align with my personal values.

 

 

Find out what your values are

To find out what your values are you need to understand what motivates you.  My life coach asked me some great questions like:

  • What do I love to do?
  • What conversations light me up?
  • When I’m at my happiest what am I doing and who am I with?
  • When have I been proud of myself and what was I doing?
  • What experiences in my life have left me feeling fulfilled and satisfied?

I searched the internet for inspiration and was able to narrow down my values to the 5 most important to me.   I value joy, connection, empathy, making a difference and service.

Belonging at Work

Belonging and Joy at Work is to be valued

Love  your work by aligning with your values

Once I understood my values I needed to consider if they were shared by my employer.  It wasn’t difficult, with their values clearly stated on their website as excellence, discipline, continuous improvement and results-oriented.  Line them up against my values and it was not surprising I was facing a career re-evaluation.  With the guidance of my coach I started exploring other options and that led me to the path I am now following as I support other women in their 40s through their own life transition.

If you find yourself in a similar situation you probably need to re-think your options but it doesn’t have to be as drastic as a complete career change.   You might be able to change job within the same company, you might look at changing employers or it might be as simple as ensuring you live your values in your current job.  For example, if you value belonging what can you do every day to encourage a sense of teamwork and belonging in the job you are in.

Love your job by aligning your values

Love your job by aligning your values

 

Mid-Life Career Re-evaluation

If you are facing a mid-life career re-evaluation a great place to start is to ask yourself what you value, what motivates you and what is important.  Do your priorities differ from those of your job or career?  If so, it might be time to ask  yourself some serious questions.  If like me, you still have 20 plus years left in the workforce then isn’t it important that you find joy and satisfaction in a job that aligns with who you are and what you value?

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