How to Identify Your Personal Priorities
Idea Sparkers to Launch Your Ideal Life
Let’s talk about identifying your personal priorities so you can have a truly rewarding career.
You may be thinking, but wait, what do my personal priorities have to do with my career? The answer is – everything! In order for a career to feel right for you, it needs to be in alignment with your personal value system. It must fit in well with what is most important to you in life. In fact, your dissatisfaction with your current career may be because it doesn’t match with your personal priorities.
For example, one of my former clients came to a point where she knew there was a disconnect between her work and her personal values. Here is her story:
Candace had worked for her husband’s commercial construction company in Seattle since she was twenty-five. Upon her fortieth birthday, she realized there was something missing from her career. She realized she wanted and needed something more.
She told me: “My work no longer ‘works’ for me. I want a job in which I help people.” For 15 years Candace had worked in a management position at her husband’s company. While it was true that the business now technically belonged to both of them, she still felt as though she was working for her husband. Turning forty ignited something in her and she asked herself: “What about me? What about my career goals?”
She wasn’t sure what she wanted to do about it, but she knew her work no longer felt right. She realized she needed a job in which she was making a difference, rather than, as she put it “just making payroll.” Through our work together, Candace found her true calling. She is now in the final stages of earning her Master’s degree in Social Work and counsels at-risk youth on how to succeed in life.
As you can see, identifying your life values is an essential step in designing a fulfilling life and career. Once you know what’s most important to you overall, you can design your career around those things. Therefore, your career will fit in with your life, rather than forcing your life to somehow fit in with your career.
Values are unique to each individual. There are no right or wrong value choices. Your priorities are uniquely your own and are respected as such.
So what do I mean by “personal priorities” and “personal values?” The following are examples of the value sets of three clients I’ve coached.
Annie’s Top Three Values
- Community Service
Karl’s Top Three Values
Cameron’s Top Three Values
- Professional Success
- Monetary Success
As you can see, each person has a different set of core values. Again, there is no judgment; each individual is honored for who they are and their choices are respected.
Now it’s your turn. Let’s get you on the road to discovering your personal priorities. The following exercise will launch the process.
Power Activity: Personal Priorities Brainstorm
Brainstorm and write down the things that are most important to you in life. To get you started, I’ve included several idea sparkers below. This brainstorm is for your eyes only so there is no risk of judgment. This is all about you and your preferences.
Take as much time as you need to create your list. Many find it helpful to work on it for a few minutes a day, for several days in a row. You’ll probably find ideas will flow and come to the surface over the course of a few days.
Strive to write at least a half a page, or 250 words, for each idea sparker.
Idea Sparker #1
What are the highlights of your days? Identify the things you enjoy most throughout a typical day, both on-the-job and off duty. They could be certain types of interactions you have, activities you engage in, contributions you make, etc.
What you enjoy most during your workday:
What you enjoy most during your personal time:
Idea Sparker #2
Imagine you are independently wealthy and you never have to work again in your life. How do you choose to spend your days? What do you do with your time? Who do you choose to be with? What’s most important to you now that you don’t have to worry about earning a paycheck?
Idea Sparker #3
Imagine yourself at 100 years old and surrounded by your descendants and/or the descendants of your friends. You are in a warm and relaxed atmosphere (such as around a fireplace). What would you say to them is important in life? What wisdom to you share?
Once you have completed each idea sparker, carefully review your responses. Notice the themes and identify your top three personal priorities. Narrowing your list down allows you to get very clear on your top life values.
My Personal Priorities
Priority # One ______________________________________________________
Priority # Two ______________________________________________________
Priority # Three ______________________________________________________
How does it feel to be clear about the most important things to you in your life? Empowering? Sweet satisfaction? Nerve wracking? Or perhaps a bit of all three!
Whatever range of emotions you’re experiencing, it is perfectly ok. Discovering your authentic career fit is a profound journey and all kinds of feelings will be along for the ride. Don’t hold onto any of them too tightly and let yourself flow through the process.
If you feel you’d like assistance with identifying your personal priorities, I invite you to schedule a one-on-one coaching session with me.
Click here to schedule your personal coaching session.
Now, let’s move on to your Career Success Guide to Vision-Casting Your Ideal Life.