Your values are like invisible threads that keep you connected to your higher purpose and everything that’s true for you. Because these threads are invisible, you may not be aware of them until they are compromised. When you find yourself stuck in a job that doesn’t fit, chances are that your values are being compromised at work. Here are five powerful steps to un-stick yourself.

1stStep – Notice What Makes You Angry

values-angerOne of the easiest ways to recognize your values, is to pay attention to the things that make you angry. For example, I tend to get angry when I see and smell an idling car on the side of the road.

What makes you angry? Write down a few situations that rub you the wrong way. Jot down the things that happen at work that drive you crazy. This is your chance to vent! Let it all out!

2ndStep – Identify Your Compromised Values

values-journalWhen I look more deeply at my anger about idling drivers, I realize that this behaviour seems careless, wasteful and disrespectful to me. Several of my values feel compromised. Namely my values of care, respect, thoughtfulness and sustainability.

Now, take a closer look at the situations that make you angry, using the following questions. What about these situations makes you angry? How would you describe behaviours that frustrate you? Why do these situations irritate you? Which of your values are being compromised? Take some notes!

3rdStep – Choose One of Your Values

Once you have written down all the values that are being compromised in your life right now, it may seem overwhelming at first. Where do you even begin re-aligning with your values?

Take a step back and look at your list of values from a distance. You may feel more strongly about certain values than others. Trust that the value that seems to jump off the page for you, is the one that needs your support right now.

If none of your values stands out, there is another fun way to help you choose. Write each of your values on a separate little piece of paper, toss all the papers into a jar, mix them up and pick one. Whatever way you choose, choose one value to start with. Otherwise you will stay stuck in overwhelm and nothing will change.

I looked at my list of values that felt compromised by idling cars. Respect seemed to be calling out to me, therefore I chose respect!

Step 4 – Re-Align with Your Values

values-re-alignLiving your values means taking responsibility for your life’s experience and coming back to your own circle of influence.

As tempting as it may seem to start an anti-idling campaign or get into an argument with an idling driver, these actions will keep me stuck in anger and blame. When I am being honest with myself, there are probably ways in which I am not living my value of respect to the fullest.

I encourage you to set aside the frustrating situations for now. You don’t have to resolve them. Instead I invite you to look for places where you are currently not fully living your chosen value. Ask yourself the following questions: How may I live my value more fully? What might I do that would help me live this value today? Sit with these questions for a while and then jot down ideas that arise for you. You may have many ideas on how to honour your value or just one.

As I contemplated these questions, I saw myself riding my bicycle on a sidewalk and noticed the impact it was having on pedestrians around me. A little old lady with her walker got startled, a man stepped to the side as I rode past him. As a cyclist, I had unconsciously developed a habit of riding short distances on sidewalks. I realize now that this behaviour is not honouring my value of respect. This insight helped me find the answer to my question. To re-align with respect, I want to dismount and walk my bike on sidewalks.

re-align-valuesIt will take discipline and a little bit more time, but the pay-off will be well worth the effort. I get to live my value of respect more fully. As I do, I feel a greater sense of integrity. I also realize that with this one action step also helps me re-align with my values of care and thoughtfulness. Our values are so interconnected, therefore honouring one may honour many values.

Which of your ideas do you want to act on? Choose one that feels ripe for action and imagine yourself following through. Notice how it feels for you to re-align with your value as you are taking action. What other values are you honouring with this one action step? Then most importantly follow through and act on your idea. Enjoy the feeling of re-alignment with your values as you do.

Step 5 – Give Thanks

values-thanksThis may seem like a stretch at first, so stay with me. Do you realize that those initial situations you were angry about, helped you identify some of your core values? Would you like to send out some gratitude for the awareness you gained through them?

I am truly grateful that idling drivers have helped me see my value of respect more clearly. What a wonderful opportunity to live this value more consciously from now on! I even notice feelings of compassion for idling drivers. Just like me, they unconsciously developed a habit, therefore they are most likely not aware of the impact it is having on their environment.

You too, may now be able to feel compassion towards the people involved in the situations that made you angry. With every step you take towards living in integrity with your values, you are getting closer to finding a career and a work environment that aligns with who you truly are.