How knowing your values can change the world


Yes, I know. You’re feeling kind of ‘meh’ about work, right now.

The sun is out and you’re stuck inside getting more and more irritated by your annoying colleagues and frustrated with the same old problems that just keep coming up.

And this is supposed to be your dream job, working for a cause you feel totally passionate about. And that kind of makes it feel worse. Because you really want to make a difference and yet somehow, something has gone a bit wrong and things aren’t quite working out. When you don't honour your values you feel stuck, unfulfilled and unhappy

I see this all the time in my coaching and training with non-profits. Only last week I was working with a client from a brilliant national charity. On paper, she told me, her job was perfect. but she was still looking to move on. Something wasn’t quite right. She wasn’t happy.

At first she put this down to a problem with her manager – but as we talked things through, it became clear that there was something else, something more fundamental, going on here.

And she’s not alone. Over and over again in my work as a coach, I’ve found that people may think they have a particular problem – with their colleagues, with their pay, or whatever – but at the root, it’s something else. Over and over again, I’ve learned that it’s never the circumstance, the situation or the people you’re working with that make you unhappy. It’s the fact that you will be dishonouring one or more of your core values.

Values? That wishy-washy word. Sounds unlikely? I promise you, that is the reason.

But first of all, let’s be clear. Values are not moral in any way. They’re not about being saintly or right-on. It’s not just the likes of Nelson Mandela who has values. We all have them. And we usually live our lives by about four or five which are known as our Core Values.

So, what are core values?

Core values are the non-tangible things that we must have in our lives to feel happy and fulfilled. Your core values might be Independence or Oomph (yes, really the words just have to be right for you). Another’s might be Freedom, Wisdom or Striving. Everyone’s will be different.

When your core values are being honoured you feel good. When they’re not you feel bad. It’s as simple as that.

I help the people I coach to work out exactly what those top five core values are and how they can honour them every day. We even put them in the right order!

Knowing them allows my clients to see what’s really going on at work (and other situations of course). They have a value of Freedom and their manager is micro-managing them. Something will have to be done. They have a value of Beauty and the office is scruffy and dark. It needs sorting. They have a value of Learning and there is no budget at all for on-the-job training…You get the idea.

Plants on office window2_honouringvalues
Bringing plants into the office will honour the value of Beauty or Nature

When you know your values and their order of importance you have an incredibly useful blueprint for life. You know what will make you feel good. You know what conditions you need to work well, to shine, to contribute. You know your purpose.

Over to you

I’m feeling pretty good right now. I’d say that I’m honouring at least four of my top values fairly well (in case you want to know, mine are Human Connection, Integrity, Engagement, Growing and Fun.) How about you? Any idea what your values are? Are you honouring or dishonouring them at work? Please do share here by replying in the box below. I love this topic and really want to know what you think!

What next? 

If you want to know how values could help you and your people perform better at work give me a call on 0208 772 7808 or (07958 501 427) or email for a no-obligation chat.








6 responses to “How knowing your values can change the world”

  1. Stephanie Ross avatar

    Katie helped me work out my core values when I was working for a national charity five years ago – and I have to say I approached the exercise with a little suspicion at first. But, not only did it result in a big turn around in how I viewed my work situation then, I still live by them to this day and often re-evaluate things to make sure I am honouring them. Working out that my top value is freedom has made a huge difference to my working life, and taken me in a clear direction that I love. So, thank you Katie!

  2. Katie Duckworth avatar
    Katie Duckworth

    Ah, Steph, I’m so delighted to hear that. It really is amazing work, isn’t it? Thank you so much for sharing such a powerful message.

  3. Barbara Babcock avatar

    Very very true. Knowing your core values helps you to make decisions that align with them. And it helps you identify quickly when things aren’t quite right giving you the option to create new choices.

  4. Katie Duckworth avatar
    Katie Duckworth

    Yes indeed, Barbara. A blueprint for life, fulfillment and happiness. Thanks for posting!

  5. Margaret Nelson avatar
    Margaret Nelson

    I hadn’t though of it like this but I believe that you are right! – thank you

  6. Katie Duckworth avatar
    Katie Duckworth

    Why, thank you! No, we tend not to. But when you do, things really begin to make sense.