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Techniques for People Struggling to Define Their Values

Published 6/1/2022

Determining your values doesn't have to be an extremely serious or permanent exercise. Start at the simplest place you can, and iterate. Your values are as evolving and changing as you are - keep them held lightly.

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Transcript (Generated by OpenAI Whisper)
The Understanding your personal values is critical to building your career plan. It's critical to making decisions in the face of ambiguity and uncertainty and It's also really hard to do A lot of times people just avoid trying to make a Determination on what their personal values are with their core values are and instead they assume that those values will come and hit them in the face in today's episode I'm going to give you some easy intro ways of finding your values If you've had trouble defining what your personal core values are if you've had difficulty Kind of verbalizing those maybe you have procrastinated on writing these things down This episode is for you my name is Jonathan Cutrell. You're listening to Developer Tea and this episode Alliance with a goal of helping you find purpose in your career Now before this gets Too heavy before it gets too philosophical. Let me start by saying that The whole goal of having values is to provide you a practical way of Making decisions about things that are not necessarily by-c and white making decisions When there's a lot of uncertainty or ambiguity when there's no necessarily correct way When it's really just about your choice. How do you make choices? You can think about values It's kind of guidelines or a framework for making personal decisions Decisions that are not necessarily You know a cultural moral decision, but more are just your choice your taste your personal preferences What you believe and how you want to interact with the world this is what values provide to you so I want to help you understand your own values and We're gonna start with the simplest form of this which is guessing That's right. You don't necessarily have to have this moment of epiphany. You don't have to do you know hours of mental exercises or introspection you can just make reasonable guesses You don't have to be right about every value This is not an assignment. Nobody's going to grade it Nobody's going to look at your values and say that they aren't good enough. They aren't sufficient this is not a process that you're going to You know that you're going to end at the end of this episode or at the end of the month of the year It's a process of growth and learning that Probably we'll go throughout the rest of your career and probably beyond your career Pick a value that you feel attracted to that you feel fits you and then just let it evolve Don't worry about what it means if you decide to change it You don't have to go and write a blog post declaring your values to the world You can have values That you use practically speaking and if they're not serving you They're yours you can change them. So that's my first recommendation. Just guess Just guess at what your values are Next I want you to look at the way you spend your time We're going to talk about how to do that Right if you talk about today's sponsor square today's episodes brought to you by square There are millions of sellers across the globe using square to run every aspect of their business And many of those sellers are looking for customized solutions that are deeply connected and easy to use and that unfortunately Don't exist yet. And this is where you come in as a developer. You can grow your business by extending or integrating with square using free APIs And SDKs to build tools for sellers that they're searching for right now learn more by going to developertea.com slash square is developertea.com slash square Thanks again to square for sponsoring today's episode of developertea.com We're talking about ways of discovering your own values Especially if you've had trouble defining your values in the past Maybe you're procrastinating on it. Maybe you're afraid of defining them because they're gonna change Well, that's not a problem. We've already talked about the first Kind of technique or system process that you can use and it's just to guess To make a reasonable guess about what you think your values are Based on whatever information you can gather and one of the ways that you can gather that information is to look at the way you spend your time This is the second system Second technique I want you to attempt Or to use to determine your values look at the way you spend your time the way you spend your time is one angle in determining what you value it is a Fundamentally limited resource and the way you spend your resources Often as a reflection of what you care about what you care about is often a reflection of your values Now give yourself the benefit of the doubt you might not spend your time perfectly in line with your ideal values all the time You might know this about yourself. Maybe you feel frustrated in the ways that you're spending your time And that's the reason you're searching for values in the first place You're trying to take control of the way you spend your time, but The way you spend your time likely provides a hint of what you value Look back at your calendar Look at the way that you're spending your time in a macro sense not necessarily You know how efficient you are or how you're wasting your time in your mind But instead what are the categories? What are the ways that you're choosing to spend your time? You could imagine that you might put a label on the way that you spend your time in the evenings Maybe you're playing video games or you're watching TV. These are things that are classically Criticized as time-wasters, but in fact you could look at those and derive what your values are Maybe you are playing those video games because it's a chance to connect with other people Maybe you are watching the those television shows because you appreciate The story lines you you connect with the story in whatever show you're watching Not all of the ways that we think we're wasting time is Actually completely a waste and they can still be insightful to your values most critically So Here's the template that I want you to think about the template. I want you to use as You're looking at your calendar for today or you're looking back on your previous days calendar, you know, however you track You know the way that you spent your time especially if you can look at time that you are Kind of coordinating the time that you are in charge of your free time or time that you are responsible for when you're working Use this template right here it is today. I blank so that blank because blank All right, and here's what what those blanks are filled in with today. I Action so that consequence because motivation today I exercise so that My body would be healthier because I care about my long-term health now here's an interesting thing that you might notice You may have the same start the same action today. I exercised so that I could clear my head because I value being at the top of my mental game day in day out in my work This initial action is perhaps exactly the same but the underlying motivation is different the consequences are similar but the underlying motivation can be totally different This is why you can't just look at your actions and determine a value You know kind of out of thin air just from the actions you have to look at it through the lens of the consequences that you care about from those actions number one and The underlying motivation that drives you to seek those consequences as you do this exercise as you you know fill this template out For multiple actions that you've taken multiple events that you've been a part of Hopefully you start to notice some trends Commonalities between maybe your consequences and certainly commonalities in your motivations Now these motivations as you begin to see these trends might start to uncover some of your values That's the goal of this exercise Now the third exercise or technique to understand unearth your own personal values It's actually look at look at it from the other side to look at it from the angle of an anti-value And here's why a Lot of people when they're asked to determine their values if they're hesitant initially and they might choose something that is safe That's easy to agree with it's pretty much universally agreed upon in most cultures for example saying that you value human flourishing or charity These are not really values as much as they are just virtues things that pretty much everybody Values consider your values from the opposite side though. What do you not value that? Especially is different from someone else you may know this might help clarify what you actually do value For example, you might say that you don't value building a lot of personal wealth This implies in your career for example, you might make choices that are not optimized towards making the most money possible so What are you optimizing for instead? Because you've identified this anti-value it helps kind of leave the door open for a Clarifying question that might lead you to your actual value People who don't necessarily value purse building a ton of personal wealth they might value for example Spending their money earlier in life or maybe that these people value Experiences rather than possessions These are two totally different values both of them stemming from the same anti-value of not valuing building personal wealth All of these techniques exercises that I'm giving you here are just ways of kind of softening that entry level the commitment That you may feel like you are making towards your values by determining what your values are Through this soft entry point this guessing for example You begin to build a more pliable relationship between yourself and the values that you say you possess Having this pliable flexible relationship with values is Critical because it allows you to keep them held with a very soft grip. You don't necessarily have to commit to these values forever Instead the goal is to use them To adapt to your situation to learn from them and as we know Learning almost always is improved through flexibility Thanks so much for listening to today's episode of Developer Tea. I hope that if you've struggled with Developing your own values with writing them down and committing to them that this episode gives you a sense of freedom And it gives you a sense of agency to begin to help define those values those working values for the time being Thanks so much for listening. Thank you again to square for sponsoring today's episode head over to Developer Tea. com slash square to get started at building tools for sellers today If you enjoyed this discussion and you'd like to continue it join us on the Developer Tea Discord head over to Developer Tea. com slash discord that's totally free you join and you basically talk it's a platform for discussion You have a ton of different kind of interest rooms. You can share your experiences ask questions seek feedback There's even some jobs that get posted in there But the majority of conversation is centered on improving and growing as an engineer and as a human being Thanks so much for listening and until next time enjoy your tea