The concept of values clarification dates back to Socrates, who said that an unexamined life is not worth living. It is based on various “strategies” designed to help people rank-order their priorities, clarify their values, and if indicated, choose more appropriate ones.
One of the people most associated with values clarification is Sidney Simon, Ed.D., author of numerous books on the subject. It was at one of his workshops that I was first introduced to an extremely effective way of looking at values in terms of work.
To facilitate awareness of work-related values, Simon recommends evaluating the following areas:
- service to others.
These are the economic and psychological rewards most people associate with work. The idea is to rank them in order of importance to you. The purpose: To help clarify what work-related values are most significant in your life at this time and to then make decisions about your practice that are consistent with them.
Begin this process by rank-ordering these values in order of importance to you from one to four, with one being the most important and four the least. If you need a fifth category, add it.
Most of us have aspects of all four of these in what we do. Rank-ordering may not be easy. The results, however, may lead to an adventure in self-discovery.
One Texas chiropractor, bored with his practice, became a team chiropractor at his local high school. The on-site care needed at games was far different than that of every-day practice. The result has been a tremendous boost to his enjoyment of practice. He benefits also from valuable contacts with players, coaches, family members and team physicians.
In the process, this doctor has received wide name recognition and numerous awards for his work. But he never would have become involved with team sports if he had he not recognized and accepted his need to shift gears at this stage of his career.
Rank-ordering your professional values will give you an idea of whether you need to change gears or whether you should keep on doing what you’re doing.