Find a Job That Aligns with Values / Determine My Values & Motivations

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June 12, 2023
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min read

Let’s talk about how to determine your values and your motivation. So much of what enables you to have a fulfilling career is making sure that the work you’re doing is aligned with your personal values and the things that motivate you. 

Using Teal’s approach and frameworks, we will walk you through how to determine your values and motivations using the following agenda:


Let’s talk about Teal’s approach to thinking about your values and motivation. 

It’s all about that moment in time, where you take a pause, take a beat and think about your career. This might be for something as big as a career pivot and a full on transition to a new occupation, a new industry, or it might be where you take a beat and think about your next position and a promotion.

Pausing and thinking about career exploration is a really important part in the career life cycle of exploring, searching, and developing. The way we think about it is you revisit your style and your values, and you think about what matters to you. Then you get clear on your skills and interests, and you make sure that those things are aligned.

Then you do that exploratory phase of thinking about what's possible. Then you analyze those abilities. Plan and go get it. 

We really think it's about an agile process and treating yourself like an agile development process. These things are going to change. What matters to you when you're just getting out of school, to when you're in the middle of your career, towards when you're the end of your career, these things are going to change.

What we want to do is give you a framework for thinking about these things, so you can revisit them on an interval that's valuable to you. 


Do you know your personal values? Do you know how to identify them, think about them, categorize them, and document them? We have the tools to help you do these things. 

First, let's define what a value is. Values are the key drivers that motivate you and define what is most important to you in work and life. These are important to us now. It's important to state that they can change. Speaking about myself, the values I had when I was in my early twenties, just thinking about my career, are very different than the values I have today with two kids and thinking about my family.

That is absolutely okay. There are some that are truly intrinsic and core to who I am. As I revisit those over time, those don't change that much, but then there are others that might and that's okay. What we really want you to do is to get into the pattern and rhythm of revisiting your values.

You can always be moving your career closer and closer to what those values are in the moment. Values matter because they really affect your fulfillment. If you are doing work that does not align with your values at the time, it will drain you and the work will not be fulfilling, but then the opposite is true.

If the work and the company you're in align with your personal and professional values, then that's going to charge you up. That's going to be the kind of work that you jump out of bed for and you want to do. The greater that distance between your values and the company values, the more energy you're going to have to spend to try to make that work exciting. The closer they are, the more it'll come naturally. It's really important that you try to align your values with the company values and the values of the role, and what's expected of you and the work that you're doing on a day in and day out basis. 

Values help you create boundaries and a benchmark for your career decisions.

What happens is if we are trying to consider everything every time we make a career decision, that becomes incredibly overwhelming, and every decision has a tremendous amount of magnitude. If you can document your values, then you can pass every career decision through those values. 

If you get clear on your values for income and work/life balance, then you can start to have some ideas on what you're prioritizing at the moment.

Again, these things can change, and over the course of your life and your career, they're going to change. If you have them documented, it doesn't make it as heavy every time you have to think about one of these decisions. If you are starting from scratch, that's why we really recommend that you go through this process of documenting and understanding your values before you embark on major career decisions.

Let's talk about how those values start to come together and how you think about them. 

A valuable exercise is to think about what are things you're running away from, which honestly is sometimes a little easier, and what are the things you're running towards. That's where we want to get.

If we’re running away from something, it’s really about a reaction to a negative. It’s something we don’t want to do anymore, and where we go might not get us to what we want to be doing. When you go through this exercise of thinking about what are things you want to do, less of it might be more productive, but ultimately we want to figure out what we're running towards. 

Start to document what you want to do more of. I want to be able to work from home. I want to be able to be on cross-functional teams. I want to work on something with impact, right? These are now telling you things that you want to do. These are some intentions about a future that you're excited about.

We would say those are things you're running towards and want to do more. Once you have them all documented, your run away froms and your run towards, you could start to figure out patterns of things that are coming up on both of those. 

You might say these have to do with work life balance. These are about having a purpose and a meaning in my work. These are about my identity and how I am perceived in the world and how I derive value. What you want to start to do is identify these themes. 

We're going to give you six themes that you can work in, but you can also add your own. 

This is to really help the process. We've done a lot of thinking on ways to cluster these and see these as these six core values for your career. Again, think about things that matter to you. If we missed one, go ahead and add it. If there's one that's really important to you and it needs to be broken up into two, that's okay.

Also what you want is a framework for you to think about your values in a structured way. These are the six that we have. 

These are six categories of values. Again, you can add your own. We generally think they fall into these six buckets, but go ahead and feel free to add your own and start to do the exercise.

We have a template, the Teal Values Workbook. It is meant to help you discern and document your values.

Determine your top personal and professional values to inform your career decisions.
Determine your top personal and professional values to inform your career decisions.

Watch the video to see us do a thorough walkthrough of how the worksheet operates. 


When we talk about motivations, we mean why we do the things we do. What are these things that push me to do this work? Motivations are the forces or influences that cause us to take action or to act or do something.

When we're not motivated, then we become incredibly drained. We need to find motivation in some way. The more that it's intrinsic and it's the things that we naturally want to do, the easier it's going to come and a higher likelihood we're going to be successful at it because we're going to enjoy it and it's going to come naturally. 

The thing about motivation is sometimes it's not obvious to us. It's very deep in there, and it's there for sure, because we don't just take action by accident, but it may not be as obvious.

There's this great framework that comes out of Lean Manufacturing and Toyota's production system, which is called The Five Whys. It's really about getting to the reason, to the core cause for why we want to do things.

We've taken a version of that and co-opted it a little bit to help us figure out our motivations. What we do is we use our values to do that. We go to a value, which we know on the surface, and we put it through three whys instead of five. If you want to go five, that's great.

Sometimes for these things that are a little softer and a little more femoral, it is hard to get deep into it. What we want you to do is think about a value and its impact. Think about why I want impact. It's because I want to do something meaningful. Why do I want to do something meaningful? I want to make a difference in people’s lives that matter to me. Why do I want to make a difference in people’s lives? I enjoy mentoring people to improve their lives. 

That’s your motivation. You can use that as a guiding light for when making career decisions and the roles you’re after. 

The reason we like this is because it's more about intentionality. What's important is to know which decisions are aligned with your values and your motivations so you can be energized and excited about the work you do. 

Going back to the workbook, you can then use your values to start to document your why for each one. Again, watch the video to see how this works. 


In this section, we're going to talk about your vision for your career. Again, like all things that Teal talks about, these are things that can iterate. It's not going to be the only vision you ever write, but having this intentionality will help inform your decisions and reduce some of that pressure that some of these decisions may feel like they have, because you can iterate and we're taking this agile approach to career.

So what is a vision? A vision is a clear and inspiring direction for your future that supports your values and motivations. It is that declaration around what the future could look like that supports your values and your motivations. This vision statement should be a lens by which you can pass career decisions through, that are moving you towards this destination.

Again, the destination can change, because if you arrive there and stay there, you're going to get bored, you're not going to be fulfilled, and you're not going to be growing. It is a moving target, and it is a thing that will evolve, but you want to continue to work on it and work on it and get that clarity around where you want to go.

You want to have this vision statement that feels attainable. You want it to stretch you and you want to have a goal that pushes you, but you don't want it to feel so far that it's unattainable. Having a career vision will motivate you and will keep you engaged in your work because you're inching closer and closer to this thing that you're excited about and this vision that you've crafted for what your career could be.

Now, once you start to get closer and you feel like it's within arms reach, then you can decide when you want to revisit it. That might be when it's really far away or really close. That's up to you, but having this destination that you continue to work towards will help you refine and crystallize your career decision making and what that growth can look like for you.

Your vision will act as this powerful filter because opportunities will present themselves, and it will allow you to be more strategic about your career rather than opportunistic. Now that's not to say that one is better than the other, but so many of us find ourselves in situations because the opportunities seem so good.

That's why having this vision for your career will really help you process career decisions to say, do they move you closer to your vision or further away. Think about it as this bidirectional cyclical process. It's about these iterations.

What you wanna do is you want to imagine this ideal future, and you want to have this intentionality. It's about a destination and an intentionality about where you want to go.

Then you want to think about what you're doing and how you're feeling. What are you proud of? What recognition are you getting? What are the experiences that you're having at a day at work? That's going to help shape what you're excited about, what you're energized by, and what you want to be doing.

Here's a few examples of some vision statements:

Your vision statement will crystallize your values, your motivations, and it will be this statement that you can continue to go back to, to help you make career decisions. 

Use the Vision Template to generate your vision statement.
Use the Vision Template to generate your vision statement.

Now that you have done the values and the vision, and you have your whys for each value, you can start to work on crafting that vision statement in your Values Workbook that is pulling from those things and that includes it and becomes that guiding light for your career.

Wrap Up

Values and motivations are very core principles to how we think about our career decisions. Too many times we don’t pause, take a beat, and think about these things. They’re just implicit. If we’re not aligned with them, they slow us down. Pause to think about it so you don’t make big decisions abruptly.

We want our career to be what it is that we want to be doing. What are those values that we want to be experiencing and exercising on a daily basis so that our work excites us and energizes us and continues our growth. 

We really recommend that you do these exercises and think about your values. The more you have these documented and you maintain it, the easier those will become. 

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Frequently Asked Questions

How can I identify which values are most important to me in a job?

Begin by reflecting on past experiences and pinpoint moments when you felt most fulfilled or dissatisfied. Consider what factors contributed to those feelings. List out your core values, such as integrity, creativity, or teamwork, and rank them in order of importance. Tools like value assessment worksheets or career quizzes can also help clarify your priorities, ensuring you focus on opportunities that resonate with your personal values.

Can my personal values and motivations change over time, and how does that affect my career choices?

Absolutely, personal values and motivations can evolve due to life experiences, personal growth, or changes in your environment. It's important to periodically reassess your values and motivations to ensure your career path remains aligned with them. This might mean seeking new roles, industries, or further education to continue feeling fulfilled and motivated in your professional life.

What are some examples of motivation and values that might influence my job search?

Examples of motivations might include the desire for personal growth, the need for a work-life balance, or the pursuit of financial stability. Values could encompass a commitment to social responsibility, a passion for innovation, or a preference for a collaborative work culture. Identifying these factors can guide you towards companies and roles that share similar principles and offer the motivational factors you seek.

Dave Fano

Founder and CEO of Teal, Dave is a serial entrepreneur with 20+ years of experience building products & services to help people leverage technology and achieve more with less.

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