Identify Your Values

Learning to identify your most important values is critical to your overall success. Ideally, every career choice you will make will reflect your values. The most difficult decisions often involve conflicting values in your personal and professional life. Understanding what you value, and what priority you give each of those values, will help you to select the choices that bring the greatest sense of fulfillment.

When your actions reflect your values, you not only feel a greater sense of control over your life, but also experience satisfaction when you make those tough decisions.

How Do You Identify Values?

Identifying your top values is the first step toward achieving goals that match those core values. Strongly consider these values when making important decisions, and whether you should compromise them. Compromising is important and necessary, but be careful not to forfeit too much or you may regret it later.

Values can be fulfilled in many areas of your life, including work, leisure, volunteering, traveling, reading and hobbies. You don't have to search for a career that will meet ALL of your core values. A healthy lifestyle complements some of your values in every activity that you do.

The most common values in military spouses are:

Money
Initially, this is a value that many spouses hold as a high-ranking priority due to financial realities. Over time, money might become less important than self-actualization. For example, an older military spouse might seek to develop a skill or knowledge, or increase the degree of work autonomy.

Time Alone
Whether or not you draw your energy from others is an important attribute to recognize. If you value your time alone, some occupations may serve you better. Also, be sure to schedule it into your day if it isn't already a natural part of your routine.

Recognition
From stay-at-home parents to career professionals, the full range of military spouses desire some sort of recognition. Often, there are established work incentives that help to recognize your contributions. If not, you should make it a point to recognize yourself. If you've accomplished a goal -- big or small -- verbalize it, write it down or tell someone.

Hard Work and Challenge
Hard work doesn't always have to be labor-intensive. There are many mentally stimulating tasks that you can hold valuable -- even games, sports and hobbies. If you aren't currently finding the kinds of challenges you seek, you might consider becoming a volunteer! An organization, project or event might be the missing piece to your puzzle.

Honesty
Whether you are involved in a product or service-based industry, you must value the primary mission. In discussions, you must always feel comfortable telling someone about what you do in your personal and professional life. Being honest and true to yourself, your family and your country is an important consideration.

Altruism
This is a common core value found in the military community. In general, military spouses have a genuine concern for others. This is often expressed by choosing a profession in the service industry. Think about the populations that you care about, and how you can make a difference to them. For example, teachers value the youth. Nurses care about the health and wellness of patients.

Autonomy
Military spouses value their autonomy. If this is a core value that isn't being fulfilled, then find sustainable ways to incorporate this priority into your lifestyle. If you rate this as a top priority, then starting your own business might be for you! (link to Home-Based Business Here)

Family
Your family is not limited to those sharing your homefront; it can also mean your nationality, race, religion or ethnicity, or even a group or organization that elicits strong feelings. Since many military couples have children, the family value can be a major area for stress and concern in a lifestyle defined by deployments and relocations. Be careful to avoid major choices that lead to compromising this value too much.

Knowledge
This could mean increasing or complementing your current knowledge-base. Often people find true fulfillment when they continue to learn new skills. The pursuit of knowledge should never be an isolated objective, as with achieving a specific degree, but rather a lifelong goal.

In addition to the above values, there are several characteristics common in many military spouses. They can also help you define what your career direction should be.

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