Recap: BWT Workshop: Align Your Values to Your Career Goals
Last week I had the opportunity to attend a BWT workshop with roughly 30 other attendees virtually here in Vancouver. The workshop was centered around finding, establishing, and following your own values, that can guide you to be more mindful when planning your career.
Our host Hellen Yang, a Wealth Consultant and Professional Certified Coach, passionate about helping people navigate their life, has previously trained Vancity leaders in how to grow and create meaningful work for their teams. Hellen is especially proud to have successfully designed and piloted a Women and Wealth Leadership Program for internal employees at Vancity. She also believes how you are in relationship with yourself directly impacts your relationship with work and life.
How do you establish your values? Take a moment to look at:
- everything you’re saying yes and no to
- how you’re living on a day-to-day basis
- what gives you motivational drive
- things that truly provide you fulfillment
From this quick exercise you should realize that your values are already there, there’s no need to establish them from scratch. In fact, they have probably guided you to where you are now. Before the workshop, we also had a bit of homework. Learning about dressing up in your own, personal style being the perfect way to express who you are on the inside was a game changer, at least to me. This made me think what other decisions I can be more mindful about to display my values and personality.
In terms of values, taking a look at BWT’s goals of “connect, learn, and grow,” we can see how these simple words have provided the structure for BWT to connect women in business, for participants of organized events, programs, and initiatives to learn more, and grow from these experiences.
Once you have your values down, where do you go from here? This part requires quite a bit of work and introspection.
To improve your personal development skills, you need to do this by improving your coaching skills. To be able to help, guide, and coach yourself to reach your goals, you need to practice and learn how to help others first. Two major skills in coaching you can improve include:
- Practicing open listening
- Asking powerful questions
Hellen shared with us a very powerful quote: “Most people do not listen with the intent to understand, but rather they listen with the intent to reply.” This quote outlines passive communication with others, or rather “closed listening”. I myself have been on both ends of this faux pas, being annoyed when someone is obviously checked out and other times being submerged in my personal worries when someone is trying to interact with me.
Closed listening is described as when we hear the words of the other person, but we focus on what the message means to us. This means that throughout the conversation we are involved in our own secret, internal dialogue.
Open listening is when you’re completely focused on the other person and the topic that is of great concern to them and their thought processes and feelings. You are listening to the whole person, not just their words.
Below are examples of some common thoughts you may find yourself thinking when listening to others. Think about the last time you had a meaningful conversation, did your thoughts fall under open or closed listening?
|Open Listening||Closed Listening|
What are they focused on?
What does that mean for them?
How are they measuring success here?
What values are the expressing under their words?
What emotions am I noticing in their voice?
What underlying beliefs or assumptions could they be expressing?
How is this impacting them right now?
How is this going to impact me?
What can I say next?
When have I experienced this in the past too?
What would I do about this?
Where could I take this conversation next?
What do I need to tell them?
How can I solve the issue for them?
So how do you get started? In this workshop we were grouped with two other people, in which we shared an accomplishment that we were extremely proud of in the past 6 months from either our personal or professional lives. Thinking about this scenario also acted as a visualization practice. We were asked to think deeply about our recent accomplishment in terms of:
- What does it look like?
- What’s the environment?
- What does it taste like?
- What’s the colour?
- What does it feel like?
By sharing our most recent accomplishment with someone else, this exercise gave us the chance to practice open listening and coaching. Listeners had a chance to actively contribute to the conversation by asking:
- What makes this accomplishment important to you?
- What’s underneath that?
- What else?
In the workshop, Hellen highlighted that a simple, “What else?” can go a long way in helping others to get to the core values. Listeners were also encouraged to provide impressions of our values based on the accomplishments we shared. After this exercise, we provided the insights we gained for the whole group.
My main takeaway from this workshop is that the session provided us with a space for others to listen to our stories and be able to connect with us on a deeper, genuine level. As someone who is at the early stage of my career, this workshop was exactly what I was looking for in helping me to start determining my values to align them with my professional ambitions. As Hellen stated earlier, everything you do and don’t do, outlines what you value in life. In moments when you feel a strong emotion, these instances often mean that your values have been impacted. Knowing this, you can start planning how you can go forward while maintaining your values. Discovering your values is a journey that you yourself have to want to begin, but the sooner you start, you will be able to find more fulfillment in your life.
A big thank you to Hellen Yang, BWT, and attendants for making this workshop happen!
Written by Rojina Sar Salari