RISK-TAKER’S TOOL: Creating Core Values for Your WOW Career


Though you may work for a company that has a mission or value statement of its own, I want every one of you to create core values – who you want to be, as a professional. Not just for your job or for a company, but for your very own wow career. Today, take a moment to reflect on your work identity, looking back at some high and low points you’ve experienced over the years. Now imagine letting go of the lows and focusing on the highs. Take a few deep breaths and create a vision of the career you really crave – the career that puts your skills, passions, strengths, temperament and personality to work. One that includes just the right balance of people, projects and environment you need to flourish. It doesn’t matter if you see yourself as the owner of a one-person dog-walking service or part of a mega-corporation. What’s important is, well, what’s important to you.

Next, create a list of the top ten or so values that you want to bring to that picture, every day. To help you get started, take a look at the following and see if any of these describe your core values. Don’t worry if you’re not experiencing each stated value on the job right now. I just want you to be able to identify the values that are important to you, overall. Later, you’ll determine how to present these in your current job – and we’ll look at some ways you can either infuse more of them into your work or use them to decide if it’s time to look for your next opportunity.

  • Be authentic, real and respectful
  • Give great value to our customers
  • Help people learn and grow
  • Collaborate and communicate as a team
  • Take risks and innovate
  • Be open to change and growth
  • Build robust relationships
  • Be creative and resourceful
  • Laugh and have fun
  • Care for friends, family and community

By the way, this list represents my own core values, professionally. You’re welcome to borrow from it to help you get started. Now, write out your list. It should include about 6 -10 items. Make sure you’ve got enough on there to cover your career bases, but not so much that you lose your focus or end up trying to be all things to all people. And be sure it honor your strengths, skills and passions?   If necessary, make any tweaks or revisions.

Now post your core values list proudly where you can reflect upon it often. Remember it’s not meant to be a laminated plaque on your wall. It’s a living document that should inform all your choices and actions – especially the tough ones. As you return to your values list (often, by the way) try to think of recent decisions or events in your life that directly correlate to the values that you’ve listed.

This is one way to really be ready for the great opportunities (aka risks) that will come to you in 2011 – if you’re open for them and ready!  I hope to hear from many of you this weekend as you go through this process. Feel free to post your progress on my Facebook Group wall, or to email me at info@LibbyGill and let me know what your most important core values are and where you hope they will take you.

To your continued and immediate success!

Libby Gill, Branding Expert, Executive Coach, Keynote Speaker and Best Selling Author of “You Unstuck – Mastering the New Rules of Risk-taking in Work and Life”