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Are we motivated by Goals or Values


Are we Motivated by Goals or Values? 



We’ve all probably read quite a lot about goals. Goals are part of our personal and professional lives. We are encouraged to have challenging goals and work tirelessly towards them. How marvellous it will be to have achieved that goal. Goals are of course good for us, good for teams and organisations. 


It is important, however, that we set and work towards goals in the context of our own values. Without values, goals in themselves are meaningless.


So, firstly it is important to distinguish goals from values. Goals are a final destination and values are how we get there. To use an analogy, values are like heading West. You never actually arrive at a place called West. It’s a direction to go in. 


Goals are like going to London or Manchester. You set off and will arrive there. We then know that our goal has been achieved. A goal might be getting that promotion, new job or moving home. A value might be creativity or being of service to others.


Goals and values are therefore linked. Values help us set goals and work towards them, even in the face of setbacks or adversity. We are far less likely to give up on working towards a goal, in the face of difficulty, obstacle or challenge, if we are mindful of the value(s) our action is in the service of. So, if you feel like giving up, or have difficulty starting something, ask your self ‘ Which values will be served by taking this action?’ ‘In the service of which value will this action serve?’


In an ever changing world, it is wiser to be flexible in our goals. Circumstances, beyond our control may change. Unforeseen events may take place.  Even if we have not yet achieved a goal, then we can at least live and work in accordance with our values. No matter what external events or circumstances surround us, we can live in accordance with our values and achieve success that way. 


Whilst our values are more in our control, it is important that we allow the possibility of being flexible with these too. We grow, learn and mature all the time.


Goals and values are crucial for individuals, teams and organisations. 


Remember to hold your values close, but also remember to hold them not too tightly.