What’s More Important To Your Personal Values: Money Or Freedom?

personal values and what they mean to your career

Personal values differ from person to person, we all know that. Some people work hard their entire life chasing dollar signs and luxury, spending long hours in an office to get there. Others work hard on their passions, but don’t necessarily strive for riches because they value more free time. There’s no right or wrong way to go about it.

But here’s the thing I’ve personally found about personal values: As I’ve gotten older, they’ve become obsolete. Sure, that may seem heavy-handed — after all, we’ve all got personal values we live by each day — but hear me out before you go off and scroll through Instagram because you’re already bored with this article.

Like most aspects in life, you either have to adapt to situations around you or be left behind. And, in my case, my core personal values are the same, but my approach to them is much different than they were a decade ago. No longer am I just working harder to achieve success, but I’m working much smarter.

Since there are plenty of friends and/or colleagues out there who tend to tell me the same thing — or are looking for ways to work smarter instead of harder — here are some tips that I’ve found successful. Take them or leave them, but, hopefully, they can be applied to your personal values in order to reach your own goals.

Personal Values Shouldn’t Be Swayed By Others

“It’s all for the ‘gram,” or “FOMO,” or, well, you get the point. So many times people are basing their decisions on the approval of others. This means taking out your phone to capture every single thing you’ve got going on in your life. Give yourself a break, guys, because that’s an exhausting task.

Look, we’re all guilty of it, but when your personal values are being impacted, that’s when it becomes a problem.

You need to be honest with yourself and ask a very simple question: Am I living for me, or am I living for them? If you’re personal values would rather be traveling abroad and working remotely for some company, go do it. If you think you have more to offer than a soul-sucking, 9-to-6 job, plan ahead, quit, and start the next chapter of your life. It’s on you to live the life you want, not what someone else wants.

How Can You Adapt Your Personal Values?

As mentioned above, my personal values have changed over time. Sure, I still have my core values, I can thank having good family and friends for that, but my approach to achieve goals have become smarter and not harder.

Instead of hustling to make money nonstop and always doing something to chase a buck, I’ve slowed down and began to stretch my income in different ways. Gone are the days of working 12-hour days because I thought it was what’s necessary to reach a million-dollar home by the time I’m 35. In are the days of me working six-hour days, investing my time in what I value and believe in, while investing my money, saving much more through various financial plans and apps — like the Albert app.

To me, being successful no longer means bragging about “how swamped I am at work.” Instead, it’s mentoring other people and being smarter about where I spend my time, current income and how I can save more for my future, all while going with the flow each day. If something comes up that interests me and it’s a full-time job, great. If not, I’m happy with hustling and working on passion projects in the meantime.

Are Your Personal Values In Your Best Interest, Or Adding Stress/Anxiety?

This was a question I started asking myself about one year ago, because I began to compare my life to others and, oh boy, did it add a bunch of anxiety to my life.

Why am I not married or in a relationship? Why don’t I have a house or condo? Do I really see a family in my future? Hell, do I really want all these things to begin with? Man, what did I do wrong in my early years that led to be always hustling, while friends hold down high-paying jobs?

Stop. Breathe.

OK, much better.

If you find yourself like I was, then it’s time to really examine what your personal values are, and if they’re healthy for you. If you’re putting too much emphasis on living a life to impress other people — but aren’t happy yourself — is it really worth living? The answer should be an obvious one: “no.”

There’s already enough stuff in the world to worry about, what others think of your personal values shouldn’t be one of them. So stop using a measuring stick to compare yourself and decrease the stress of failing in your own mind.

If Money Wasn’t An Object, Would Your Personal Values Change?

Seriously, have you ever asked yourself this. Do it right now and see for yourself what your mind (and heart) tells you. Trust me, it’s actually pretty fun.

Sure, you might not want to become a superhero who battles bad guys like you once thought you wanted when you were a kid, but there’s a good chance you find yourself in a spot right now that’s not quite the path you ever wanted to go down. Whether that’s a good or bad thing is up to you to decide.

Maybe you’re making a huge paycheck and get to spend without regret. Maybe you’re already married with kids and, deep down, wish you had taken that remote job before settling down. Or maybe you’ve been working 40 years and never took the chance on yourself to start the Italian restaurant you always dreamed of.

Your personal values define who you are, so don’t sell out by doing something you don’t passionately love.

What Made My Personal Values Change Over The Years?

Ah, yes, a self-reflection question for myself. It’s something that, even as I write, is difficult as all hell to answer. That’s because, at some point, my personal values went from working for others’ approval to working for myself without caring what others thought.

I know, that’s a pretty shitty way to go through life, but that’s sort of how I was living for the majority of mine, always competing to be better than someone, stand out more, earn more, etc. It wasn’t consuming me, but it wasn’t making me happy. In essence, it was debilitating my personal growth.

There was the stress to impress. There was the anxiety to keep up. There was the inability to say “no”. All of these things led me to examining my personal values, and, in effect, how they adapted. I’m still all of those things, but I’m much smarter about the road to accomplishing things than I was years and decades ago.

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