When I first started as a freelancer, I focused entirely on money. I tried to earn as much as possible through my work.
Don’t get me wrong, I was providing value and growing as a professional designer, but I was limiting myself by only working for money.
I was able to get a decent income, but something wasn’t right. I felt overworked, and I didn’t really like all the projects I had.
And the weird thing is that my earnings didn’t seem to last. I didn’t understand why this was happening, as I’m not the kind of person that would go on shopping sprees or overspend.
One day, I was talking with my friend Sandi, and she helped me realize that I wasn’t doing it right. I was thinking only about the short term (money) instead of the long term (creating the life I wanted).
I decided to make a big change. First, I searched for my core values, and then I took decisions that aligned with them.
You might be thinking, “but wait a minute, Alex. What the hell is a Core Value?”
A core value is a fundamental belief of your own. It guides a lot of your actions, whether you are aware of it or not. Think of it as things and concepts that you hold dear.
For example, one of my core values is peace. I avoid conflict as much as possible, and I always try to find a good solution that benefits all parties involved. That’s just me.
Another example would be growth. I love seeing things grow and give back to the world, that’s why I build amazing websites for people with a mission.
Those values (and many others) guide my decisions and the way I work, it helps me attract and bond with people who share those values. In a broad sense, when I take a decision aligned with my values, then I get good results.
The thing is, even when I wasn’t aware of my values, they still influenced me. If I helped a business grow, I felt amazing. And when I saw violent conflict (like news about war), I felt horrible, even if I was nowhere nearby.
You perceive the world through your values. That’s why some events make you feel like you are the happiest person in the world and some others just bring you down.
So how can you discover your core values?
I highly recommend my friend Sandi and her exercise on core values. It’s easy to follow and will get you running in no time at all.
Once you have your values clearly in mind, you can align your decisions with them. In turn, this will attract the right opportunities into your life. Not in a law of attraction “woo woo” kind of way, but in the sense that you will perceive the energy and opportunities that better fit you as an individual.
They will help you preserve your willpower and build If/Then decisions with ease because they are your guiding light and compass.
For example, let’s say a huge challenge is in front of you and you feel overwhelmed with the amount of information and possible decisions you could take. If you know your values, it’s easier just to take a moment to ask yourself which option aligns with you the best.
Aligning with your values works from the toughest decisions in life to your everyday to-do list.
For me, it was a life changing experience. I started noticing I collaborated with more people I liked, and I worked on projects I loved. My freelancing career took off, and my work is now appreciated and valued even more.
Was it challenging? Yes, it was. But it’s one of the best investments I have ever done in my life and career.
If you know your core values, give them a good review and realign with them (an exercise I suggest you do every six months or when something big happens). If you don’t know them, head to Sandi’s website and run through the exercise.
Oh, and do it now! The life you want is on the other side of that exercise.