Is This the Life You Want? Honoring Your Values

I work with clients frequently on understanding what their values are. What I mean by values is what is most important to them. To be happy at work and at home you will want to be honoring your values. If you are not sure what your values are, sign up for my values assessment on this website. You will find it on the top right of this page. Are you honoring those values? The hygienist I talk about today gave me an insight into her parents view of American values. Whose values are you honoring?

The dental hygienist who came out to greet me was new. I hadn’t been to this dentist in over a year because his office was on the 10th floor and I didn’t want to take the risk to go up the elevator during the pandemic. Now that I was vaccinated, I decided it was worth the risk.

My dentist works alone and has one hygienist. When I asked what happened to the old one, the new hygienist said she didn’t come back after the quarantine. Who could blame her? I can’t think of a with more risky job than cleaning people’s teeth during the Covid 19 pandemic.

The new hygienist didn’t seem concerned. She told me she was happy at work and couldn’t think of anything she would rather do, risk or not. She shared that her parents had lived in the US for a while but returned to Viet Nam because they thought that in the US the only thing people do is work. Interesting!

The hygienist went on to say that in Viet Nam her folks worked in the morning and went home at lunch time for a meal together and a nap. They returned to work later in the afternoon and never worked late into the night as they saw many Americans do.

The story brought back memories of my childhood here in the US. When I went to elementary school everyone in the school went home for lunch. Not only did school children go home for lunch but some workers did too. My father managed during his lunch hour to drive home, have lunch with me and my mother and lie down in bed for a 10-minute nap before driving back to work!

We weren’t always workaholics in this country. In the 1980’s when I first started working for New England Telephone people left the office at 5pm. No one stayed late. The company valued employees who spent time with their families. They publicized that an employee was a little league coach, scout leader or band leader.

In later years it became a badge of honor to put in long hours at the end of the day. Some folks even made it a point to leave a voice mail message for their boss at 3 am!

I’m not sure when the shift to working long hours came but I do know that by September 11, 2001 there were many people for whom work was their first priority. In an article entitled Values Based Living I quoted a New Yorker who after the terrorist attack said, “I love my job but now I know what is really important and it is not this!”

When I ask most of my clients what is most important to them in their lives, almost all say it is their family. No one has ever put their job first in importance. Yet when I ask them to keep track of what they do daily in 15-minute increments it is clear that they are not spending time with those they say are most important. You only recognize their importance when a tragedy hits. Ask anyone who has lost a loved one to Covid 19.

So, as we all begin to return to the office, ask yourself if you are honoring your values by living your life focused on what is most important to you. Now is the time to make an adjustment to do just that.
Take action:

  1. Record your activities in 15-minute increments for a full day. Even better if you do this for a week. Now check to see where you are spending most of your time. Does it honor your values?
  2. Ask yourself if there is anything you want to change about the way you are working.
  3. Make the adjustment you decide is necessary.

Facing a challenge that has you stuck or confused? If you want some help to discover what you want to do and to help you develop a strategy to get what you want without someone just telling you what to do, call me at 782-598-0388 or email me at Visit my website


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