Are Your Values Calibrated Internally or Externally?

Do you have to know “WHO” you are?


Retrospective analysis of who you are and what core values and actions motivate you is important. But I believe it’s worthless if you get so fixated on being YOU that you aren’t open enough to change, learn, and grow.

Are your values calibrated internally or externally?

Or do we confuse our values with how other people view our values; externally rather than internally?


Put yourself in someone else’s shoes for a moment:

You’re a hard worker and dedicated to your career, but then swap “suddenly” to working for yourself? Your colleagues may be shocked. (I was once “jokingly” called a traitor for leaving a job to go overseas.)


But perhaps that person who left their job saw that their hard work had a ceiling when it was for someone else, and they recognised a role they could fill that would be more professionally, personally and financially rewarding by working for themselves?


Swap now to being the colleague. This great person has left. I’ve worked in a lot of places, and when someone leaves a job (temporarily or permanently) then the next topics of conversation are always:

  • How will we get the work done? Will I have to do more work?
  • Who will get their job? (Heck, sometimes you’re lucky if a company bothers to replace staff, but that’s an entire topic of its own.)

And that ignores any possible feelings of jealousy, abandonment and things I really have no skill to write about!


Has that original person’s values changed? Does it just depend on which perspective you’re looking at it from?


How do you make sure you can change and keep your values? Or should values change with age, experience and life?


Vanessa Smith


  1. Ooooh, a deep one today…

    I like something that Kelly Exeter posted on FB about there being a difference between self-esteem and other-people’s-esteem (i.e – the esteem you get from other people)

    I think it’s really important that people maintain their own values, their own moral compass, and their own-self image – separate from the influences around them – you can borrow from the external influences, but in the end we’re all alone in our own heads… that’s an experience none of us can really share with anyone else, so you need to be happy with yourself and who you are and how you live your life – this is WAY more important than how other people see you.

  2. Ooh la la, a BIG QUESTION! We’re all constantly evolving, and as such, I think it’s completely natural for our values to be altered with our age and experiences.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *