265: The Power of Identifying Your Core Values for Career and Life Fulfillment

265: The Power of Identifying Your Core Values for Career and Life Fulfillment

In this episode, I discuss the importance of identifying your core values for first generation BIPOC students and professionals. I share my own journey of pivoting careers and prioritizing values alignment over external expectations. I also go over the basics of what core values are, how they shape your personal and professional decisions, and give you practical tips for identifying and implementing them in your daily life.

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265: The Power of Identifying Your Core Values for Career and Life Fulfillment


Dra. Yvette Martinez-Vu: [00:00:00] Welcome to the top global ranked and award nominated grad school femtoring podcast. The place for first gen BIPOCs to listen in on conversations about grad school, and growth. In this podcast, you'll learn about all things higher education, personal development, and sustainable productivity. This is Dr.

Dra. Yvette Martinez-Vu: Yvette Martinez Vu, and I will be serving as your femtor, providing you with tips and tricks and everything else you need to know to successfully navigate grad school. For over 14 years, I've been empowering first gen students of color along their personal and professional journeys, and I'm really excited to support you too.

dra--yvette-martinez-vu_69_05-28-2024_195742: In 2016, I made the difficult decision [00:01:00] of not pursuing the tenure track job market and instead applying to jobs in academic affairs and student affairs. Despite having filed and completed my dissertation, despite having graduated with my PhD, despite knowing the fact that I was going to be disappointing so many people, I followed my gut.

dra--yvette-martinez-vu_69_05-28-2024_195742: And I made a pivot. I once again pivoted in 2021. This was shortly after the pandemic had started. I had been working for a grad school preparation program and I found myself completely overwhelmed and feeling misaligned and needing a change. So I left my job after nearly five years in pursuit of moving abroad and entrepreneurship.

dra--yvette-martinez-vu_69_05-28-2024_195742: And here I am, it's a [00:02:00] couple of years later, And guess what? I am so glad that I made these pivots. And I can tell you that underneath both of these very big decisions that did disappoint people, I was not disappointing myself. And instead, I was making a change. and pivoting in pursuit of values alignment.

dra--yvette-martinez-vu_69_05-28-2024_195742: So for today's episode, I thought I would talk about core values and why they are important to you, how they can positively impact your career and life, and how you can get started with identifying your core values and starting to make decisions from that perspective. So what are core values? If you're new to this concept, I'd be surprised because I feel like I talk about values all the time.

dra--yvette-martinez-vu_69_05-28-2024_195742: It's something that comes up over and over [00:03:00] again in my one on one coaching sessions, my consulting sessions, and my workshops, even some of my keynotes. I talk about this a lot. Although I went back and did a search for my podcast episodes and was really surprised that I hadn't dedicated just one solo episode to the topic of core values, core values for me refer to.

dra--yvette-martinez-vu_69_05-28-2024_195742: Your fundamental belief systems, your guiding principles that influence your actions, the thoughts that help to motivate you to do what you do. These are really important concepts and paradigms that you believe in that shape your priorities, that shape your goals, that shape What you do for a living, how you live your life.

dra--yvette-martinez-vu_69_05-28-2024_195742: So it's, it's really important stuff that we don't always get to talk about openly. It's not, [00:04:00] I mean, I, I haven't heard of any, , K through 12 or university setting that openly talks about, okay, let's learn about personal development and core values. That's not something that was introduced to me, at least.

dra--yvette-martinez-vu_69_05-28-2024_195742: I didn't start to learn this until I started to get into the space of personal development, and this was all of my own learning. My own interest in personal development and self help led to me discovering this and feeling like, okay, now everybody that I surround myself talks about this, but that's not necessarily true in higher ed.

dra--yvette-martinez-vu_69_05-28-2024_195742: And I know that a lot of you that listen to me, you are students, you are college students, you are graduate students, and some of you are also working professionals. You are working professionals, working full time, interested in going back to grad school. You are early career Professor's assistant professors postdocs.

dra--yvette-martinez-vu_69_05-28-2024_195742: So I have a wide kind of breadth of folks who listen to this podcast. In fact, even the age range is [00:05:00] pretty, , broad. I've got ages from 18 to 35 in terms of who my audience is. So I know I'm talking to a lot of you and I know that for a good amount of you. Maybe you haven't had an opportunity to have this conversation with yourself or with others about values and why they're important.

dra--yvette-martinez-vu_69_05-28-2024_195742: If you haven't had an opportunity to assess and determine what your core values are, I'm going to give you a couple of tips and pointers. The first is you want to find a list of core values so that you can start to take a look at what they look like. If you're not sure what I'm talking about, I'll give you a couple of examples right now.

dra--yvette-martinez-vu_69_05-28-2024_195742: Some of my core values, which are pretty obvious to the public, are the values that align with me and also with the work that I do through my company, Grad School Femtoring. So if you go to my website, you'll see my, the values of, of Grad School Femtoring are compassion, accessibility, social justice. [00:06:00] And they happen to align with my values.

dra--yvette-martinez-vu_69_05-28-2024_195742: That's why, that's why they're there. So I really believe in compassion because I used to be that person that was really, really hard on myself. And I was really, really hard on myself because my surroundings were really, really hard on me. And I internalized that. And one day I realized that I was the one being the hardest on me.

dra--yvette-martinez-vu_69_05-28-2024_195742: And that even though it was not my fault for The amount of harm that I received as a child. And as a young adult by the systems around me, what I did have control over was how I talked to myself and how I treated myself. So the moment that I started to be more self compassionate with myself was the moment that I started to be more compassionate with others.

dra--yvette-martinez-vu_69_05-28-2024_195742: And it Became a ripple effect. As I was more compassionate with others, they were then more compassionate with themselves and with those around them. [00:07:00] So I , really deeply believe in the power of compassion. And to be honest, I feel like compassion is one form of antidote to all the harm that we see.

dra--yvette-martinez-vu_69_05-28-2024_195742: It's an antidote for all the oppression that so many of us experience. So of course it makes sense that another. Core value of mine is justice, social justice. And for me, at the root of social justice is a love, love of others, love of our world, love of our communities. And so of course you're going to want to fight for that.

dra--yvette-martinez-vu_69_05-28-2024_195742: And then accessibility to me. reminds me of my deep belief in dismantling gatekeeping and my deep belief in providing access to resources, to knowledge, to accommodations that allow all kinds of people to survive and thrive. As a disabled person, [00:08:00] I Can't not believe in accessibility and I'm trying to learn to be better because I still have a long way to go in terms of my own learning of how to make my work more accessible.

dra--yvette-martinez-vu_69_05-28-2024_195742: So those are a couple of core values. I also have a value of growth. I deeply believe in learning and growing. So of course growth is one of my core values. I also believe in integrity and I do my best to try to be as honest as I can be. To be as upfront as I can be. And I, I know I'm not perfect. Of course, no one is.

dra--yvette-martinez-vu_69_05-28-2024_195742: I make mistakes, but I also know that all I have is my integrity, especially as a small business owner, especially as someone who makes a living off of working in community with others. I have to. You know, keep that in mind. I have to, , I know not everybody does this [00:09:00] and this is why I think I saw, where did I see, it must've been on Instagram.

dra--yvette-martinez-vu_69_05-28-2024_195742: I saw this post that said something along the lines that like, Oh, it's taking you longer to reach your goals because you're not like lying and cheating. And you know, Being disingenuous, etc. And that's what it reminded me of is, okay, yeah, I have some pretty strong values and I also have a strong sense of wanting to uphold my integrity.

dra--yvette-martinez-vu_69_05-28-2024_195742: And so I don't do all the things that I know I could potentially do to make money because they just are not, they're not in alignment with, again, my values or my sense of integrity. So That's super important to me. Now think about this for yourself. I just shared a lot about my values. What are your values?

dra--yvette-martinez-vu_69_05-28-2024_195742: What comes up for you? Take a look. I actually, uh, in my blog post, I have a blog post that provides a [00:10:00] comprehensive list of a hundred core values. Take a look at that list and see what resonates with you. If you struggle to pinpoint what resonates with you, think about formative moments, especially formative positive moments in your life and any underlying values that could show up there.

dra--yvette-martinez-vu_69_05-28-2024_195742: Or think about individuals that you look up to and what core values you admire in them. You could also think about the impact you want to have and how you want to remember it in the future and if there are any core values that come up for you then. If you want to take this a step further, I also have a values assessment exercise.

dra--yvette-martinez-vu_69_05-28-2024_195742: It's part of a bundle of my values assessment exercise and my life assessment exercise. These are exercises that I created and that I designed especially for first gen BIPOCs because I felt like everything I found out there was not specifically [00:11:00] created for first gen BIPOCs in mind. So I do have that on my website.

dra--yvette-martinez-vu_69_05-28-2024_195742: I believe it's 20. Correct me if I'm wrong. , if you have the financial capacity, you want to support my small business. You want to explore this topic further, check it out. It's a download and it also comes within a an accompanying video to help walk you through that exercise. That's something else you can check out.

dra--yvette-martinez-vu_69_05-28-2024_195742: Or you could just, like I said, with my blog posts or by Googling values assessment, see what comes up for you and do this on your own. Now, let's say you know what your core values are. You can narrow it down to your top three to five. Then what? The key here isn't just to do it, set it, and forget it. You don't want to do that.

dra--yvette-martinez-vu_69_05-28-2024_195742: Ideally, you want to start making decisions informed by these values. And this can show up everywhere. This can show up in how you budget and manage [00:12:00] your money. This can show up in how you spend your free time. This can show up in the types of jobs you apply to. This can show up in The type of lifestyle you want to have.

dra--yvette-martinez-vu_69_05-28-2024_195742: This can show up in the types of relationships that you're looking for and that you're cultivating. This can show up in so many ways. That's why it can positively impact your career because I get that a lot of us have jobs, especially in the silent recession. A lot of us have jobs just to pay the bills.

dra--yvette-martinez-vu_69_05-28-2024_195742: Maybe it's not a job we love. Maybe it's a job that we Really do not like, but it pays the bills. Ideally, though, I hope that you can work your way toward finding a job that has some sort of alignment. It doesn't have to be perfect. It doesn't have to make you happy all the time, but I also don't want it to be harmful.

dra--yvette-martinez-vu_69_05-28-2024_195742: I also don't want it to [00:13:00] be something that you're miserable doing because we spend so much of our time working at the very least up until we retire if we even have the option to retire. So if you know you're someone who has to work because you have to find a way to make ends meet to put food on the table, you ideally want to work your way toward getting a job that has some sort of value alignment somewhere, right?

dra--yvette-martinez-vu_69_05-28-2024_195742: So think about that. Think about how your values can impact your career choices. Think about, , how your values can even help you make the next decision that you are iffy about. , I've heard a lot of people say, Oh, if it's not a hell yes, then it's a hell no. And I think about that for myself because I have had opportunities that I don't even have to hesitate.

dra--yvette-martinez-vu_69_05-28-2024_195742: It's a hundred percent. Yes. It's just so clearly in alignment with what I do that I'm like, yes, yes, yes. And then there are other [00:14:00] opportunities that there's a little bit more Blurred lines, or maybe it's a little bit more fuzzy. I'm like, Ooh, it kind of aligns in this way, but not in this way. So then I have to really kind of do an assessment of like, where does it align?

dra--yvette-martinez-vu_69_05-28-2024_195742: Where does it misalign? And which one is more important to me. And that helps me that helps me to make decisions. It's I've also gotten better at it, where now I am a lot better at making decisions and making decisions more quickly. I can spot out definite no's a lot more quickly than before. Whereas at one point, I think I would.

dra--yvette-martinez-vu_69_05-28-2024_195742: Always like my automatic response to most people was a yes. And now my automatic response is a no. And then it's only the things that really align that I say yes to. And again, it depends on my priorities. So, knowing my core values, knowing my priorities, that helps me to make my decisions. So this is why I wanted to have this conversation with you.

dra--yvette-martinez-vu_69_05-28-2024_195742: [00:15:00] To some of you, this is going to sound very familiar. To some of you, I'm going to sound like a broken record, especially if you've worked with me one on Especially if you've hired me to conduct a workshop, especially if you have joined my group coaching program. I talk about this a lot and you know what?

dra--yvette-martinez-vu_69_05-28-2024_195742: I talk about it a lot and I don't get tired of it because it is so important. It is , really important. Whether you realize it or not, we all have fundamental belief systems that impact us. And like I said, when there is misalignment, You can usually pin it down to some sort of conflict or tension or differences in values.

dra--yvette-martinez-vu_69_05-28-2024_195742: Going back to what I mentioned in the beginning, when I decided I didn't want to go on the tenure track, it was because I knew I wanted to. a job where I could prioritize service work. I wanted to serve others. That was a [00:16:00] top value of mine at the time. So service for, well, actually it's still kind of is a top value for me too.

dra--yvette-martinez-vu_69_05-28-2024_195742: I still continue to serve people. So service first, then teaching, then research. That hasn't changed even to this day. And then again, when I left my job in, , higher ed in 2021, I was looking for more freedom. I was looking for more. ease. I was looking for more authenticity. I wanted to be able to be my full self and not feel like I had to censor myself.

dra--yvette-martinez-vu_69_05-28-2024_195742: I wanted to be able to speak freely and not just give advice based on the goals of the program that I worked for. And that's, you know, those are some of the underlying reasons why I decided to leave my job. , it all became too much and at the end of the day, I realized I needed to do less to honor my body, honor my mind, to honor my spirit.

dra--yvette-martinez-vu_69_05-28-2024_195742: [00:17:00] So for you, if you're feeling a little bit stuck or if you're feeling like you want to make a change, consider trying out this exercise, consider identifying your core values, write them down, put it, put it somewhere where you can see it regularly and use that as a guide. A guiding force to help inform your next decisions.

dra--yvette-martinez-vu_69_05-28-2024_195742: That's it for today's episode. I hope you found it helpful and I will talk to you all next time.

Dra. Yvette Martinez-Vu: Thanks so much for joining me in the Grad School Femtoring Podcast. If you like what you heard, here are four ways you can support the show. The first is to make sure you're subscribed and leave a review on Apple Podcasts. If you email me a screenshot, I'll send you a surprise freebie. The second way is to get your copy of my free Grad School Femtoring Resource Kit.

Dra. Yvette Martinez-Vu: which includes essential information to prepare for and navigate grad school. You can access it at the [00:18:00] link in today's show notes. The third way to support my show is to follow me on social media. You can find me on Instagram with the handle at grad school, femtoring and on LinkedIn by searching my name.

Dra. Yvette Martinez-Vu: The last way to show your love is to order a copy of is grad school for me. My graduate school admissions book for first gen BIPOCs. Thanks again for listening and until next time.

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