This article examines one strategy to keep a balance in your life which reflects your values and priorities.

Getting Started

Appropriate Subject Area(s):

Careers, business, entrepreneurship

Key Questions to Explore:

  • What are my values?
  • How are they reflected by the way I live my life?
  • How can I ensure a lifestyle that reflects my values and priorities?

New Terminology:

Role and identity values; life category values

Materials Needed:

No specific requirements

Study and Discussion Activity

Introduction to lesson and task:

Everyone seeks a life balance that makes them feel comfortable and validated but many fail to accomplish this goal. Often circumstances create situations where a person’s lifestyle or job situation is in conflict with their aspirations and they live busy but unrewarding lives. Avoiding this type of situation is difficult as “life happens” but individuals can, in fact, maintain a position of control if they truly know themselves and have a strategy to constantly remind themselves of the values and priorities which drive them.

This lesson will have the students consider the importance of this self-knowledge and engage in an activity which will help them develop this awareness of self. In this way, it will help them prepare for their future careers so that they can approach that choice with at least some knowledge of their values and aspirations.

Action (lesson plan and task):

  • Begin the lesson by giving the students the old metaphor “The straw that broke the camel’s back”, and ask them to explain what it means.
  • Once they have offered their answers, ensure that they understand that it describes a seemingly mild or insignificant event or action which causes an unexpected large and sudden reaction because of the cumulative effect of a series of small previous actions or events.
  • Ask the students to explain why they think this type of event can happen.
  • Have them understand that it is usually the result of the individual not being in control of their situation and being subjected to a long, frustrating series of events.
  • At this point, have the students offer suggestions as to the ways these types of situations can be avoided.
  • With this as background explain to them that self-awareness, including one’s values and aspirations, can help a person maintain a balance in life and a sense of perspective which will either give their life meaning or help to establish a course of action that can lead to self fulfillment.
  • Using the previous steps a s background give the students a copy of the article and allow them time to read it.
  • Respond to any reactions they may have and inform them that you are going to lead them through a form of the procedure outlined in the article.
  • Ask them to take out some paper and pen and:
    1. Write down the five character values which provide focus for their lives.
    2. Once they have done this, have them write down their five life category values.
    3. As a third task, have them write down their role and identity values in priority order. (They may not have five but if they have more limit them to five.)
    4. Once they have done this, have them complete a pie chart (explain to them if needed) which indicates the areas where they spend their time and the percentage of time spent in each of those.
    5. Once this has been done, have them examine their character values and life category values and compare those to the pie chart which identifies where they are spending their time and energy.
    6. Ask them to consider their personal data to see if there is congruence or if they think changes need to be made.

Consolidation of Learning:

  • Once they have completed the examination of their personal data, pair them with a fellow student and have them share their findings with their partner, each giving feedback to the other.
Success and Additional Learning

Success Criteria:

The students will be able to:

  • Explain the importance of maintaining a life balance
  • Outline a strategy for examining one’s life to ensure congruence with values and aspirations.

Confirming Activity:

  • As a concluding and reaffirming activity, have the students list those aspects of any future career choice they will consider in order to give them the best opportunity of selecting a career which will be rewarding and meaningful.