Illustration by Christian Leborg


Align your work with your values

To change your career, talk to professionals with the lifestyle that you want. What did they do to get where they are?

Take your hero’s activities and use them in a story with a structure with increasing action and complications. Show how the activities helped to gain competence that could solve a problem. The plot of the story describes how the protagonist discovers a problem and receives a calling to do something about it. Describe the steps they took to get the skills they needed. Write the actions they did to solve the problem. How they performed the work, and the adjustments they made after implementing the work process.
The story is about a mission based on values: Define the skills the main characters need to complete the mission. These are skills you must consider gaining. By interviewing them, they will give you a map of what to work on getting into the career you want. Why do people align their actions to the values? You know your core values for work. Imagine this story with your core values as the theme of the story.
Your story defines your purpose
To imagine stories about your future ideal work, you need to create several scenarios where you assume that the skills you need match your values. The skills you gain will be valuable to the people who receive your services. This establishes what Cal Newport calls “career capital”. Your work is valuable to you and also to people who are struggling with the problem you are solving.
Now is the time to establish the disciplines for learning. It is an agile process where you formulate assumptions about skills you need to become proficient in. Create a system that makes you responsible for how much you invest in learning. These skills will give you results in the areas you want to master. It is a process where hypotheses about actions can lead to results.
You take action to learn what you need to solve a problem. If you turn these actions into a story, you will hear and feel whether they will yield results. Tell that story to yourself and others. They will recognize if the story is missing something to make an understandable plot. When you perform the learning disciplines, you will feel where you are in the story. After you have completed the actions, the story shows if you have succeeded.
Goals you need to align your values
The ideas for skills must be activities you feel you need. Learning activities must point to skills that you enjoy doing and that you consider important to improve your purpose. Always go back to the activities you feel, and others confirm, are in line with your personality. Solve a problem that is close to your heart. Other people’s practice suggests skills you should achieve, but check they feel right and fit the project.
Career capital is the skills you have that are rare and valuable to the working world. This is the key currency for creating work you love.–Cal Newport 
Improvise that you have the skills that you need to reach your goals. There is never a straight line from acknowledging a problem to solving it. It is like scientific research where you have to plan a hypothesis about what can solve the problem and perform experiments to prove or disprove them. The assumptions you can base on research in the field, but it’s mostly about intuition - you feel what can work. 
  1. Master a skill that is rare and valuable.

2. Cash in the career capital this generates for the right rewards.

Study Hacks Blog, Beyond Passion: The Science of Loving What You Do

Progress is always difficult. You need to engage in the creative process with methods that you know will work. You have imagined how the story unfolds, with the activities that the main characters do to drive the story forward. In your story, the actions you perform must match the role you play and the values the character has. Activities that are not likely that a character do, make the story not work.
The ideas you try out will shape your work story. When you are engaged in activities to change your career, you think a lot about what will help in that pursuit. This is the story with your values and your stakeholder’s values and how they shape your mission. Base your learning activities on your learning goals that are derived from your purpose. Improve ideas for skills that are rooted in what is valuable to you.
Does your competence reflect your values?
The climax of the story is to confirm if it’s about your values. You have reached the goals that lead to your purpose. You have changed your career by learning a new profession. Success will depend on whether your new skills reflect values that are important to you and important to others. Go back to the activities you like and are good at, and decide what values they point to. Did that story process reveal the right skills to establish valuable work?
Work procedures as business models
Develop an action plan with the criteria in a model of work. Who do you want to help and how do you help them? What are your primary activities and why do you interact with these people. What skills do you have so they know you can deliver what they need? Who can help you and what do you have to invest in time and effort. What is the reward you get from the work you have put in? 
Will the main protagonists in this story have the right skills to do valuable work? A test question will be: Will the competence revealed in this story correspond to the values of all stakeholders? You have found professionals who have established a working life that is like something you are considering. You have conducted and analysed conversations with them, and now you are doing the activities they have done in the past to learn what they know. But does it match YOUR values?

Exercise: Attach hours spent on the body of work and how that aligns with your values.