In my Career Clarity Group this past week, a participant asked this question:

How do I assess the value of my ideas/offerings, both from a monetary perspective and a “what does the world need” perspective?

Perhaps you’re facing a similar question. Finding a work-life path that supports you financially and contributes to the world can take work.

If you also long for support in answering this question, this letter is for you.

Below, I’ll share five interrelated points I shared with my client.

One: Be choiceful about how you use the word value.

There are many conflicting definitions for the word value:

  • Merriam Webster defines the noun value as the monetary worth of something and a numerical quantity assigned or determined by calculation or measurement.
  • I often hear practitioners using the word to mean quality support.
  • I define our core values as what matters most to us, the needs we choose to prioritize, our guiding principles.

Quite different definitions, right?

Having internalized the narratives of capitalism, we far too often conflate what people will pay with the importance of an offering.

And yet, we collectively contradict ourselves. We pay meager wages for some of the most important work (care for our children, elders, and disabled and sick people) and spend trillions in ways that don’t align with most people’s espoused values (think the military and prison industrial complex).

Two: Choose a question that serves you more.

I invite you to play with seeing if there’s a question that serves you more than What is my value?

For example, you might ask—What might people pay for this offering?

Or, How might what I love and am good at meet the world’s needs?

Or, What am I actually trying to figure out here?

Einstein famously said:

“If I had an hour to solve a problem and my life depended on the solution, I would spend the first 55 minutes determining the proper question to ask… for once I know the proper question, I could solve the problem in less than five minutes.”[1]

While changing questions may seem like semantics, the questions we ask are like fingers pointing toward the future. The tiniest shift can lead us in an entirely different direction.

Three: Look for the sweet spot between where what you love, what you’re good at, what people need, and what they’ll pay for come together.

I invite you to take a look at the Venn diagram from Spanish psychologist Andres Zuzunaga below.

Venn diagram from Spanish psychologist Andres Zuzunaga below

According to this diagram, a fulfilling, sustaining, impactful offering/career lives at the intersection between what you love, what you’re good at, what the world needs, and what the world will pay for.

While this diagram may be simple, finding the sweet spot in the center is a complex process that requires lots of introspection, conversation, and trial and error.

For help beginning to get clear about the following topics, click to read the corresponding articles.

I wish you all the best on your journey to crafting a work-life that nourishes you in all ways.

[1] Warren Berger. A More Beautiful Question.


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