Category Archives: Edmonton Career Counselling

Core Values: Improving Our Relationship With Ourself


Something I work with almost ALL OF MY CLIENTS on, is improving our relationship with ourselves.  This starts with changing the way we evaluate our worth by exploring our core values.  There are many factors that influence how we evaluate our worth including:

  • Society values
  • Family values
  • Our experience growing up
  • Pressures such as perfectionism, making money and the focus on beauty
  • Need for approval
  • Need for control

One thing we know in psychology, is that people tend to be happier, have fewer psychological issues (like as anxiety and depression), and have a more consistent positive experience in life when they use INTRINSIC VALUES to evaluate themselves, vs EXTRINSIC VALUES.

EXTRINSIC VALUES (the ones we want to avoid when possible) include factors such as achievements, compliments, approval, and social media responses (such as the amount of “likes.”  There is a big difference of using EXTRINSIC VALUES as a motivator or goal versus using them to evaluate one’s worth.  A common problem people experience when using extrinsic values to evaluate themselves, is they can be doing everything well, and not be getting the feedback they need.  Extrinsic values are often out of our control and we don’t get accurate feedback because we rely on others – such as a boss (who may not be good at giving positive feedback), society (that often has ulterior motives such as to sell us something), or an arbitrary assessment (such as a test that focuses on a small proportion of your knowledge). 



So………what are INTRINSIC VALUES and how do we integrate them in our lives?

INTRINSIC VALUES are values that tell us about who we are.  These values are typically consistent throughout our adult lives (and often developing in childhood and adolescence).  There is no intrinsic value that is better than the other.  Here is a Intrinsic Values worksheet that I give out to help prompt thinking.  There are many more values a person can use – but Intrinsic Values list will help you get started.



From the list, choose 5-10 values that are true to you.  This may take a few read overs to go from a larger list to a smaller list.  

A way to tell a true value vs. “nice to have traits” is that if you were to get $500 000 to no longer have that value, would you take the money?  For example, I like being tidy and I know society values it (and those around me), but I would take the money to no longer be tidy.  However, I would not take the money to no longer be kind, helpful or hardworking.  So these are my true values.  Also be aware of the pull towards values that society values – that may not be as true to you.  

Societal values are constantly changing – and remember, this is about finding your own PERSONALIZED values, that tell us about what influences your thoughts, feelings and behaviors.  

Questions to Ponder

  • After looking at the list, is this someone you would want to be friends with?
  • Does this give you any new perspective about why you enjoy certain people, and why others seem not to be a good fit in your life?
  • Do your values give you any new deeper insight about a value conflict when you have been upset or hurt?

Incorporating INTRINSIC VALUES Into Your Life

  • Each week or two (set an alarm), rate yourself from a scale of 1-10 of how much you incorporated these values into your life.  A lower score does not indicate poor performance, it means that may be a value that may need expressing or nurturing in the next coming weeks.  Likewise a 10 does not mean perfection, it means you utilized that trait highly during that time period.
  • The above activity is also good to do when you are feeling down or upset.  If you are upset with another person, focus on yourself, and notice what the situation says about you, rather than being judgemental of someone else.  
  • When working on a new goal, such as a healthier lifestyle, studying for a new career, or trying something new, be extra purposeful of using these INTRINSIC VALUES along side when evaluating progress.  For example, put a sticky note with your values on the scale to prompt you.

How Survive Edmonton Job Loss or Uncertainty

5 Ways to Survive Job Loss or Uncertainty in Edmonton – by Mallory Becker, R. Psych.


Let’s face it – the job market in the land once known for its high paying jobs, opportunity for advancement, where people would flock to from far and wide currently sucks. It is dismal at best in Edmonton and Alberta. The poor job market came out of nowhere with many people unprepared, and it seems like those who took a pay cut to do the work of 2 other people are the ‘lucky.’  While many things are out of our control, there are some things we can do to increase our chances of survival – as it will (eventually) get better.


  1. Plan Ahead

I’m not saying you need to be collecting bottles in all your spare time, but organizing can help. The issue with many people in Alberta is that we don’t have a rainy day fund, and we don’t do a good job at being prepared. Keep an eye on the job market, make a budget (use a helpful tool such as, and make sure your resume is ready to go. Get in touch with a headhunter to get pointers about your presentation to employer and get in touch with another job market.

  1. Manage Your Anxiety

There are so many people around us that feel uncertainty and insecurity can be transferred others. The job climate, coupled with a lack of control is the perfect recipe for anxiety. It is always easier to cope with a job loss when you all ready have coping tools. Most people who seek out counseling for crisis, or to “put out fires” often require more sessions and have a longer recovery than those who come to acquire life coping skills. Either way we are here to help, but if you have benefits, use them to inoculate yourself. This way if you loose your job, you can spend your time searching for a new position rather than being debilitated by fear and overwhelming emotions.


  1. Network, Network, Network

Many people are worried to “use” the people they are connected to for job prospects. I understand the frustration family and friends have when people only come to them when they are out of a job, rather than discussing opportunities coming out of proactive and mutual 2-way conversation. Talk to your friends and family about their workplaces including potential opportunities, and attend networking opportunities (such an Edmonton Business Association lunch and learn or ask someone on LinkedIn you have similar interests to have coffee). If there is a company you have always been interested in, set up a time to meet up and learn more about the company including potential future opportunities. Remember, 80-85% of jobs are not advertised.

  1. Define Your Brand

Many people in the job market have a difficult time because of the “I’ll take what I can get mentality.” It is very important to get to know your strengths and weakness so you can have a clear sense of what you can bring to a company. It can also be helpful to work with a career counselor (which is a service we provide) or a business mentor to help you focus your brand. A focused brand also demonstrates confidence, which is a trait highly correlated to trust.

  1. Balance

The people who experience the most distress after a job loss often spend too much time and focus on work. They live to work, rather than work to live. This is very unhealthy and can lead to many physical, psychological and relationship issues


Make sure you are spending time with your family, friends, hobbies, volunteering, fitness and personal development. A well-rounded person also looks better on paper and in a job interview. The more interests you have, the higher the probability you will have something in common with the individuals hiring you.


In the event of a job loss, or if you feel it may be coming – we can help. Avoid having the stress boil over onto your loved ones. We can work on gaining more self-awareness for your personal brand, discuss job-searching strategies, and learn tools to deal with stress and anxiety.