I firmly believe that success without fulfillment does not equal happiness. There are many successful career professional and extraordinary business owners, who despite reaching their top professional goals, keep asking themselves this one profound question: “Is this all there is?”
Do you ever feel that way? Like something is off or something is missing from your life? Do you feel disappointed because you thought that when you accomplished something significant in your career you would instantly feel fulfilled, but you still don’t?
Based on my own experience and the daily work I do with my clients, I know that fulfillment is key to creating a well-balanced and happy life. Throughout our lives, we are taught how to be successful, but we are not taught how to be fulfilled and live our lives in alignment with who we are, and what we really want. As a result, we often become preoccupied with somebody else’s definition of success and happiness or live our lives based on other people’s expectations.
Here are some powerful questions you can ask yourself if you want to experience more joy, happiness and fulfillment in your life:
I know this question may surprise you or even trigger some emotional reaction. After all, theoretically we all feel like we know exactly who we are. But when you dig deeper and look at yourself and your life from the bird’s eye view, you may find there is a disconnect between who you really are and the way you live your life.
For example, some of my clients told me they feel as though they have to put on the mask when they cross the gateway to their corporate offices. Others realized that they have passions, hobbies or interests they suppressed because they felt guilty even thinking about doing something for themselves. Finally, many of us are afraid of fully expressing our true potential because we think we will be judged, criticized or ridiculed for being different from what our society defined as normal, realistic or rational.
This is such a powerful question. When little kids learn about the world around them they persistently ask “but why?” until they get the answer that satisfies their curiosity. Asking “why?” can help you uncover some valuable information about yourself and how you live your life. Why do I do what I do? Why do I feel the way I do? Why I don’t do what I want? And don’t just stop by asking one “why”. When you find the answer ask again, and then again, and what you uncover may surprise you. I call it the power of 5 whys exercise, and I often use this technique with my clients. For example: why do you want to make more money? Because I want to be rich. Why? Because I want financial security? Because I want to buy all the things I desire? Why? Because I want to feel free and independent. See? In this case, at the core of wanting more money lays the need to feel free and independent. And this need can be immediately fulfilled not just by increasing your bank account, but also by incorporating daily experiences and activities that make you feel free and independent.
What are my values? What are my priorities? What matters most? Who matters most? How do I want to feel in my life? Once you answer these questions ask yourself if your decisions, choices and daily actions are aligned with what’s important?
I love this quote by T. Harv Eker “The number one reason most people don’t get what they want is that they don’t know what they want.” Are you surprised to hear this? You may be thinking that you know exactly what you want. But based on my coaching work I learned that most people don’t have clearly defined and specific goals in life. For example, many people think that the statement “I want to lose some weight” is a goal and are surprised when I tell them that it is merely a wish. To turn this statement into a goal we would have to start by defining how much weight we want to lose, by when, and how, etc.
The answer (or answers) to this question will help you deal with adversities, challenges and your own limiting beliefs. Unfortunately, this is where most people give up prematurely before they get to experience the true benefits of living their life with intention and meaning. Quite often we just want the “quick fix” and aren’t willing to do the work it takes to create personal or professional fulfillment we desire. On the other hand, highly successful people are always willing to go the extra mile, deal with their fears, and move past the challenges.
Be prepared that it may take some time to answer all of the above questions. But the self-awareness you gain in the process will allow you to create a solid foundation for the change and improvement you desire. After all, you can’t change what you don’t know. The first step is to understand what’s not working and why. Once you know what’s not working you can focus on defining what fulfillment and happiness mean to you and how you can start living your life in alignment with who you really are.
Each one of us has the power, the ability and the resources to create the life and work we love! Start by answering the above listed questions and keep exploring until you find your own path to happiness, success and fulfillment.
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