YOU DON’T WANT TO BE FULFILLED
Todd Dewett | July 19, 2021
It sounds good, right? According to most dictionaries, to be fulfilled is to feel satisfied or happy.
You don’t want to be fulfilled. You want to be intermittently fulfilled. You have to make it a part-time job or it becomes a full-time problem.
To feel fulfilled, when predicated on hard work and achievement, is a just reward. It’s the beautiful exhale, the smile of knowing you climbed the hill, the comfort of knowing you’re capable. It’s also the realization that you’re no longer under pressure to maintain progress. You’ve reached a summit of sorts and relaxing is understandable and justified.
I agree, but if you don’t put your satisfaction and happiness on a clock, they will slow you down and make restarting the journey difficult.
Here’s my advice:
Step 1. Work very hard, make sacrifices, achieve, and enjoy feeling fulfilled. You earned it.
Step 2. Watch the calendar carefully. Typically, more than a few weeks of experiencing joy and contentment is enough. After a nice period of indulgence, choose to end this phase of the journey.
Step 3. Set new goals. You need focus and motivation to start climbing again. Choosing to view your past achievements as mere preparation for the next mountain you’ll tackle. Be specific with your goals and be at least a little audacious.
Step 4. Identify new skills. If your new goal does not require new training or skill-building, it’s not sufficiently bold. Read a book, take a course, sit at the feet of someone who can teach you something useful. Learn.
Step 5. Tell a few key people about your new goal. Whether it’s the next promotion, running a marathon, or starting a business – tell someone who matters to you. I call this “going public.” When you go public, you add a little needed pressure and motivation. People are watching you. Time to get busy.
Step 6. Stop enjoying so many indulgences. Beer, steak, vacations, ice cream – whatever you’ve been enjoying a lot during your period of contentment, stop it. Start earning your indulgences by achieving milestones on the path towards your new goal.
If you understand this process and embrace it over time, something magical might just happen. The striving, the climbing, the process of hitting the next summit becomes just as fulfilling as actually achieving whatever you’re chasing. Then fulfillment isn’t a threat. It’s a state of joy that you feed differently over time.
Great, but until you’ve reached that very nuanced understanding of fulfillment, stay vigilant. Admit it can be a problem. Choose to deal with it. Follow a process like the one above and keep moving! Good luck.