Clients come to see me with specific goals in mind: I want to get promoted OR I want to improve my relationships OR I want to find a partner OR I want to manage my finances better OR I want to be happier etc…
That’s what I call their immediate goal.
99% of the time there is an underlying desire which is much harder to articulate. This desire comes from a deep yearning to live a more valuable life, a more meaningful life and a more fulfilled life.
Understanding that you want to live a more fulfilled life in one thing, but living it is another!
This is because there are some common misunderstandings about living a meaningful and fulfilled life.
One misunderstanding is that
living a more fulfilled life
is about having more.
This comes directly from the language we use when we describe the situation: I want to have a more fulfilled life. It also has to do with the word ‘full’. To get full you have to have more to eat!
If you assess your life by looking at the gap between what you have and what you don’t have, then the goals you naturally work towards will be about filling the gap with things, tangible (like a promotion) or intangible (like a better marriage).
These things, especially the tangible ones, result in fleeting satisfaction. Once you have those things, you will discover that the underlying yearning is still there.
Another misunderstanding is that
fulfilment equals feeling good.
Ellen, a woman I admire hugely, is a wonderful example. Ellen spends 4 mornings of 40 weeks every year running workshops in various prisons around Johannesburg. These workshops rehabilitate inmates and teach them how to lead better lives. (see www.heartwork.co.za). When she is not in the prison, she is preparing for the workshops, negotiating with prison officials, raising funds, organising family days and graduation ceremonies for the workshops.
Don’t for one minute assume that Ellen feels good every day. She is often exhausted. She is often hugely frustrated with the red tape she deals with. Her heart breaks when one of her participants gets unfairly treated or abused in some way. She experiences a variety of emotions, some good, some not so good, as she goes about her life’s work.
While Ellen does not feel good every day, she certainly feels fulfilled.
This is the paradox of fulfilment.
You can experience inner peace while fighting an outer struggle.
Leading a meaningful and fulfilled life is about:
- Fully expressing who you are by doing what is right for you
- Making choices
- Feeling significant
- A life of purpose and satisfaction.
- Living authentically according to your values.
- Being the person you were meant to be
You’re probably thinking –
this is great, but how do I get there?
Watch out for my next blog post- I’ll give you some pointers and exercises to start you on your journey.
“To be what we are,
and to become what we are capable of becoming,
is the only end of life.”
Robert Louis Stevenson