Do you need both success and fulfilment? It’s possible to have success without fulfilment. However, this can leave you feeling empty. You can have them both, if you choose to. And you’ll have a happier and more satisfying life when you achieve both.

Unfortunately, most people measure success in terms of wealth, acquisitions, career or business growth and achievements, social status (including positions held in society, marriage and parenting), power, and political acumen (among other things).

Fulfilment on the other hand is an inside thing. It’s a mindset, a feeling, and a state of being. You can be fulfilled even without the outer trappings of success. I’ve seen this in some people whom we might judge as having very little. Yet they have an inner joy that radiates and touches everyone they come into contact with.

Today, we redefine success and come up with a new way of having more fulfilment in our lives, careers or businesses even as we work on physical success.

This post is the third in a series of 4 posts on self-care and self-love as we work through the 28 Days of Loving Yourself Challenge. The 4 posts in this series are:

Why run the Challenge?

Our roles in life and society can easily take up our attention, time and energy to the extent that we put our self-care on the back seat. We’re daughters, sisters, mothers, wives, significant others, employees, business owners and have other societal obligations. All these make it quite easy for us to focus on others at our own expense.

The 28 Days of Loving Yourself Challenge helps remind us that we too matter, and that our self-care is just as important as all our other roles. For many who take part in this challenge, this time is well spent, especially after the December and January hustle.

Why is it important to have both success and fulfilment?

Have you ever felt let down or empty after achieving a big goal or milestone? It’s something you’ve worked so hard to achieve or have wished for for a long time. Then you get it…and you wonder why you’re not so happy or fulfilled despite the success.

If you’ve been working on and achieving your goals for years, then I’m sure you’ve come across the unfulfilled side of success. I can’t count how many people have come to me with the words, “Is this all there is?” These are phenomenal women who are making strides in their careers or businesses, but the success feels empty.

Fulfilment is not dependent on financial success

Anthony Robbins, one of the world’s most renowned personal development experts, notes that “Success without fulfilment is the ultimate failure. This typically happens when you measure success with outer gain. It also creates an illusion that gets harder to maintain. Eventually, it can lead to burnout and/or depression.

While physical success and the look of it are important, it’s also critical to ensure that success doesn’t take away your fulfilment or leave you feeling unworthy or not enough.

After these examples, here are some tips to help you achieve both success and fulfilment, and we’ll count down from #3 to #1.

3 Keys to Success and Fulfilment in Your Life

Key #3. Find your Sweet Spot

You can work very hard and be highly talented, and still end up unhappy, unsuccessful or unfulfilled. Or you achieve massive success but end up unhappy and unfulfilled.

How can you find both success and fulfilment through your career, work or business?

You must find your Sweet Spot and become remarkable at it!

Imagine you’ve drawn a Venn diagram with 3 intersecting circles:

  1. What you love doing.
  2. Whatever comes easily to you.
  3. What pays you well.

Your Sweet Spot is the middle, where all the circles intersect. This is the career, job or business that satisfies what you enjoy, what you’re good at, and what the market pays for. It’s something that you love doing so much that you would do it for free (and are probably doing it for free already). At the same time, you’ve excelled at it and there’s demand for it in the marketplace.

Note that these 3 elements have to be present in order for you to find your Sweet Spot. Missing out on one will eventually lead to frustration, being stuck, or feeling unfulfilled no matter how successful you are.

Does your Sweet Spot match your reality?

Once you’ve identified your Sweet Spot, evaluate your current career, job or business.

Does it match your Sweet Spot? If yes, then you’re very lucky to already be where you’ll excel in a fulfilling way. Of course you have to work towards your success or goals, but being there is already a big positive.

If you’re not in your Sweet Spot, ask yourself what you can do to get there. Do you need to get some more education? What industries are ideal for you to work in? Do you have enough experience? And most importantly are you willing to do what it takes to get to your Sweet Spot?

You don’t have to jump ship right now if you’re not at your Sweet Spot. You can:

  • Read a book or manual to gain new knowledge or skills.
  • Sign up for a physical or online course to boost your knowledge or skills. If time and money are scarce, sign up for online courses on platforms like Udemy or Coursera. You may even find a course that’s totally free!
  • Apprentice part-time with in a company, organization or business that does what you’re looking for. I did this prior to setting up my coaching business when I worked part-time for a personal development company.
  • Join a networking forum where you’ll find people who are already there. You learn from them and get an inroad into the network…and possibly a job offer.
  • Start a part-time business in your free time to get into that space if business is what’s calling to you. Check out the 12 Weeks to Startup e-course if you’re looking at setting up a service-based business.

Identifying your Sweet Spot is not the end

Do what you can right now to get to your Sweet Spot job, career or business. Start small and take baby steps. This is not a sprint. It’s a marathon that gains momentum as you move ahead diligently.

It’s also important to redefine what success means to you. What is a successful life for you? If you’re thinking of achievements or acquisitions and focusing only on those, then you’ll get them and still feel unfulfilled.

Instead, why not go a step further and get crystal clear clarity about your Vision for your life? This is not just about work, career, business, accomplishments, and acquisitions. It’s the totality of who you are.

Go beyond setting goals and create your ultimate life. Clarify your personal values and be true to yourself. Then live these values from now on and make them an integral part of your growth as you work on living your Vision, one step at a time.

Finally, celebrate your past, current and future accomplishments – both big and small.

Key #2. Practice never-ending gratitude

Gratitude is a short-cut to fulfilment. Be grateful for who you are, where you are, what you do, and what you’ve achieved. Celebrate past, present and future achievements (even if they show up later than you expected).

There’s always something to celebrate, no matter where you are or what’s going on in your life. At the very least, be grateful for being alive and being able to listen to or read this lesson.

At the beginning of each coaching session, I always ask my clients, “What are you celebrating today?” or “What are you grateful for today?” What I’ve found interesting is that this question always catches the newbie clients off-guard for the first 3-5 sessions.

I’ve also yet to find someone who’s able to answer it immediately during these first few sessions. Most times, I get the response, “What am I celebrating today…?” or “I can’t think of something to celebrate today…it’s been a hard week!”

There’s always something to celebrate

I’m quite tenacious about this and stick to the question until someone digs deep and comes up with something small they can celebrate. If they’re really stuck (and this is my absolutely last option), I share something I’m celebrating for them…a milestone or growth they’ve achieved within their coaching, but they haven’t seen it.

Invariably, in all sessions, this question changes the tone of the session. You see, a lot of times people come into their coaching sessions with a list of things they’ve not accomplished or what’s gone wrong since their last session. They’re already beating themselves up or feeling sorry for themselves.

When we shift into thinking of something to celebrate, their mood shifts and they see possibilities. In fact, a lot of times, they see their challenges differently and even come up with solutions before we get into the session. That’s the power of gratitude and looking for things to be grateful for at any given moment.

Another aspect of gratitude is giving from the heart. When you give your time, resources and money, you’re appreciating what you already have and sharing it with others. When you share, you’re telling yourself that there’s more than enough. Giving is addictive and it shifts our mind to one of abundance.

So remember to practice never-ending gratitude. Look for things to be grateful for, and give from the heart.

Key #1. Change who you spend your time with

Your ability to have a successful and fulfilled life is deeply affected by your people environment. You truly are the average of the people you spend most of your time with!

This is where rubber hits the road because it’s not possible to make changes in your relationships without first being honest with yourself. So this step is one that many people avoid!

If you’re in a bad romantic relationship or marriage, you’ll have a challenge being fulfilled.

If you hang out with toxic or negative people, that is the mindset you’ll achieve. And…having such a crowd means that there’s very few people who will celebrate and appreciate you.

How is your work environment? I get sad when I listen to people who work in very toxic environments and yet they stay because they think they can’t get anything better. Some of these environments are so abusive that people get sick or depressed. Still, they stay.

What about your friends, relatives and social circles? Who is there that needs to be kicked out? Or is it you that needs to kick yourself out of some people’s lives or some social groupings?

Nothing will change if you don’t:

  1. Set and enforce strong boundaries.
  2. Have the courage to make the required change(s).
  3. Make yourself a priority.

Your life is a directly related to your networks. If you spend time with positive and empowered people, you’ll step up. If you’re with negative and toxic people, you’ll step down and lower your standards. Evaluate your people environment and make the necessary changes, hard as they are, if you want to have a happier and more fulfilled life.

Over to you…

If you’re feeling down or find that you’re becoming too hard on yourself, go back to these 3 steps and use them to create more success and fulfilment in your life.

Find and step into your Sweet Spot – in your career, job or business. Practice never-ending gratitude by looking for things to be grateful for and giving from the heart. Change who you spend time with and surround yourself with positive and empowered people who appreciate you, cheer you on and hold you accountable.

You don’t even have to wait until you’re feeling down or beating yourself up before taking these steps. Make them a part of your daily routine by tapping into them daily. Start your day by focusing on your Sweet Spot, thinking about 5 things you’re grateful for that day and evaluating your people environment.

Doing this will give you instant fulfilment on a daily basis and give you a boost as you work on your goals. You’ll see a big shift in your life, mindset and results within 3-6 months.

It’s also important to acknowledge that success is very personal. It’s individualistic. My definition of success is probably very different from yours even if we were talking about the same thing. It’s also possible to have success without fulfilment, but it leaves you feeling empty.

Despite this, success and fulfilment don’t have to be 2 sides of the same coin. You can have them both if you choose to. The strategies shared here as a first step to getting there. Use them to make your life happier and your success more meaningful.

(Image credit: Unsplash)

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