How to Achieve Your Desired Level of Fulfillment AND Success

There is no fulfillment in things whatsoever. And I think one of the reasons depression reigns supreme amongst the rich and famous is that some of them thought that maybe these things would bring them happiness. But what, in fact, does is having a cause, having a passion. And that’s what really gives life’s true meaning.

- Benjamin Carson

 

What is the difference between “Fulfillment” and “Success”?

A simple model to conceptualise human life is two interlocking circles – we live in two worlds: The Inner World and the Outer World. The left circle (called ‘Being’) is our Inner world; the right circle called ‘Doing’, is our Outer World.

The Inner (Being) circle includes our emotions, values, purpose, beliefs, strengths and passions, principles, intuition, soul / spirit structure (if you believe in these two). These ‘Being’ elements are what make us distinctly and uniquely us. This inner or unseen world is where we experience life, our conscious reality.

The Outer World (‘Doing’ circle) is the world of transactions, where we give expression to our ‘Being’, exhibit our ability and interact with other things / people. This world is made up of facts and figures, results and outcomes, systems and processes, efficiencies. It is the easily seen world of physical manifestation.

If we were to apply achievement to each of these domains, then achievement in the Being side is a deep sense of Fulfillment (happiness); achievement on the Doing side is Success (accomplishment or the accumulation of things).

The above quote cautions us that success in the Outer World has an inherent emptiness or, as Stephen Covey describes it (7 Habits of Effective People), beware climbing a ladder only to find that, when you get to the top, it’s been against the wrong wall.

Achieving Fulfillment AND Success is the space in the middle of the two circles. And for that we need a special planning process that incorporates both the Being and the Doing sides of life – a more holistic approach called Future Mapping.

Future Mapping

Future mapping differs from the traditional approach to planning (aka goal setting) because “it involves aligning your values to your desired outcomes and ensuring it fulfills your purpose in life” (Jolt Challenge Book, Pg 256). We want our ladder to be against the right wall!

The two foundational platforms for Future Mapping are:

  • your life purpose, and
  • your life values

Purpose

Working on the premise that nothing exists for no purpose, we can safely assume we each have a purpose. A ‘chunked up’ purpose would be that we are here to create; but what about the ‘chunked down’ purpose – the purpose that is unique to each of us?

No operating manual was provided with that information. So the options are: find it or create it. Both require self-reflection and introspection because there exists an ignition spark within it; almost sacred matter for each person.

A person living their purpose feels it; they feel connected to their life source, feel ‘on track’, following their true north. An abundant passion is released. It gives life its meaning. At a core level, consciously knowing one’s purpose completes us, confirms us. These are the realms of fulfillment.

One approach to finding / creating that purpose is reflecting on provocative questions, such as:

  • What have been the defining moments in your life?
  • What contribution would you have most like to have made?
  • What are you doing when you feel ‘really alive’, at your best?
  • If I could change one thing in the world, it would be…
  • Who are your role models and why are they your role models?
  • Then look for the patterns within your answers.

Finding or creating our Purpose statement, then, is the first step towards fulfillment via Future Planning.

Values

While our values may be abstract concepts, their impact is very concrete; they influence every decision we make and every behaviour we undertake.

To identify our values, we need to ask ‘what things are most important to me?’

For some it might be money or family or career, so the follow-up question to answer is: what do these things represent? It is what they represent that indicates the core values. So if a person said ‘family’, family for them could represent freedom (or love or acceptance or belonging or security). So in that instance, freedom is the value.

The question could also be applied to a specific area e.g. ‘what is most important to me in the area of…home (or relationships or work or health)?” We have a different value sets for the different areas of our lives.

These values lie in our semi-conscious and their influence is absolute – deconstruct any decision you have made and it can be traced back to a value you hold. Our behaviours (how we spend our time) are an extension (and expression) of the values we cherish.

They are also the lenses through which we observe the world and ourselves. If someone transgresses one of our values, we feel angry. If we transgress one of our values, we feel guilty.

If on the other hand, we act in alignment with our values we feel wellbeing, a fulfillment. As in the two intertwined circles, mentioned earlier, when our actions (Doing) are congruent with our values (Being), we are experience the wellbeing state in the middle.

Our values were first created in the families we grew up in; we simply absorbed their values to fit in with the family. Our peers then influenced them as we went through adolescence (again adopting peer-group values, to fit in). Both of these stages happened unconsciously, we were not aware of the process and, as a result, may not be conscious of what our values are now.

The path to fulfillment (an inner peace of mind) lies in knowing (or selecting) your values consciously and then behaving congruently to these.

Getting to Fulfilled AND Successful

Using the backdrop of our purpose and our values, we can then consider what we want to accomplish / obtain in the outer world – that would be both supportive of, and congruent with, that purpose and those values.

Now we can apply the more traditional goal setting formulas, and there are a host out there. A couple I use are:

  • SOAR – strengths, opportunities, aspirations, results (by when) … and resources needed
  • T-BEST – Target, Barriers, Enabling Strategies, Tactics

Someone seeking a level of both fulfillment AND success must nourish both the inner and the outer (their being and their doing) equally.