What does success mean to you?
In the dictionary, it’s described with a lot of “A” words: accomplishment, achievement, attainment. Usually, we are trying for all those “A” words when it comes to our goals.
We feel successful when we attain a goal. We feel successful when we accomplish a task. We feel successful when we achieve a lifelong ambition.
Funny thing about this kind of “A”success though, it’s a moving target. Like the horizon line before us, our ideas of success move just beyond our reach. Once we’ve reached a goal, we do something psychologists call “habituate.” We get used to it and so pretty soon it’s lost it’s shine and we are ready to reach for another.
Luckily, there is another way.
We can shift our focus from always going after the prize and instead start looking for a feeling of fulfillment.
Here is the #1 Way to Feel Fulfilled Even When You Don’t Always Feel Successful.
The #1 Way to Feel Fulfilled Even When You Don’t Always Feel Successful.
The #1 way to feel fulfilled is to make sure your goals and your dreams, no matter how big, how small or how far you’ve progressed in achieving them are in alignment with your heart and soul, otherwise known as your True Self. It’s about making the shift from striving to being.
It’s about making the shift from striving to being.
A great way to work on shifting from striving to being is to reflect on what matters most to you and identify what, in life coaching, we call your Core Values. Once you’ve sorted those out, begin to live intentionally honouring those values.
Here’s an example. I have spent many years working. Since I was 17 years old, I left school and joined a band. I wanted to be famous. I wanted to be successful. I wanted to be really good at what I was doing.
Those were my goals. And I achieved them all to some degree.
But I never felt fulfilled.
I felt excited sometimes. I felt accomplished many times. I felt proud, especially when I knew I had done a good job, played a good show, or written a good song.
But I never felt fulfilled.
In my early thirties, I left music and enrolled in University. I had no idea where this would lead. I didn’t have a clue what courses to take. And as a high school dropout, I had never even written an essay.
What did I want from University? I wanted to find myself.
My goal in university was to find myself.
This was a completely different kind of goal. It was more about “being” than having or doing. And it was much more aligned with my True Self. Even though I didn’t have the language for it then, I had a deep core value of learning and growing. Finding myself resonated with me completely.
I felt fulfilled every single day of the seven years I was in school.
Did I fail? Sure. I had some major flops. Did I succeed? Sure. I had some major triumphs. Regardless of my level of success, I never lost that inner feeling of being in the right place at the right time and doing the right thing.
That is a big part of feeling fulfilled. It’s a peak experience. It’s when things align with your True Self and you feel like “all is right with the world.”
Recently, I went through a similar shift.
I am a big believer in setting goals each year, reviewing each quarter and adjusting strategies for achieving them. But I was bumping up against a brick wall in one area in particular. I’d start with great enthusiasm, have some success and completely lose interest.
One morning while working on goals with a friend, it dawned on me. I did not feel fulfilled. The work I was doing in this one area left me bland, no jazz, no juice, no octane.
It reminded me of my youth in the music business. As soon as I had that awareness, I had an answer immediately. Unless I could align my goals in this area with my heart and soul, my True Self, and my Core Values, I would never find the energy I needed to succeed.
And truly, I could not.
So, I dumped it.
Instead, I listened deep within and heard what I needed to do.
I needed to make my spiritual living my priority, no matter what else I was doing. Unless I recommitted to that, I was never going to feel fulfilled no matter how successful. But with my goals and focus aligned with my Core Value of spirituality I could feel fulfilled, in spite of limited success.
What that ended up looking like was a recommitment to morning meditation, spiritual study, writing and daily/ moment to moment surrender. It looked like me intentionally being of service rather than trying to be successful.
I don’t always accomplish those tasks and goals. And I can get lost in trying to be more successful sometimes.
But it doesn’t seem to matter. What matters is my mental shift from striving, striving, doing, doing, achieving, achieving to simply …. being.
Being with my heart. Being with my soul. Being with my understanding of spirit. Being with myself.
And that is the #1 way to feel fulfilled even when you don’t always feel successful.
Focus on simply being. It feels so good.
In joyful being,