If you would ask me what is the one thing most people in our society need, I would say fulfillment. One of the most complex human emotions and in my perspective, one of the noblest things to aim for in life. It is also something many people are far from reaching, and even far from understanding.
Finding fulfillment has been a big topic in my life in the past few years, so big that it sort of overflowed and I ended up helping other people through my coaching to find fulfillment as well. There are lots of things to say on this topic. But I’ll keep it simple, in presenting my 4 steps guide to finding fulfillment.
Step 1: Understand what fulfillment is. As an emotion, fulfillment is something very different from pleasure or other positive emotions. Pleasure is the basic positive emotion you can feel while you are doing a certain activity, and it’s the sign you are passionate about that activity. Seeking pleasure is all good, but it is not fulfillment.
Fulfillment is a more evolved psychological state, which reflects the fact that a certain activity is meaningful for you. It doesn’t mean you like it, it means that activity is aligned with your values and as a result, your mind interprets it as meaningful. It is only then that you filled fulfilled.
Step 2: Know your values. If the feeling of fulfillment is a reflection of doing things which are aligned with your values, it makes sense that knowing your values well is a must in order to be truly able to find fulfillment. This is something I find that most people have a problem with, which is why they struggle with finding fulfillment.
As yourself this essential question: “What is important to me?” Maybe it’s balance, learning, variation, helping others, creating, being popular or any other thing. This question is one of the best ways I know to discover your values. The key is to stick to it and to focus on the most important things.
Step 3: Create your strategy. Unfortunately, once you figure out what is important to you, it’s not likely that you will be able to get it at the stroke of a finger. Things like fame, success, money or independence don’t come just like that. Oddly enough, even helping others in a meaningful way usually can’t happen just like that.
You need a strategy. You need a sequence of well organized actions to go through, in order to end up aligning your life and your career with your highest values, and to keep them that way. So, gather information, think things through and develop a strategy to create the right conditions for your fulfillment.
Step 4: Fill in the gaps. Sometimes, you will find it hard, almost impossible to align your life with a certain value. You may want to have balance in your life, but you keep finding demanding bosses, which constantly require of you to work overtime, leaving you little time for anything else.
A situation like this is just a sign that you need to get to a new way of being, to be able to deal with this. In other words, you need to develop certain skills or attitudes. In this example, you may need to learn how to set boundaries and how to say no, then you will be able to create balance in your life. Most failure in living by your values is just a sign you need to fill in the gaps in terms of your skills and your attitudes.
This guide is so far nothing but words with a form. In the end, what matters the most is putting it into practice. The fundamental lessons I’ve learned about finding fulfillment is that action and an open mind are the most important ingredients. Put this guide into action, and you will see some very cool things happen.
Eduard Ezeanu is a communication coach who teaches people how to put their best foot forward in communication. He has recently launched the site Conversation Starters and he also writes on his blog, People Skills Decoded. You can follow him on Twitter at @EduardSays