We’re all chasing personal fulfillment. I know how easy it can be to try to find life fulfillment in things, status, and opportunity… so I’ve been searching for ways to find
So, how do you find personal fulfillment? Finding personal fulfillment is a lifelong process of self-exploration. The first place to start is the recognition that personal fulfillment is never a destination. It’s about constantly searching for the ways we’re invited to a deeper experience in what it means to be human.
The problem is that most people are constantly searching for joy and fulfillment… they know they need it, but they search everywhere that it’s not.
They venture into money, success, sex, relationships, etc, but they’re always left empty
Searching for fulfillment outside of the joy you’re wired for is futile. To find true personal fulfillment, you have to discover more about who you are and how you connect to the world.
Why Is Personal Fulfillment Important?
Personal fulfillment is the continual journey of self-discovery and contentment with your position in life.
It’s about achieving goals because they matter most to you instead of culture or society. The focus is entirely on your fulfillment in life and how you being yourself pushes humanity forward.
We’re wired to crave meaning and substance. I don’t know a single person who can go through the joys and difficulties of life without questioning why we’re here and where we’re all headed.
I’m growing more and more convinced that our personal fulfillment is key to finding direction, clarity
It challenges us to become better people when we’re tuned in to it.
Once you tap into the direction that your mind and spirit are engaged in, you’ll find direction and fulfillment right in front of you… ready to be explored.
Personal fulfillment is important because it’s our direct guide to what really matters in life. It guides us into hope, prosperity, joy, gratitude, relationship, vibrancy, and love.
It’s like a grand map that
Personal fulfillment looks different for everyone because we all have our place in the world. We all have a unique way that we get to be a part of progress and substance and vitality.
And personal fulfillment is our body/spirit/soul way of telling us which direction we should be connected to.
The Tension Between Goals And Fulfillment
Here’s the main problem… our personal fulfillment has been hijacked by culture.
We’re so overwhelmed by media and teachings that it’s difficult to find space to discern what we find valuable within ourselves.
It’s far too easy to simply grab hold of a pre-determined map of our life that someone gives us.
a parent’s wishes for your college plan
a spouses excitement to start a family
the classic: go to college, get a good job, start a family
With so many off-the-shelf directions in life, we often find ourselves stuck in the space between the goals others have for us and what personal fulfillment is telling us.
Let me tell you a quick story:
A friend of mine mastered the marketing/sales ladder. Ranking as one of the top salespeople in his industry in the world, he accumulated wealth that most people strive their whole life for. This was the goal painted by the culture he was in.
After a trip out of the country, he found himself wrestling with larger ideas he had in mind for what a fulfilling life meant. Now, Greg is one of the most genuine people I know. He leads retreats helping people find purpose and meaning in their life. He’s reclaimed what fulfillment means for himself.
What I love about this story is how true the struggle still is. I know that his life isn’t always glowing and idealistic. Finding fulfillment is still difficult.
It’s an ongoing process created by the tension we find in our lives.
One of my favorite books, The Mindful Path to Self-Compassion brilliantly illustrates the historic teachings of many eastern religions:
pain + resistance = suffering
We all encounter pain in our lives… the car breaks down, a family member dies, the coffee brewed too weak, the thing we thought would bring us happiness doesn’t satisfy anymore…
And we create suffering for ourselves the moment we try to resist pain.
Here’s one of my favorite teacher’s thoughts on suffering:
It’s the same with the external pressure you might feel. The more you resist it, the more suffering you create. And the more suffering you find yourself in, the harder it is to find fulfillment.
So, Where Do You Find It?
We know personal fulfillment guides us into our direction, and that there is tension when we pursue it, but how do we find personal fulfillment?
You Have To Allow It
First, you have to allow personal fulfillment to exist in your life. You need to quiet yourself enough to be able to discern what truly matters to the you that is so intimate and wholistic that you can’t ignore the voice.
And by allowing, here’s what I mean:
It’s so easy for us to take a feeling or emotion and immediately try to flesh it out and add weight to it.
It’s easy to take feelings of compassion and assume you’re supposed to build an orphanage.
It’s easy to take feelings of creativity and assume you’re supposed to teach art.
But, again, here’s where we get lost… we can get so ahead of ourselves.
We need to start by allowing the emotions and feelings and energies within us to exist and cultivate. We have to allow them to consume us without judging them or planning for them.
Here’s an exercise for you: sit in a quiet room. Set a timer for 10 minutes. Now, I want
Keep focusing until a thought comes to mind. Once you get distracted by a thought, I want you to follow how it feels. Start checking in with your body: do you get tense with this thought?
Start to trace back your thoughts to emotions and simply allow your body to feel them. Don’t let anger turn into a plan for revenge. Just let the anger exist. Explore it. What’s it telling you about what really matters in life? How is the emotion asking you to grow in this situation?
The exercise is simply about tuning in to the thousands of emotions we create in a day. And leveraging the power of the emotion to teach and guide us rather than control us.
You Have To Practice It
This is by far my favorite aspect of finding personal fulfillment…
Remember how we’ve talked about personal fulfillment being and ongoing, exploratory process?
Here’s where we put that into practice…
The internet has given us on demand access to incredible people living incredible lives. And it’s created a mindset that believes that thriving people just happened to wake up living the life they desire.
That’s never been true. Finding fulfillment has always been messy because it requires that we put a little skin the game to find it.
Back to allowing… once you’ve found something inside you that needs you to express it, you’re just going to have to let it out by practicing.
You’re going to have to take your feelings and start trying them out in new ways with different people in unique places.
Because by practicing, you create feedback for yourself where you can say:
“I love being generous, but I tried serving in this way and it didn’t work… maybe I’ll try this instead”.
The most profound example of allowing and practicing in my life has been emotionality and vulnerability.
I’ve always been told that I’m not an emotional person. And I started to believe that. I went through years of life believing about myself what other people perceived instead of what was actually true.
It wasn’t until one day that I allowed myself to feel my emotions and thoughts in an intimate way that I realized I am much more sensitive and emotional than I even thought of myself.
Here’s where the practice comes in:
It’s one thing to have a profound discovery about yourself. It’s another to allow the internal change manifest in an external way.
To not live as an imposter, I had to practice what was true of me internally. I had to go against the ideas that other people created for me.
So, I began practicing vulnerability and emotionality.
It’s awkward and difficult to practice what you feel internally. Some people won’t respond well. Some people will be surprised.
In the beginning, I wasn’t even sure how to be vulnerable since I had never practiced it before.
That’s why practice is so important with personal fulfillment, because you simply have to start and you’ll find what works along the way.
I’m still exploring so much about how to be sensitive and vulnerable with myself and other people. It’s a daily discipline to practice what you feel, but it’s rewarding with each moment of success you find.
Now, practicing doesn’t just have to be about emotions. Practicing can be about all kinds of things.
A friend of mine overcame cancer a few years ago. She recognized that she wanted to help other people find peace in the battle. So, she began exploring.
Writing posts, having thoughtful dinners, sending encouraging texts, grieving in community.
She didn’t sit idly and feel the calling and just dream about it.
She took action is the ways that were immediately available to her. And she discovered so much about herself in the process.
Personal fulfillment isn’t one thing that’s been locked away from you waiting for you to discover it.
Personal fulfillment is the process where we recognize that we’re all invited to participate in the growing evolution of consciousness and humanity. And the more we’re connected with ourselves, the more connected we are with how we’re invited.
The world becomes a better place when you take the first step to exploring personal fulfillment for yourself. Because true, intimate fulfillment isn’t about selfish gain and fleeting desire. It’s about how we all push each other to grow and experience a more enriched life.
What is a sense of fulfillment? A sense of fulfillment is true peace. It’s knowing that you’re comfortable in your place in the world. You’re participating in the continual unfolding of the world. And you’re not dragged down by the difficulty of life because you have a clear direction for your future.