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  • Writer's pictureRyan Jeearry

Fulfilment: Finding Fulfilment in Life and at Work

What is fulfilment?

Fulfilment is attained by focusing on the things that make our lives more significant and worthwhile. Happiness comes from what you do in your life, whereas fulfillment comes from WHY you do it.


Our society raises us to think that if we achieve certain things and act a certain way, we will find fulfilment automatically. But the truth is that a fulfilling life looks different for everyone.


What we find fulfilling is based on our values, beliefs and deepest human needs. And while achieving our goals is a precursor to fulfillment, it is not the whole story.


Clarity

The first step to fulfilment is clarity. You need to get clear on what it is that you really want from life. It can be very easy to get swept along the journey of life without realising our destination. Let me ask you two questions:

  1. What do you want?

  2. What do you want, really?

What you will probably find is that your answer to question one contains material items or a vague answer. Question two however, truly gets you to think deeply and the answer is usually a specific desired feeling, whether it be happiness, fulfilment, freedom etc.


Values

Values are the things in life that are important to you. Our values came from a mixed bag of experiences, of lifelong conditioning through punishment and reward, by parents, teachers, friends, etc. We all have a hierarchy of personal values meaning we all value life in different ways and to different extents.


Values are so important because they help us live with direction and purpose, like a guiding compass. They inform our thoughts, words and actions, and help us to grow and develop.


Here are some questions to help you determine your personal values:

  1. How do you spend your leisure time?

  2. What themes regularly come up in your conversations with others?

  3. What do you enjoy learning about the most?

  4. What qualities do the people you admire possess?

  5. What do you spend your money on?

You should now have a better idea of what is most important to you. You may start to notice some themes and patterns. To give them a title (values), use the below list of common values to help you figure out your personal values.


Make a shortlist, play around with them and come up with your top 5 values, listing them in order of priority. Ranking them in order is important because often in life we have to make conflicting, seemingly impossible decisions. Our values can help solve these problems.



Live in alignment with your values

Life is more fulfilling when you know what your values are and intentionally live in alignment with them. It makes it easier to say ‘no’ to things that do not align with you and 'yes' to the things that bring you happiness and fulfillment. Knowing your values also boosts your self-awareness, self-confidence and personal power.


Let’s now compare your current lifestyle to your values to see what is in alignment and what is not.

  1. What ways are you living in alignment with your values?

  2. What ways are you not living in alignment with your values?

The logical conclusion from the above is to double down on number 1 and cut down on number 2. In addition, every time you set a new goal, check if it aligns with your current values. Setting intentional goals will keep you on track to living a fulfilling and inspired life.


A key point to note here is that we should revisit our values from time to time. Life is dynamic, we grow and change as a result of experiences. Our true values will evolve and change over time too. A big problem people face is that they struggle to let go of their old self even when circumstances change and it is no longer beneficial for them to be their old self.


Career

It has been estimated that we will spend an astonishing 1/3 of our waking life at work on average. A person’s job is usually the number one reason for being unfulfilled. We all have to work to earn a living and there is no running away from that. But here is the good news. Your job is not your life, it is merely a part of your life. And you can find ways to make it more enjoyable.


We often get caught up in the stressful demands of our jobs, especially in the corporate world. We treat deadlines as if our lives are really on the line. We can neglect the people and things that truly matter in life as a result. Burnout is a common symptom and affects our well-being without us realising.


Make your working life better in your current job

  • Can you get a temporary move to another department at your current company?

  • Can you work on other projects more suited to your strengths?

  • Can you work with people you get along more?

  • Can you break down and find small, more-bearable tasks within your big difficult project?

  • Can you ask for help or level up your skills in an area which is causing you pain?

Find your dream job

If you can’t improve your situation at your current job, then it is worth considering a change.


Values

Consider the personal values you came up with above when considering your new role. The ideal scenario is to find a job which allows you to embody your personal values on a daily basis with minimal stress.


Money

The more well-paid a job is, the harder it is in terms of difficulty level and stress. Ask yourself how much money you are willing to live off to satisfy your lifestyle needs? Money is simply a means to an end. It gives you access to resources. We have needs (food and bills) and wants (luxury items). But at what price do you value your well-being at?


Purpose

Purpose is directly linked to fulfilment. If you can see how your job is of service to others and the positive impact it has on people’s lives, you are more likely to be motivated and get a deep sense of satisfaction like no other.


Strengths

Double down on the things you are good at. Competence brings confidence. What do your colleagues praise you for during yearly assessments? Perhaps take a ‘strengths finder’ quiz online to discover what you will be good at.


Fear

Many of us may dislike our job and yet we are not willing to do anything about it because somehow we are in a comfort zone. As humans, we fear uncertainty more than anything, even putting it above our well-being. We think ‘what if I make the wrong decision?’ or ‘what if I dislike my new role even more?’. The truth is, the only way to find out is to actually try. The risks can be mitigated with proper due diligence.


In summary, the journey to fulfilment starts with finding clarity. It is essential to know what you really want from life. Your values will help you to live with direction and purpose. Living in alignment with your values is the key to ultimate fulfilment, whether at work or life in general.

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