By: Dr. Gwen Smith
Today I am incredibly gratified for my life, the way it looks, the things that I am doing and how I feel about it all. It wasn’t always this way.
I am sharing a part of my story to help you clarify for yourself how you feel about what you are doing now and the huge difference this clarification can make in the quality of your life.
It was only a few short years ago, four to be exact, that my world was swirling and things weren’t quite looking as clear as they are today. A lot has happened in my life since then. One thing after another, has led to my life of bliss.
Back then I had embarked upon more personal internal work than I had done prior. I clearly remember the turning point for me. It was January 2013 in Joshua Tree, California. I had participated in a training called Enlightened Warrior which began to open my world to the areas of life I had never, before to that moment, paid attention to. It was in my blind spot. A series of trainings at almost $20,000 led to a series of aha moments.
I understood the importance of investing in myself to get to where I needed to go in life. It was the best investment I had ever made.
I discovered my inner-self, the voices in my head that spoke against it and the messages from my ‘heart’ that were guiding me, but which I was unwittingly pushing away for something more practical, visible and “real” that I could relate to. Something I could touch, and to which others around me could also relate in a physical sense.
As a highly success-driven woman, I was always growing and transforming my life to the next level. In my career, I had already experienced a ton of success under my belt including having all the positions I had desired to have and making the income I had set out to earn.
Now I was at the cross-roads searching for something else. I was satisfied with all that I had accomplished in all areas of my life, yet something was missing. I didn’t feel fulfilled.
Truthfully, I only discovered this fulfillment piece way later. And now that I have it, I can look back and share the journey so you can view it through your own lenses with your own life to clarify whether or not you are truly fulfilled in what you are doing or if you’re just simply satisfied.
Your answer will make a world of difference for you.
Before I share my story, I felt incredibly impressed to do some research on the difference between satisfaction and fulfillment just to see if the definitions would do justice to what I am now experiencing. Of course, words have multiple meanings. My goal in doing this was to come to a place where I could describe the difference for you to take it on yourself.
I felt I had experienced the difference. But now, how do I explain it so others can ask the self-searching question for themselves? “What does it mean for me to feel fulfilled vs. to just feeling satisfied”?
I had a sense that most people were only satisfied and not fulfilled.
I started with the definition of fulfillment; here’s the first, closest definition to what I felt: “the act of consummating a desire…͟”
I looked up certain synonyms for fulfillment to further expand the possible description and found actualization, which made me think of self-actualization, triggering earlier lessons in school about Maslows hierarchy of needs. Yes, that’s it! This definition described how I truly felt.
Here’s a quote speaking of self-actualized people: “[They have] some mission in life, some task to fulfill, some problem outside themselves which enlists much of their energies. […] This is not necessarily a task that they would prefer or choose for themselves; it may be a task that they feel is their responsibility, duty, or obligation. […] In general these tasks are nonpersonal or unselfish, concerned rather with the good of mankind in general.”
I will add that it feels completely amazing too!
According to Maslow all the lower needs that people have—food, security, etc. have to be met before people are at this level of self-actualization. While there may be some hint of truth in that, there are quite a number of people who’ve found massive success this way by having this self-actualized activity being the main source of income.
One, among many examples, is Steve Jobs. His main mantra was finding what you love and doing it. He counsels “don’t stop until you find it.” It concerns “matters of the heart” and you will definitely know when you have found it. He most certainly found his passion of simplifying technology for others. Since work occupies most of your day, you owe it to yourself to feel fulfilled doing it.
Yet, as Maslow implies, some take on the view that being self-actualized is something they have to do only after they are finally making it and having success. And the reality is that many die with their dreams unfulfilled; and with a sense of regret and void.
So, going back to the definition, fulfillment to me is feeling complete, consummate, and whole about what you are doing. It’s PERFECT. It encompasses satisfaction and beyond.
So what then is satisfaction? “The quality or state of being satisfied; contentment.” It’s a means of enjoyment, something that makes you happy. I’d say not bad as a runner up and way better than the 70-80% of people who currently HATE what they do.
So this brings me to my brief story.
I was satisfied with what I had done and what I was doing, however the gap was there. I had a lack of fulfillment which gnawed at me. I took a leap of faith to take on a business doing real estate investing. That did satisfy me too and I really liked it at first, however there still remained a gnawing feeling of lack of fulfillment. It felt monotonous and did not encompass all of who I felt I was and had to give.
It was at this point four years ago that I started my quest for something more. I came around full circle to what my Inner Guide was telling me to do all along: coaching. I knew I loved it.
I had done it throughout my career coaching teachers to higher performance and feeling exhilarated about their success. I had done it training new professionals to tremendous success, and I had done it working with supervisors and professors in my leadership positions. I loved making an impact in others’ lives and yet, I felt that all the experience and the love weren’t enough to start a business. I had every excuse in the book. I was
My real estate business failed, leaving me bankrupt, and I thought, “I should listen this time”, instead of making the same mistake twice. And so I tuned in. All the information that I had learned at Joshua Tree, cued me in to paying attention to the inner quiet impressions that I was getting. I always dismissed and second-guessed them. Now they guided me flawlessly. It’s the Divine Guide and I needed to pay attention.
How did I know my real estate was a mistake? I felt it. I heard the inner impressions letting me know that I was not feeling fulfilled. I knew from the depths of my soul as Steve Jobs had said that when I found it I would know it. But “how was I going to find it again, without trial and error and making the mistake again?” That was the conversation I had with myself that kept me stuck but only for a little while. Time was going and I was getting older by the day. I had to make my mark on the world.
Finally, I tested my passions. And all that happened was a confirmation of what I already knew. My mission is to empower people to get results in their lives and to be the very best versions of themselves. Period! Confirmation was great!!
And so I started my journey of preparation. Getting certified, becoming a transformational leader and creating systems and courses that help people transform their lives. I am thrilled that I did finally make the move.
This led me to where I am right now. I truly love my life; and I am grateful for every aspect of it.
Though everything in my world has not yet evolved the way I envisioned it, there’s no doubt in my mind that I am making a difference and moving in the right direction. I hear it many times from the people I interact with, those I mentor or coach and those I impact through my online training’s, videos and podcasts.
Though there were times when I second-guessed myself again, leading to lack of clarity I am completely fulfilled making massive moves to create the impact I desire to! That’s one by-product of doing what you love. I am elated and know that I have more to offer.
So, now let’s turn to you and your circumstance. Are you feeling satisfied, fulfilled or hating what you do? What is it for you?
Satisfaction can be moment by moment; while fulfillment encompasses satisfaction and also is the consummate of living your fullest and best life even while its evolving. You can live your best life, while it is evolving. Its about the journey and not the destination.
The irony is that some are still waiting for the “right time” to do what they love. Or they’re waiting until something clears up, or until they have more money, or whatever the reason is they give.
The reality is, that time will never come unless you make it happen. There will always be something else that’s going to show up in your way. Things have a way of just going that way. So, you have to be purposeful about what you want and go after it to achieve it.
Time is moving ahead, and if you are delaying, waiting for the right time, yet wanting a sense of fulfillment, happiness and clarity now, it can only happen if you take massive steps to go after it and make it happen.
The beauty is that true happiness does spring out of living a fulfilled life. And so, I encourage you to join me in creating a life of fulfillment for yourself by acting on what you know; what your inner Guide is telling you that you need to do.
If you are not clear about any of this, I would love to chat with you about how you can make this happen for yourself. Simply complete the form below and fill out the questionnaire and Ill be in touch.
Please leave us your comments below!