This month we’ve tackled a dysfunction that all of us wrestle with in our lives: “Is this it? Finding fulfillment at work.” The irony is that the biggest challenge we face with this dysfunction isn’t the struggle to find the answer. The greatest challenge we face is the risk we run if we avoid answering the question all together. Years can pass and suddenly we can find ourselves down a path that is not the right one for us. We become “pricing specialists for the tire industry” with no clear way out. We settle. So where can you start?
TREATMENT PLAN – The 5 Questions
Over the years of working with hundreds of individuals wrestling with this challenge, I’ve found that there are 5 questions that can start you down the path to fulfillment. Before you dive in, a few caveats on The 5 Questions:
• They are deeper questions so you might not have an answer right away. That’s o.k. Let the questions simmer and stew until something bubbles up for you.
• You only need one good answer to one question to point you in the right direction. Don’t shoot for answering all 5 Questions. You just need one answer to get you moving.
• The 5 Questions are not the only ways to find fulfillment at work, but I have found in my experience they are a great start.
Question 1: What did you always need and not get enough of? Turn that need into what you give to the world. For more, read the full post on Question 1 here.
Question 2: What did mom or dad always need and not get? Sometimes saving the next generation of mom / dad or someone else close to you can be tremendously fulfilling. For more, read the full post on Question 2 here.
Question 3: What did you particularly value from your childhood that you would like to give to others? What was it that you got that others didn’t that made the difference in your life? Giving that to others could be the answer for you. For more, read the full post on Question 3 here.
Question 4: Who do you want to help or serve? Who do you want your customers to be? Arguably, the most important of The 5 Questions, finding the right customers is critical. Do you like your customers? Maybe you need some new ones. For more, read the full post on Question 4 here.
Question 5: What gets you mad or sad in the world? The easiest of The 5 Questions, look for something in the world that sparks your emotions. That spark could lead to something bigger. For more, read the full post on Question 5 here.
BONUS Question: Did you overcome a particular hardship in your life that you would now like to help others overcome? Ex: cancer, loss of a loved one, struggle with addiction, etc… This can be another great way to find meaning and fulfillment in what you do.
Hopefully one of those questions has sparked something for you. Fantastic! Now, the real work begins. You have to start down the path towards making it a reality. Ask yourself what is the easiest way to start down the path. An important point about fulfillment – fulfillment is not a moment in time. It is the product of a long journey. You’ve found your destination, now you just need to map out the course to get there. As a good mentor of mine once told me, “people change is hard. What’s the easiest way to take the first step?” Don’t over complicate your plan and always default to action over preparation. Oh, and be sure to pack the essentials you’ll need to overcome fear along the way (purpose, courage, and faith). You’re gonna need them.
USAGE INSTRUCTIONS (Read Carefully):
Expiration Date: This prescription will lose its strength over time. While it will never “go bad”, it’s effectiveness in helping you live the life you’ve always wanted decreases with each passing year. For best results, take immediately and regularly.
Risk of Death: This prescription will NOT result in death. I promise you won’t die by confronting your fears. However, it is also important to note that life is short – you will die eventually. The question to ask yourself is this: “Do I want this to be my life if I died tomorrow?” Do you?
Potential Side Effects: Growth, fulfillment and the life you’ve always wanted. Specifics results vary from person to person.
So what are you waiting for? The clock is ticking.
Here’s a bit of inspiration for you as you get ready to bring more fulfillment into your life. It starts with a splash of imagination. Nothing like Willy Wonka to put it all in perspective.