Fulfillment and Achievement, Do You Recognize the Difference?
Are your achievements leading you to a life of fulfillment, or are you simply achieving to achieve?
I was recording Episode 5 of my podcast Championship Leadership with one of my coaches and good friends, Joe Williams, the other day and the topic came up of fulfillment versus achievement. I had not put much thought to the distinction between the two terms before this. At first glance, I believed that many would use these two words interchangeably. But, as our conversation unfolded, I realized that they are really worlds apart.
As a man and leader who is in constant pursuit of being a little bit better every single day, I am continuously striving for achievement. I do what is required to attain a result that ultimately helps me to achieve the goals that I set for myself. Gaining fulfillment can be a form of achievement. But if we are not careful, achievement can lose its shine or luster. If your focus is only on climbing the “ladder,” it can lead to an unfulfilled life. It is said that you should be careful climbing the ladder of life in constant pursuit of achievement, because one day you may just find that once you reach the top—your ladder is up against the wrong wall.
Fulfillment means living a life of purpose aligned with the right wall. This is a life that excites you each and every day, so you can do what’s required to achieve the outcomes you set for yourself. Fulfillment, when harnessed and directed down the right path, will make you feel completely alive. You will dream bigger and aim higher when your life is aligned and fulfilling.
Living a life of achievement just to achieve is likely to have you constantly looking and searching for more. You might be in a relationship where one day you will question how you ever got there. Your bank account might be overflowing and you might own a garage full of the best vehicles money can buy but if you strive just to strive, you may eventually feel empty inside. The same can happen if you climb the company corporate ladder. That final step might make you feel like a prisoner with a life sentence. To achieve just to achieve and to climb because that is the life you thought you were supposed to live and create is nowhere near the life you desire.
I know because that was me. On my path with no clear direction of where I truly wanted to go, I was working and building businesses without true fulfillment for my profession. I was the one who had relentlessly climbed the ladder only to find I had positioned it on the wrong wall.
If you are living a life of fulfillment, the outcome really doesn’t matter.
To make the shift from achievement to fulfillment you must ask yourself — what do I truly want? Get crystal clear on what you want in the Big 4 (Physical, Spiritual, Relational, Financial), and WHY that matters to you. Once you have true clarity on what you want and WHY it matters, take a stand for yourself and your family and choose the path of fulfillment. Today, and every single day moving forward, align your world and your decisions and actions to create a meaningful life.
That shift will not be easy. It may include some painful conversations and extremely difficult decisions, but it will ultimately transform your world. Sometimes, to get to the really good moments in life, our circumstances have to get worse before they can get better. Forget achieving just to achieve and choose to achieve to fulfill yourself today.
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