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Career Life Solutions

Clarify - Focus - Act

Happy family scene at the beachsideClarify what is important in your life

It is my observation that many people have never, ever taken time out to clarify what is important to them in their lives.

Often, it is not until something important is taken away that people are jolted out of the intertia of simply existing from day to day.

The important something taken away might be:

  • a major health problem, or health scare occurs
  • you lose your job
  • your partner walks out, the end of a relationship
  • death of a loved one
  • you have lost your business, life savings etc

When we have a clear understanding of things like our core values for living, or our mission or purpose in life it is very easy to lose our way.

On the other hand, when these things are clear to us they provide a blueprint for living a fulfilled life.

After all if these things are important to us, we will do what is necessary to achieve and maintain them in our lives.

For a lot of people, life purpose is closely associated with their career. Here is a link to the first of my blogs which outlines a four step process for career planning.

Happiness Vs Fulfillment

It is a natural human inclination for us to strive to achieve happiness in our lives.

But in carrying out the exercise of determining what is important to us in life, I think it important to draw a distinction between happiness and fulfillment.

Happiness is fleeting. Here are some examples of some of the things that can cause feelings of happiness:

  • you watch a beautiful sunrise or sunset
  • you go out and have a nice meal with a loved one
  • you get a pay rise or a promotion
  • your favourite team wins an important game
  • you buy some new clothes, a new car, a new something….

These types of things have the effect of boosting our mood, We feel happy.

And, while we may derive pleasure from these kinds of things, and feel happiness – that mood, those feelings tend not to last very long.

Fulfillment on the other hand is a more enduring emotion.

It is not about experiencing a mood boosting event. Instead, feelings of fulfillment are closely related to the things we have identified as being the most important in our life.

If you think about it carefully, feelings of fulfillment are likely to occur, and endure, when we are doing something that is related to helping or enhancing the lives of other people.

Happiness vs fulfillment – experience the difference

Here’s a simple exercise that might help you to understand the difference between happiness and fulfillment.

Take a sheet of paper, or in a notebook that you can carry with you, and set up a page this way – draw a line down the middle of the page and then write the heading “Happiness” on the left side of the line, and the heading “Fulfillment” on the right hand side of the page.

Now, for the next week, twice a day – at lunch time and also before you go to sleep make some notes on your page. Reflect on the day’s happenings and make a note of things that made you feel either happy, or fulfilled.

When you look at the results it is quite possible that you will realise there is a difference between feeling happy, and feeling fulfilled.

Would you agree that it is more likely you will have feelings of fulfillment when you have done something that has made a positive impact on someone else’s life?

Clarifying your life’s purpose

I am a great fan of the work of Stephen Covey – he wrote the book “7 Effective Habits for Highly Effective People”.

The early chapters of his book are devoted to the topic of life’s purpose and meaning.

If you have never taken the time to clarify your life’s mission or purpose – do it now! Make use of the online mission statement builder┬ádeveloped by Stephen Covey to help you. To quote from the same website:

You have a purpose in life. You know in your heart what’s most important to you. In fact, your mission and values are expressed every day, by how you live – you just may not realise it.

To further quote from Stephen Covey’s book – he talks about:

Begin with the end in mind!

In other words, clarify what is important to you – what does your preferred life and lifestyle look like. Make it very clear, write it down. This is your compass for living a truly fulfilled and meaningful life.

Watch this inspiring video presented by Stephen Covey:

Next Steps

Having clarified your life’s purpose, and you’re still committed to making some life changes click on the links below to take the next steps in your life transformation:

  • Develop sharp focus by setting goals
  • Take action to achieve them