Do you have a deeply fulfilling career?
If youíre already on a stable or semi-stable career path, this article will help you determine whether your current career is really the right one for you, using a very simple assessment process.
Career fulfillment defined
What does it mean to have a fulfilling career? Hereís how I would define it: A fulfilling career is an effective outlet for your creative self-expression that satisfies the following criteria:
- You are sustainably meeting your needs and increasing your ability to meet those needs with greater ease and abundance.
- You are working from your strengths and further developing those strengths into major talents.
- You are doing work you enjoy, and the overall enjoyment you derive from your work is increasing.
- You are making a meaningful positive contribution to others, and that contribution is increasing over time.
Here are a few things I want you to notice about this definition of fulfilling career:
- It follows the four-part model of body (needs), mind (skills), heart (desires), and spirit (contribution), as explained in many other articles on this site.
- It balances the logical, practical, emotional, and spiritual. It recognizes that you must pay your bills and that a financially abundant career is better than abject poverty, but it also integrates the emotional needs for enjoyable work and meaningful contribution.
- The definition is entirely personal, meaning that it will apply differently to different people. Your needs, skills, desires, and sense of contribution will be uniquely your own. You canít simply copy someone elseís approach and expect that it will work for you. In this case modeling someone else too closely is a recipe for failure.
- It sets a high standard for genuine fulfillment, but in doing so, it can help you diagnose where you may currently be falling short. It seems to do a good job of explaining why so many people donít feel fulfilled in their careers, even if theyíre experiencing relative success in one, two, or three of these areas.
- It is sustainable and synergistic. Once you have all four of these areas in alignment, they tend to mutually support and enhance each other. It may be difficult to get there, but itís fairly easy to maintain. When youíre working from your strengths, doing what you love, making a meaningful contribution, and abundantly meeting your needs, your skills, desires, purpose, and resources will all be working in harmony.
- To a certain degree, you can satisfy this definition at any point in your career if youíre on the right path. When youíre just starting out and donít have a lot of money or skill, you can still do work you enjoy and help people, but you may need to do something on the side to pay the bills. You may work as a retail sales clerk to make ends meet, while knowing that your real career path is to be a writer.
Assess your current career
Using the above definition as a guide, please take a moment to rate your current level of career fulfillment on a scale of 1 to 10, 1 being the worst and 10 being the best. While itís fine to assign a separate number for each of the 4 criteria, ultimately I want you to come up with a single overall rating. Donít continue reading until you settle on a specific number, not a range. Iíll wait. :)
Now letís take that number and run it through a certain transformation. I promise this will be very simple. If you picked a 9 or 10 (or higher), youíre golden. You can keep that number as it is. (If you did pick a 9 or 10, I would encourage you to share in the forums how you achieved such a fulfilling career.) But if you picked anything other than 9 or 10, youíre a 1. Thatís right, youíre a 1.
Am I saying this just to annoy you? Is this some silly form of exaggeration to make a point? Not this time ó Iím being straight with you. Let me ĎsplainÖ.
I want you to recognize that if you donít have a deeply fulfilling career, then you donít have a deeply fulfilling career. Career fulfillment is a matter of core essence, not merely of degree or range. Either youíre there, or youíre not.
A career thatís just OK, that you tolerate, or that youíre generally content with is NOT the same as a career that deeply fulfills you. Not remotely. You canít take a so-so career and simply turn up the volume to become fulfilled. You canít take a career thatís a 7 and multiply it by 1.4286 to get a career thatís a 10. The math may seem to suggest that, but a real-life career just doesnít work that way. The difference between a 7 career and a 10 career is fundamental and profound.
Embracing your own fabulousness
Consider the Star Trek universe created by Gene Roddenberry as an example of someoneís outlet for creative self-expression. Now itís really up to Roddenberry himself to determine how effective an outlet that was for him personally, but from an external standpoint I think most people would be inclined to rate it a pretty clear 9 or 10, even if youíre not a Trekkie. Now consider this. Can you take a second-rate sci-fi series and turn it into something as powerful as Star Trek simply by turning up the volume (in a figurative sense).
Can you produce a long-term hit like Star Trek by throwing more money at it, adding cooler special effects, swapping in different actors, etc? It would be extremely unlikely. Star Trek possesses an ineffable quality that cannot simply be duplicated by trying harder. Why? Because the magic behind Star Trek was Roddenberry himself. Obviously many others contributed to it, some in very big ways, but without Roddenberry, there is no Star Trek.
Similarly, you are the Gene Roddenberry of your own career path. Either your career is overflowing with your personal magic, or it isnít. Recognize that if you arenít there yet, you arenít there yet. The wrong path is the wrong path. The wrong path doesnít suddenly turn into the right path around the next bend.
A friend of mine, who seems pretty happy in his current career, calls this ďembracing your own fabulousness.Ē He said that people who are unhappy fail to recognize and embrace how fabulous they are, so they canít express or share their fabulousness with others. I completely agree.
This is an area where it takes great courage to admit and accept the truth. For most people it isnít too difficult to admit that a 2 or 3 is essentially a 1, but itís really hard to admit that a 7 is a 1. In some ways itís better to make the mistake of getting a job you know you hate vs. getting trapped in one you almost like.
Your emotional journey vs. your physical journey
The reason those 7s can be such a trap is that our emotions play tricks with us. Our feelings seem to indicate that weíre close, but we still have a little ways to go. Meanwhile all the exit signs indicate that if we pursue an exit strategy, weíll end up feeling much worse, at least in the short term. We appear to be stuck in a local maximum.
However, when we actually do commit to leaving that 7 behind and get moving towards where we think the 10 may be, even if we must seemingly take a big step backwards (in income, status, security, etc), we usually feel better, not worse. We experience relief, exhilaration, and freedom. We feel very awake and fully present. So the tricky part is that itís easy to succumb to the illusion that movement away from a 7 would make us feel worse, when in reality it almost invariably feels much better.
The irony is that when you leave behind a career thatís a 7, your emotional journey and your physical journey will usually be out of sync. You might assume that messing with your income and job security is a bad thing that could easily turn your 7 into a 3 or less. And from a purely physical standpoint, that may be true. (I wrote about that process in How to Get From a 7 to a 10 if youíd like to explore it more deeply.) But from an emotional standpoint, your 7 will almost immediately rise to an 8, 9, or 10 as soon as you get moving, even if your physical reality seems to worsen in the short term.
Even while your physical security may seem to decline, youíll actually feel relieved to leave an unfulfilling job. In this case your emotions are giving you the correct feedback, and itís important to trust them. While your physical journey may follow the path of 7-6-4-2-3-4-5-6-5-4-6-7-8-9-10, your emotional journey may be much more directÖ perhaps closer to 7-8-9-10. This comes as a surprise to most people.
Our aim behind xHow2.com is to straighten old and new beliefs in the world of self-help. We give forward and directive steps on how to carry a successful life, relationships, social life, public etc. We have been empowering and giving tips to both married and unmarried people on how to build successful relationships and on the other hand understanding their feelings and getting rid of unwanted ones.
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