I trained with the Co-Active Training Institute (CTI) and one of their core principles is fulfilment.
They believe that we all have a yearning for something deeper – a fulfilling life with meaning, purpose and satisfaction. How does that sound to you? Possible? Far-off? Does this apply to what you are doing with your life? And most importantly, why would you not want that?
Why would you not want to feel, all the time, deep down, a sense of being whole, alive, and satisfied – for the rest of your life? That is what this article is all about and what I want for you because that’s my version of a fulfilling life.
Normally, most of us just focus on what we have or don’t have – the ‘things’ that give us momentary pleasure, such as the shiny new car that makes us feel good for about six months, and then loses its appeal, and so on to the next thing and the next. I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with wanting ‘things’ – the car, a nice house, a successful career, a great relationship.
What I’m saying is, don’t assume they will make you feel fundamentally satisfied at any deep level, or for any long period of time.
Feeling ‘good’ isn’t a sign of living a fulfilled life either. Leading a fulfilling life can give you a deep sense of peace and ease, but it can also feel like a struggle. Living a life of purpose and meaning can be the more difficult route to take but it is really worth it, because on the inside you will feel a deeper sense of satisfaction, and know that you’re doing what is right for you
What I have learned is this: our outer worlds truly are a direct reflection of our inner worlds and whatever we believe, will be.
Your version of fulfilment
Most people out there in the world are walking around, going about their daily lives without knowing what it is that would truly ‘fulfil’ them. This stuff doesn’t get taught in schools. We are all so busy just getting by, dealing with the next problem, meeting the next deadline, going for the next promotion, that there is no time to actually stop and ask these questions – or if we do, it feels far too frightening because we don’t have the answers (or rather, we think we don’t).
What we do is buy another dress, another car, a bigger house, change our partner for a shiny new one – all in the hope that these ‘things’ will get rid of that gnawing anxiety deep down inside.
That anxiety is a direct result of us not fulfilling our true potential, or even identifying what that might be.
We are so conditioned from a very early age (in fact since birth) to think, behave, and believe in a certain way – what we can do, can’t do, should do, have to do, don’t dare do or be – in accordance with what others think and believe is possible for us (and what they were told was possible for them).
So it’s no wonder that you’ve not had a chance (so far) to sit down and ask what your vision of a really fulfilling life looks like. Sometimes it’s not all that fantastical.
A couple of weeks ago, a new client came to me because she had been living very ‘small’ for her entire adult life – her words not mine. What she really wanted, and why she was coming to me, was to ‘live an expanded life and get the confidence to start dating’. She was 36 years old and had been living a life that involved work, having a few drinks after work, and then going home – literally for 15 years.
I asked her to visualize her ideal world and to really dare to dream. It took a good while to move her away from what she thought was or wasn’t possible, but when she did, all she actually wanted was a slightly fuller life – to live in a town centre flat to feel more connected, to live with a partner, and to have a vibrant social life where again she felt more engaged with others and the world in general.
That was it and it was all possible! She had just, up to that point, not dared to imagine it – so how on earth could she have made it happen?
Indeed, what all my clients over the years, and I, have truly wanted, hasn’t actually been that far out of reach either – it just feels that way. It feels impossible – so impossible in fact, that we feel we can’t go there. Deep down you do know what you want your life to look like and you know exactly what brings you joy and fulfilment.
I see clients every day who have built their whole lives around what they were told was or wasn’t possible for them, and yet deep down they feel bored, unsatisfied and unfulfilled.
This is normal. What you are experiencing is normal.
Dare to dream In order for you to really find out what you truly want, you are going to have to put conditioning and fear to one side. You are going to have to dare to dream. This is your one time to fantasize and to create your ideal world scenario – what do you want your life to look like?’
I know that already there will be a sabotaging voice in your head saying, ‘But that’s not possible/I can’t have that/I’m not qualified to do that/I don’t know anything about that … etc,.’ I’m not diminishing what this voice is saying, I just want you to notice this voice right now, know it isn’t actually yours (although it feels like it), it’s one of the ones you’ve picked up along the way, and I want you to set it aside/put it away or whatever you need to do to not let it limit you.
That’s what it’s been doing all your life, and my guess is it’s no longer serving you – which is the number one reason you’re not already living your ‘dream’ life.
The checkin question to ask every time this voice pops up is, ‘How is it serving me to listen to this?’, and if it isn’t – don’t! If you really can’t set this voice aside at the moment, if it really will not let you even dare to dream, just for a moment, then please pause here and go straight to Chapter two, Conquer, and then come back.
Fulfillment is the state of fully expressing who we are and doing what is right for us … wholeness, satisfaction, a sense of rightness and harmony … everything we most value is in alignment … The pieces of (our) lives or careers come together in a very personal sense of wholeness and of feeling very alive.’
HENRY KIMSEY-HOUSE, KAREN KIMSEY-HOUSE, PHILLIP SANDAHL & LAURA WHITWORTH
What will most certainly happen as you go through this process, and what always happens with my clients as I am taking them through this exercise, is that even if you can get past those voices to start the exercise, you will keep going back to what you currently think is possible, or what can be achieved within the constraints of money, time and resources.
Every time this happens, keep pulling yourself back to your vision.
Keep thinking about your ideal world scenario of how you would love your life to look. View this as your time to completely dream big, fantasize. You’ll be surprised. When I ask clients to do this, and they ask, ‘What, really dream, really – what’s not really possible?’ and they do go there and discover what they want, like the client I mentioned earlier, isn’t that fantastical at all – only to them.
This is because they have become so used to the sabotaging voices saying it’s not What would my life look like if I believed anything is possible? possible and what they want really isn’t unattainable: living in a lovely cottage by the sea; having a caring partner; running their own business doing something they’re actually passionate about.
This is all completely doable – it just seems out of reach for them. As a result of how we have been conditioned, we are all convinced that we can only do, have and be certain ways and things. Let me tell you, this is the biggest hurdle you have to jump – getting beyond these limiting beliefs. How would it be, what would your life look like if, instead of believing everything you had been told, you actually believed ‘Anything is possible?
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