We Live in a Goal-Oriented Society.
Finish one race? Someone asks “When is your next one?” Have a good project launch? The media is already asking “What’s next for you?”
While consistently chasing higher goals is the way we grow, it can also lead to burnout and overwhelm. Eventually, we will hit a point where you’ll get tired of “chasing the higher income” goal or “hit the next fitness: milestone.
What do you do then?
Dan Holloway reached the point where he was tired of chasing the goal. After struggling and sacrificing, his business had become a success. He was making money he always wanted and living the life he could only dream about.
Yet, he wasn’t fulfilled. He wasn’t happy.
Fixing the Story: What Happens After the “Success Story”
A lot of us would like to have the problem Dan had. Sure, we’d all like to have the problem of having a big bank account, travelling around the world, and own a multi-figure business. We’d like to get the media attention, fame, and all the opportunities that come with it.
But, as Dan Holloway, no one is after that success story. No one is after that business hit that income goal or the magazine articles find the next “hot entrepreneur” to write about.
No one is there when we reach the peak.
We tell ourselves that things will get better once we reach “after”. No one is there to tell us what to do once we reach a goal, yet the way we deal with one success is critical to the future.
Reframing the Story: The Cinderella Story Behind Success
There is a story that is painted about success. You might call it the “Cinderella Success Syndrome”. In that story, everything is permanently beautiful “after” the sacrifice.
Once we land that big-name client, things will be easy. Once we get that promotion, it will be easier to get the money. Once we get more sales, we won’t have to fight as hard.
These stories we tell ourselves are what drive us to work late nights and early mornings, to stay on the job when no one else is there.
The truth is, success is not a destination. It is a stopping point in our journey.
Throughout your life, you will have experiences that you (or others) call “success” or “failures.” These are moments, they are not destinations.
Yet, our brains hold onto these moments as “destinations”.
When these “destinations” are gone, we have to deal with the next moment.
Unravelling the “Perfect’ Success Story: Why Success Isn’t What We Think It is
In the chase of success as a “destination”, we lose sight of the fact that success is a moment we prepare for. We aren’t given success, we become successful. We earn it. We become it.
This is why most lottery winners go broke in less than 7 years. They don’t develop the management skills to manage that massive windfall of cash. It’s also why most one-hit-wonder unicorn startups have trouble inventing their next big product.
Why is that so important?
The stories we believe about success impact what we do with it. If we think success is just a “moment”, we will miss the point. We won’t appreciate the journey getting to the successful moment. We won’t focus on the big “WHY”. We won’t become a success.
Ignoring the journey or our “big WHY” is a recipe for burnout. If we don’t pursue success as a journey, we will treat it as a sprint, exhausting our body and mind to get to the finish line. If we don’t understand our “big WHY” we will wonder why we are working so hard in the first place.
A Better Approach: Chase Fulfillment You Will Create Success No Matter What
So what’s the takeaway here? It’s not to reject success or the gifts it brings, but to recognize a deeper meaning behind success. Instead of focusing exclusively on the momentary feeling of success, we should also focus on the process of becoming. We should take time to focus on why we are doing what we are doing.
Our focus should be on fulfilment, on doing things that move us closer to our life’s goals.
Understand that no matter what success you are chasing, you are telling yourself about that story. If that story is only focused on the moment, you will not be fulfilled when the moment is gone. If that story is focused on the journey, you can feel accomplished while you’re chasing the moment of success.
The key lies in fulfilment.
So, What the Heck is this “Fulfilment” Thing? How Does it Work
Fulfilment, in terms of success, is focusing on what you want, why you want it, and what you will do to get it. Instead of blindly chasing a vague goal of “getting more money” or a higher-sounding title, it’s taking the time to sit down and figure out precisely what you want and why.
Once you have that specific goal and why choose your “how”. Selecting a “how” is essential because you are given the flexibility to change your “how” if needed. For example, if you need to 10 sales calls each day to reach your sales goals, but realize that you’re not getting any response, you might consider changing your strategy.
Regardless of what your goal is why you’re doing it or how you plan on reaching it, fulfilment is a more powerful tool than success because of the work.
In the process of choosing (and adapting) your why, how, and what, you are growing. In the process of making those sales calls, you are learning. In the process of hearing those “No’s”, you’ll get closer to figuring out who will say “Yes ” in the future. In the process of working out, your body learns how to grow muscle.
That is what you are looking for, growing while pursuing success.
By focusing on that growth, no matter what goal you hit (or don’t hit), you will be a stronger person than you were before you started.
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