A Coaching Power Tool Created by Natali Sanchez Rheault
(Life Coach, UNITED STATES)
Definitions according to the Merriam Webster Dictionary:
Success – the fact of getting or achieving wealth, respect, or fame; the correct or desired result of an attempt
Self-fulfillment – the feeling of being happy and satisfied because you are doing something that fully uses your abilities and talents
Without thinking too deeply, one could tend to mix these two concepts and associate them as being the same. After all who would not gain self-fulfillment from being successful and vice versa, aren’t all successful people self-fulfilled by definition? In some cases, this line of thinking may be accurate. Meaning that a person who is successful is fulfilled because they may have everything else in their life they need as well as wealth, respect and fame. This however is not everyone’s story. Some believe that success will give them self-fulfillment and that since they are successful they will be fulfilled. So they push forward in their life with the end goal of being successful. Nothing else will quench their appetite; nothing else will make them happy.
George was 45 and the owner of many different online companies; his net worth was in the millions. He was a well known entrepreneur who had worked hard his entire life. When George was very young, his parents gave him a computer and he became aware of the Internet. As a teenager he realized the potential of making money over the Internet. That is when George started dreaming, dreaming of becoming successful, of being known in the world for his business shrewdness. He was excited and determined. So he worked, success being at the top of his list. George worked through high school. Due to his endless days in his computer, he barely graduated from high school. His parents were not happy about his grades, but no matter what they did, they found George back on his computer. George had no time for extra curricular activities in school and did not date. There was simply no time. Besides the girls in his school knew only the basics about eCommerce, nothing compared to what George knew.
Due to how intelligent George was, he did manage to score high enough in his SATs and was accepted to a local university. There he worked hard, not necessarily on his studies but on the eCommerce world that was so appealing to him. His grades were very low and his parents were fed up. They told him that either he started to focus on school and increase his grade point average or they would stop paying for his school. That is when George decided to sell his first website. He made over $40K on it, which was perfect since his parents stopped paying for his school the following semester, after seeing his grades. George paid for his studies. After all, he had enough money. He never graduated from the university; the lure of success was too much for him. He knew how much money he could make if he left the university and worked on building his websites full time. So he left and started his own company. Everything was history from that point. He just kept making money and was featured in several publications, all talking about how successful and brilliant he was. His parents even forgave him after seeing his success. He made them proud. In his late twenties, George married an upcoming doctor who was as motivated as he was to be successful. Since they never spent time together, both too busy with becoming successful, they divorced 3 years later.
George lived in a mansion where he lived alone, except for his cook and live-in-maid. He was successful, nobody could deny him that. In his thirties, George began to feel his loneliness. Most of the people he knew his age were not as successful as he was, but they had their families to go home to and had company during the holidays. He began to look around at how other people lived. He could feel that something was off and selling his websites did not bring him as much satisfaction as they once had.
Now let’s rewind in time and imagine that George as a teenager made it his priority to live a fulfilling life and that success could result or not due to his living a fulfilling life. Success, however, was not the end goal or priority, self-fulfillment was.
In a desperate attempt to get George to refocus on school, George’s parents hired a coach. In his first couple of sessions, George could say nothing else but that he wanted to be successful. One day he would be a very successful entrepreneur and would be very popular. He and his coach started digging deeper however and after several more sessions, George became aware that what was driving him so much was that he liked being creative and he could be creative via the Internet. He also found out that he was very shy. He felt that he did not have anything in common with kids his age, especially girls, because they were not familiar with the things he wanted to talk to them about, eCommerce and its potential.
After some visualizing exercises with his coach, George explained that he would really like to talk to the kids in his grade about the world that the Internet could open up for them and what it had done for him personally, which was allowed him to be more creative. In spite of his shyness, his passion for what he was doing was so intense, that that is exactly what George did. He asked his teacher to allow him one hour to show his classmates the website he created and to explain eCommerce in general.
George was granted the hour and the students and teacher herself was in awe of how George had not only created a successful website, but knew so much about eCommerce. From that point George was no longer alone in his room with his computer, he had friends and he was the go-to guy for all computer related questions. He realized that he liked people and liked sharing his knowledge with them. He shared this with his coach and they explored other ways George could share his knowledge with people. They also explored what a “successful entrepreneur” now meant to George. George explained that he wanted to be a successful entrepreneur who could share his knowledge with others. He wanted to be around people inspite of it being difficult for him. He also realized that even though he was shy, when he talked to others about eCommerce, he forgot about his shyness and the passion of the content drove him. His definition of success now included sharing knowledge.
He created several blogs and via one blog, met his best friend that would one day be his future business partner. His passion for creating and sharing drove George now. He knew what he liked, he knew what drove him and that knowledge he took with him wherever he went. George split his time between creating websites for his company and doing pro-bono work, which consisted of teaching the eCommerce business to university students. In his twenties, George met a teacher whose passion to teach equaled his. They taught and shared with each other their worlds and due to their passion for sharing and the fact that they would talk to each other, they grew very close.
In his coaching sessions, George had become more aware of his values, what he liked, and who he was in general and he aligned his life to who he was. He was still very successful but since he was not only focused on being successful and now took into account his level of satisfaction in whatever he was doing, he was able to live a more fulfilling life. George still had the mansion but he did not live alone in it. He still had wealth but that was the icing on the cake, not how he defined himself. Being successful was the result of living a fulfilling life and he was successful because he could live a life where he used his abilities, which created great satisfaction in him.
Some questions to help shift into self-fulfillment might be:
- What are your values?
- Is the work you do/or that you want to do aligned with your values?
- How can you get your work to be more aligned with your values?
- What is important to you as an individual?
- What does self-fulfillment mean to you?
- Visualize you as a well-rounded, balanced individual. What does that look like for you? What things do you see yourself doing?
- What areas of your life do you feel you need to work on now to get you (the entire individual) to be more balanced?
- What does quality of life mean to you?
- How can you have more quality of life?
- What actions can you take today to get you closer to a more self-fulfilled you?
- Remember a time when you were successful at something. How did you feel? How do you feel now remembering that occasion?
- Remember a time when you felt fulfilled. How did you feel? How do you feel now remembering that occasion?
- Do self-fulfillment and success feel the same to you? Is there a difference between the two?
- Tell me what you want to be when you grow up, self-fulfilled or successful? J Neither/both? When do you want to be successful? When do you want to be self-fulfilled?
The difference between success and self-fulfillment is that in self-fulfillment you are looking at a wider spectrum of your life. It is not quite the tunnel vision that may be in just trying to accomplish success. Being successful is something that is always looked upon as being very positive, but there are different ways to get there. Success on its own as the end goal can be very empty. When focusing instead on being fulfilled, your world opens up and your point of view encompasses all aspects. You look at the entire self, mind, body, and spirit. Then you can explore at what not only drives you from a business/career perspective, but also other interests and passions you may have; who you want to be and how you want to go about designing your life. Knowing yourself is extremely important. If you know yourself, you will pave your path and will not let others do it for you. So you may end up being successful. Then again you may not, but if you are fulfilled, then you can live a more rounded, balanced and satisfying life.
- What does success mean to you?
- What does self-fulfillment mean to you?
- As you think of success, what comes up for you? What do you imagine or visualize?
- As you think of self-fulfillment, what comes up for you? What do you imagine or visualize?
- As a coach, how do you help your client look at all aspects of their life and avoid tunnel vision?