Date: May 31, 2022
Author: Ed Maggard
Fulfillment is an interesting concept. We talk about being fulfilled in our job or career, and what we usually mean is that we are adding value or making a difference of some kind. We look for something that has transcendent meaning beyond simply getting a paycheck. We evaluate our personal life in terms of the fulfillment we feel in significant relationships and whether we are growing as people. Finally, we think of being spiritually fulfilled when our daily lives are consistent with our values, and we get those values from what we believe in. Let’s take each of those in turn.
Professional Fulfillment We say a career is fulfilling if we are working in our strengths and have seen a measure of success. It is important to know that we are making a difference in the lives of others. One leader I met in Ecuador runs a company that ensures safety measures in the public transportation industry. It is important to him to know that what he does every day makes people's lives safer so they can go to work and to school and be productive in their own lives.
I have also talked with people, like the ticket agent at Heathrow Airport in London, who was so stuck in the drudgery of her job that she couldn’t imagine anyone loving their work. The interesting thing is, either of those two examples could feature someone who was feeling fulfilled or unfulfilled in their work. The difference is really based in a sense of purpose and calling. Simon Sinek refers to this as where your work has three elements that come together. He describes it as working at something you are good at, that you can be paid to do, and that you were, in essence, “born to do”. You may say, “Is anyone really born to be a ticket agent?” That is a great question, but the answer is bigger than the actual job description. That ticket agent, if she were convinced that her calling is to bring joy to the lives of travelers in many small ways, would be a much happier person.
Personal fulfillment This involves growing as a person and the joy we get from the lives we touch. When it comes to being fulfilled in our personal life, one of the great ironies of leadership is that those people who seem most fulfilled in their lives don’t spend much time at all thinking about themselves. If we focus on ourselves and getting what we think we want out of life, we can lose out on the real opportunity because being fulfilled means being others’ centered.
John Maxwell says, “When you intentionally use your everyday life to bring about positive change in the lives of others, you begin to live a life that matters.” When we think about helping bring positive change in the lives of our spouses and children, our friends and coworkers, we feel fulfilled and have a life of greater impact.
Spiritual Fulfillment LeaderImpact is all about growing personally, professionally, and spiritually for greater impact. So, what does it mean to be spiritually fulfilled? Rick Warren, a pastor of a large church in California, says, “Humans are made to have meaning. Without purpose, life is meaningless. A meaningless life is a life without hope or significance.” Where do we then find this meaning?
When we run across something that we don’t understand, whether it is an object, like a tool at the hardware store, or a concept like purpose and calling, it is important to look to the source of that object. Obviously, someone invented that widget at the hardware store. When you find out why they took the time to invent it, you may be able to see that you need it to do a project you are working on. This knowledge gives the tool meaning.
In the same way, if we want to know our own purpose, it makes sense to understand our own creator. This is where we ask the harder questions, like, “Why am I here?”, and “What difference does my life make?” At LeaderImpact, we base our philosophy of growth and impact on the person of Jesus and the Christian faith. Whether you are currently a follower of Christ or you are at the beginning of asking these sort of questions, we are all on the same spiritual journey, looking for meaning in life. We believe that fulfillment and impact is not about having all the right answers, but about asking the right questions together. Being intentional about this journey is a huge step towards fulfillment in life.
“Our souls are not hungry for fame, comfort, wealth, or power . . . . Our souls are hungry for meaning, for the sense that we have figured out how to live so that our lives matter, so that the world will be at least a little bit different from our having passed through it.” —Rabbi Harold Kushner
©1994-2022. LeaderImpact™ All Rights Reserved.