Fulfilment is a way of being, not a destination

“The journey itself is home”

Matsuo Basho

Do you have a goal you’re working towards? Or a daydream? Or a vision of a preferred future?

And is your motivation in this vision one of fulfilment? Of ‘if only I can achieve that promotion, or that earning goal, or that house by the ocean, then I’ll feel happy’?.

Or ‘if only I can find that relationship, or gain that muscle, or own that car, then I’ll feel happy’?

It’s a common sense of goal yearning. And one which maps our sense of fulfilment directly against our achievements. As if it’s a path, with a destination, and if only we can get there, things will all be ok.

But the thing with fulfilment chasing is… just that; the chasing.

In pinning our hopes of happiness against our goals, we are forever looking ahead. And in doing so, in our restless pursuit of “when things will all be ok”, we are missing the glorious present. We are missing the small moments of joy, of life and of love that surprise us daily along the way and instead, attaching our expectation of happiness to a future that isn’t guaranteed.

“As if it’s a path, with a destination, and if only we can get there, things will all be ok.”

Another challenge with this way of thinking lies in our perceived sense of fulfilment vs our actual felt sense of fulfilment. Have you ever longed for, planned out and worked towards a huge goal, and then still felt a sense of emptiness when you finally got there?

Perhaps you felt a rush at first gaining your vision, but found that it soon dissipated and before you knew it you were on to the next thing? Because maybe it’s the next mountain, or the next big opportunity that brings the jolt of life, of purpose, of contentment, of meaning in it all, that you have been seeking…

It’s tempting to link success with fulfilment. But is it success that leaves you feeling heartful, thankful and truly savouring life? Or something else?

Fulfilment, to us, is a way of being, rather than a destination. Fulfilment can not be found in our acquisition of material things, our job titles, our bank balance or our relationship status alone. 

Yes, dreams, goals and the discipline to achieve at the capacity which we are capable of all form a part of our fulfilment path. But we see fulfilment as a way of living, no matter our circumstances. And it is strongly rooted in both presence and gratitude.

Taking the time to understand where we feel joy and what is truly important to us forms the basis of our felt sense of fulfilment. We invite you to consider the below:

1.     Acknowledge all that (really) makes you smile

Where do you find joy in your day? Think back to the moments this week that really lifted your mood, made you smile, made you feel connected and warmed your heart. Sure, there might be something big and traditionally goal-like in there. But chances are, you’ll find your heart was lifted by the small things.

Perhaps it was a shared joke in the park. The endorphin high after your run. The sunset you savoured on your commute home. The meal you prepared with homegrown herbs. Or hearing your favourite song on the radio.

Note those small things and commit to acknowledging and appreciating them as you go about your day. Perhaps you keep a gratitude journal and write these up daily. We say why wait?! Note them as they appear and savour them in the moment with your full presence. Nothing is more delicious. 

2.     Question what ‘wealth’ means to you

This follows on beautifully from the joy prompt, because it further contextualises the value you place on things both big and small. I invite you to put pen to paper to consider what ‘wealth’ means to you. This is a powerful exercise which really questions the ‘yields’ you seek in life, and how, surprisingly, the majority may not be financially driven.

Be open, curious and allow yourself to free-flow as you consider what’s important. What is a rich life to you? Which elements help to make it so? Perhaps it’s:

  • Nutritious food and clean water on the table

  • Warmth and shelter

  • Good physical and mental health

  • Beaming smiles

  • Time with loved ones

  • A true work / life balance 

  • Proximity to family

  • Sharing precious moments with a partner

  • Access to fresh air and regular hikes in the Great Outdoors 

  • Access to the cultural delights of the city

  • Time to be creative 

  • Time for spiritual practice and introspection

  • A balcony to grow a herb garden

  • The finances and time to support further learning

  • Land to grow your own food

Your answers might surprise you. Once you’ve recorded the riches you seek in life you’ll have an idea of what’s most important to you. And whether the direction you’ve set for your goals will support those riches.

3.     Look to support your morning routine

The personal development world loves talking about the morning routine. Blah blah blah. But with good reason!

Fulfilment does not look like chaotically careering from work to family commitments without a moment to breathe. Nor does it look like serious stress, burn-out or overtime.

Fulfilment comes from truly knowing yourself; knowing what makes you happy, lights up your heart and connects your gifts and talents in a way that serves the world.

But to know yourself, you must take the time to truly listen. And it is a daily practice.

A supportive morning routine, in which you make time for self-care, deep listening and reflective evaluation is a beautiful thing because:

  • It means you have had time to nourish yourself before you’ve even started your day. This is why a morning routine is king over an evening routine. It’s unlikely something will crop up at 6am to waylay your commitments.

  • You start your day with perspective. In setting aside time for meditation, journaling or a soothing, mindful walk, you ground yourself firmly in the opportunity to reflect on your values and priorities. In so doing, when you experience the crises of the minutiae later in your day, you’re more likely to take a step back and evaluate whether it’s as truly, catastrophically important as you think it is.

  • You connect with your sense of home. The still, quiet place that is inside all of us if only we will take the time to listen. In spending time in quiet introspect you cultivate self-awareness, connect with your intuition and gain intimate knowledge of your true light and shadow. This is the place where you fully get to know your purpose so that you can take it out into the world.

4.     Live in alignment with your values

What values do you hold dear? And do you truly voice and act upon your values in

a way which makes the authentic ‘you’ proud?

This is particularly important when we consider how we work towards our successes. Any sense of achievement will be fleeting if we cut corners to get there.

When we achieve our goals without compromising our values; when we are impeccable with our word; when we call out and voice our values in support of others; when we model all that we believe to be good and true; that’s when we feel content in our successes.

5.     Look to your community

What is community to you? 

In the wellbeing world we tend to weigh our focus heavily on the journey of self. But our journey should ultimately be about shifting our love, perspective and caring gaze outwards and into the world.

Giving something back, whether it be your time, your energy, or your expertise, is one of the big nourishers in life. And to deliver impact in a way that is needed, felt and valued; there is nothing more powerful. 

Perhaps there’s a community gardening project you can get involved with? Or chores you can help run for your neighbours? In connecting with your true community, in its full, beautiful, complex, diverse and most whole sense, you open up your world and deliver on your citizenship.

If you’d like to explore your relationship with self, purpose, growth and fulfilment in more detail, check out the Studio Think app. We host a range of courses, tools and practices to cultivate self awareness, self reflection, positive mindset and more.

If you want to stay up to date on our launch date, just give us a follow on social media. Or, if you want to get in touch, drop us an email. We can’t wait to start your journey with you.

Take care,

Studio Think Team