The afternoon sun casts a dim glare across your phone. It sits, resting, next to the laptop where you are casually scrolling through Facebook. A faint sound emerges. A rattle of sorts. It’s a notification making itself known across your devices. It’s from your boss.
Come to my office.
You stand up, hesitantly, and make your way past the shiny white tables which separate you from the conversation you’re about to have.
You reach the door, take a breath, and go in.
The sun drops a little lower in the sky. Minutes pass. Eventually, the door opens and you exit from the office within. The eyes of your fellow desk dwellers look to you in anticipation. They’re dying to know what happened.
Bashfully, you avert your glance, but with a telling smile utter the words:
“I got the promotion.”
The truth of the matter
The new gig is more than ideal; a nice increase in salary, additional vacation time, and more responsibilities.
But guess what it doesn’t come with? Fulfillment. Because while you’ve worked hard to reach that next rung, you’ve worked just as hard to silence the voice that whispers the truth. The one that knows you’re not in the right room.
You don’t want to be at that job. You hate it there.
And while the promotion should make you feel proud of your efforts, what you’re really feeling is dread. Because you know that you’ve made it that much harder to leave.
That much harder to quit and pursue something you care about.
Congrats! You achieved your goal. Happy?
Everyone wants money
For a long time, I wasn’t entirely sure what sat at the root of goal setting. I knew it had to do with success and getting more of it, but who defines success? Obviously, I knew that I did, but what does that mean?
How am I supposed to know what success is?
Many people don’t. Many people assume it’s based on net worth. Money in the bank. Cash on hand. You get it.
Is it though? I certainly thought so. At least, I did for a long time. Until, one day I didn’t. Although it wasn’t that black and white. It was more a steady realization that came from years of reading, writing, and thinking about it.
The success I was after
In my early twenties, I had envisioned becoming a big-time founder of a Silicon Valley tech company. A Zuckerberg, if you will. So I worked on a couple apps in that vein. They both inevitably failed, but that’s not the point.
The point is, in reflection years later, I realized that I only wanted that role because of the “success” that I thought it meant.
However, after working in tech and non-tech companies, for large and small organizations alike, it became clear that had I attained the “success” I was after, I would not have been fulfilled. Instead, I’d have felt trapped in a large corporation of my own making.
Something I’m not after at all.
Run out the clock
Writing for my blog, QuickBooost (what you’re reading right now), has been instrumental in helping me work through the hard question that rests behind concepts like:
- Goal setting
- And time management
Do you know what that question is?
What’s the point?
What’s the point of achieving your goal in a job you hate? Why worry about productivity when for every email you send, you get twice as many back? Who cares about time management when you’re simply just trying to run out the clock?
When you look at it that way, there is no point. However, that’s not how I look at it and it’s not how you should either. Because the real opportunity you have before you is to create a meaningful life for yourself.
One of fulfillment.
Where you still struggle, where you still have sad days and bad days, but through it all, you have meaning. You have a purpose.
And that purpose may change as you change, but you still have one nonetheless.
And that is where the real power of something like goal setting comes into play: through goal setting, you have the chance to look around and build a life of fulfillment. A life where you gain meaning from your friends and family, have a career that fills you with purpose, have a home that you love, and much more.
The question you need to ask yourself
Fulfillment is at the heart of every one of my goals.
With each new project I tackle, commitment I make, and most importantly, goal I set, I make sure that I’m steering the ship towards fulfillment over all else – over monetary gains, status, whatever. None of that matters.
Money can only take you so far; just ask Rockefeller. Fame seems to only look nice to those that don’t have it.
Legacy? Irrelevant because you’ll be gone before you can ever appreciate it.
All you have is yourself. In this moment right now. Reading this. Nothing else matters but you and your fulfillment. So before you rush back over to Instagram or respond to more emails, consider: Am I working towards a fulfilled life?
*Note: If you need help setting and achieving your goals, in creating that fulfilled life for yourself, enroll in my goal success course here.
Tell me: In one sentence, what does a fulfilling career look like to you?