Finding Fulfilment – What Does It Really Mean?
“Sometimes I wonder if you’re happy?” This is the point-blank question from a friend that plagued my Friday night and entire weekend.
This question disrupted my equilibrium. Why would someone who doesn’t know me all that well wonder about my happiness? Do I look unhappy? Do I appear unfulfilled? These and many more questions circled my head, distracted me a little from the answer to his question.
After throwing some questions back at this friend, trying to ascertain why he would ask about my happiness or lack thereof, I eventually paused to consider the question and gave him my answer, “No – no, I am not”.
I am technically not unhappy but I am unfulfilled or so I felt at the time of questioning. For as long as I can remember, I’ve always had this internal restlessness, never really certain I was living my life’s purpose and, my full potential.
This got me thinking and reading. What does fulfilment mean anyway?
What is fulfilment?
Fulfilment may mean different things to different people but to me, fulfilment is about living your life’s purpose.
According to Vocabulary.com, fulfilment is a feeling of happiness and satisfaction. It goes on to explain that in terms of emotions, fulfilment is a happy, contented feeling. Many people feel fulfilment from being a parent, having a great job, or graduating from school.
Oxford dictionary also defines fulfilment as satisfaction or happiness as a result of fully developing one’s potential.
Fulfilment in this context is not transient or ephemeral, it is an everlasting feeling. Sure, you get some bad days, I don’t think it’s possible to be happy every day of your life. Not unless you’re popping Molly.
When you are truly fulfilled, even though the bad days will come, you keep going and never waver. Because you know undoubtedly and with a sense of conviction that this too shall pass – you are driven by purpose.
Half of last year to present day hasn’t been the easiest for me but I don’t let things get me down for long, I keep it moving. But, the question about my happiness roused me from sedation, got me to open my eyes and re-evaluate my life and figure out why I was feeling unfulfilled.
Here’s what I learned
1. Your purpose is whatever YOU say it is. It’s not going to fall on your lap, nor appear out of thin air like magic. No one is going to tell you, “hey, here is your purpose, have a nice life!” YOU have to decide.
Start by looking at what you’re good at. How can you use your talent/gift to help others? That’s ultimately what life is about; helping others. Those that feel fulfilled aren’t the richest or most beautiful people on the planet, they are just people that give of themselves in service to others. You don’t have to quit your day job to be fulfilled. You don’t have to live in abject squalor either, YOU just need to decide.
2. Fulfilment = Idea + Passion + Decision.
I didn’t come up with this formula on my own, I wish I did. I read it on the Shawn Stevenson Model.com here: and it makes perfect sense to me.
Having an idea and passion is easy. The decision to stick to your idea is the tough bit because it requires discipline.
Let’s use marriage as a case study: Typically, people get married because they love each other, are passionate and committed to one another but over time as things become difficult and challenging (as they always do), a less disciplined person wants out and files for divorce, citing irreconcilable differences.
Sadly, if you’ve been divorced once before, stats show that you are likely to divorce again. This is where the lack of discipline and inability to stick to your decision becomes telling. Of course, they are extenuating grounds for divorce but if your ‘decision’ is to bail from a marriage when things become a little rocky, chances are that you will never feel ‘fulfilled’. You are looking for something that does not exist, perfection.
Same apply to those that continuously hop from one job to another in search of ‘fulfilment’. Sweetheart, no job, partner, wealth, friend, parent or anything can fill that void unless you do. Idea + Passion + Decision = Fulfilment.
3. Finding fulfilment is a choice. It is a decision that you make, and you persevere, come what may.
We always think that the grass is greener on the other side but it isn’t. It’s a fallacy. If you remember that fulfilment is a decision then you can work on being fulfilled.
Let me tell you, I feel a lot lighter since I found my truth. And writing about it and sharing what I’ve learnt is helping me grasp the concept of fulfilment much better and faster than I would have spending months reading about the topic.
If you are struggling to find fulfilment, I challenge you to try the formula above. Find your passion and stick with it. Or, just make a decision and stick with it. We are all a work in progress and will waiver from time to time. So long as you pick yourself back up.
To learn more about fulfilment and purpose, head over to https://theshawnstevensonmodel.com/fulfillment-purpose-in-your-life/ and https://tinybuddha.com/blog/3-ways-find-fulfillment-wherever-you-are-in-life/
I hope this helps you as it did me. xo