Home » Blog » Fulfillment does not usually follow Success!

The most successful business leaders I have worked with are also the most personally fulfilled!  Why is this?


“Fulfillment does not usually follow success, however success follows fulfillment!”


In my experience both inside and outside of the business world I have consistently found that “People think they want success, but ultimately they do not want success, what people most want is personal fulfillment”  Some typical examples include the beliefs that ‘if I get a certain position, the right finances, the right business and properties etc.. – then I will be happy and fulfilled!    – In 30 years of working with highly successful people I have never once found this to be true!

I am a big fan of ‘being successful’ but only the type of success that follows the pursuit of fulfillment.

Success itself can be driven by the desire to ‘be successful’ or the choice to be fulfilled.  Fulfillment in business comes from the recognition and pursuit of a purpose beyond the essential function of making a profit.  In business I have found that people who are truly fulfilled in their work don’t usually plan to retire completely from their chosen vocation.

Do you recall the famous actor Heath Ledger?  He had a boyhood dream of being a successful Hollywood actor and 2 years ago he had just finished an incredible performance as ‘The Joker’ in the movie ‘Batman’.  Some of the film critics were so impressed by Heath Ledger’s performance that many thought he was the favorite to win the Oscar that year.  He was the ‘hottest property in Hollywood’ being flooded with scripts to star in the biggest films by the top film producers and directors… And what happened next? …


He died in a hotel room after over-dosing on drugs!


Whilst the outcome of this story is extreme, it is has a common theme that I have found amongst the many successful people I have worked with.  That theme is ‘To strive for and eventually to get success’ (which may be in the form of money, a position or title or some form of recognition).  Soon after ‘getting their success’ they wake up one day saying to themselves ‘How come I don’t feel different and better than before, how comes I feel empty inside?’


I believe that people can be both fulfilled and successful, but many are not.  Here is an illustrative formula / principle :


Success ≠ Fulfillment. Fulfillment = Success!


In other words ‘Success does not lead to Fulfillment, but Fulfillment leads to success!’


When people really get this (beyond their intellectual acknowledgement) it transforms their whole approach to business!


Here is another principle:


A Greater Business Purpose = A Greater Vision to Serve Beyond the Business = More Inspired Actions Taken = Greater Stakeholder Fulfillment


A great purpose for an individual or a business comes from having a vision and taking actions ‘that serves others beyond the self’.   The greater your purpose and the greater your capacity to be fulfilled, and the more inspired you will be to take action to become more fulfilled!


In short ……

“The more you love what you do the better you are at it”

How often do you remind yourself and the people to take actions that serve a greater purpose, rather than those that are simply aimed at ‘being successful’?

Success is like a sheep dog to the shepherd called ‘Fulfillment’ that will loyally follow it everywhere, Fulfillment is the ultimate leader! Are you?

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