Having achieved a certain level of success, however you may define it, the path to real fulfillment can be a challenge – a sometimes frightening challenge. You may fear that there’s a risk that if you pursue fulfillment, you will have to give up success. At some level, you may be wondering if the move toward your true, authentic, heart-centered self will make you vulnerable or exposed.

In my free eBook, The Business of Wanting More: The Secret to Fulfillment, I explore what it means to be fulfilled and how fulfillment can actually lead to success, but how focusing on success often leads us away from what is most important to us. You can download the book here: Get Your FREE eBook.

In the book, I describe the mindset of those who feel unfulfilled, despite the outward trappings of success (page 8), as well as the steps you can take to resolve these feelings. Do any of these characteristics describe you?

  • Have achieved some level of success yet feel something is missing.
  • Know you have talents you’re not using.
  • Have hit rock-bottom and tried everything else to pick yourself up.
  • Hunger for the aliveness that comes from an internal awakening.
  • Want to burst your bubble and live a life of clarity and fulfillment.

Seeking fulfillment as your measure of success requires moving straight into some counterintuitive and countercultural headwinds on the proverbial road less traveled. Seeking fulfillment means living by these four principles… easier said than done.

  • Embracing your inherent value – Of course what you do has value, yet being valued for who you are as well as for what you do is critical to satisfying your core need for acceptance. This begins with self-acceptance, which comes from knowing your skills and limitations, rather than from the stuff you’ve acquired as proof of your success. Only when you begin to value yourself for the person you are will others do the same.
  • Putting your relationships first – Whether in business or your personal life, building meaningful relationships with others is the key to satisfying your very human need for connections in your life. To meet your need for connection, you must have meaningful relationships with yourself, others, and the environment. You must share from your heart, even if doing so moves you out of your comfort zone. You must give and receive empathy and compassion to become part of a community of people who care for and support each other and, by doing so, you will experience emotional safety and trust.
  • Having a mission that’s bigger than you – If you live with the goal of simply working hard and acquiring things, you will never realize your need for a life of purpose; a reason for your existence that transcends the simple acquisition of the physical signs of success. Clarity of purpose leads to increased motivation and inspiration, as well as increased empathy for others and yourself, which will make you a far more effective leader.
  • Being of service to others – The final step to fulfillment is found in serving others, and is a direct result of having your other core needs in alignment: acceptance, connection, and purpose. If you continue to avoid the core need to serve others, you are very likely locked into the mindset that caused you to feel unfulfilled – causing you to remain in your competitive, selfish mode of existence, working independently to secure enough of the scarce resources and external symbols of success for yourself.

A life of suffering, whether physical, mental or emotional, is not the natural state for human beings. Instead, choose to pursue a life of fulfillment with all of the passion and determination you’ve devoted to acquiring the symbols of success, it just may make you more successful.