“What fulfills you?”
When we run into someone, we usually ask “How are you?” Since it’s rhetorical, this question usually garners the expected superficial response, “I’m fine, thanks, how are you?” The question doesn’t dig deeply, doesn’t attempt to make a meaningful connection.
I recently assisted at a 3-day Fulfillment class with CTI, the Coaches’ Training Institute. Students had come from varied backgrounds in terms of geography, career, and life experiences. I volunteered to assist the leaders and help to make sure things ran smoothly.
In our first exercise, everyone circulated, introduced themselves to another person and asked, “what fulfills you?” It was fascinating to see how fast we got to know meaty things about each other: what we do for fun on a Saturday, who we spend it with, where we like to travel on vacation…
…in short, what lights us up and made us feel alive.
Aliveness and connection are the foundation of a fulfilling life. I see this emerge in my coaching clients when they move towards what they’re passionate about. It’s easy to be complacent and pretend that what our heart tells us isn’t really important. We resist what’s new because the unknown feels scary. We settle for what we don’t enjoy but think ought to be ‘good enough.’ Sadly, this leads to flatness, deadness. Picture a heartbeat on an EKG that has flatlined.
In contrast, coaching offers a vision of life that is resonant and full of purpose. Values are clarified, goals are determined, and actions are aligned with values. Now, that’s a life with a pulse!
Living a fulfilling life is a radical act. A coach finds out what someone really, truly wants to do, and asks them to take action to get it. How often are we asked what lights us up, and are held accountable for taking baby steps toward making that happen?
How many times do we think about taking that step, then back down, shrugging it off? “Maybe one day–if things change…maybe not.”
What’s a radical act for one person may not be for another. Someone who never exercises may find that working out 3 days a week is radical and life-changing, while someone else may sign up for a triathalon. We are all unique. The important part is what that action means to us as individuals–what direction it has us pointed in, what we learn, and how we grow from doing it.
We have the power to visualize a fulfilling life and to go out and get it.