Jeff Spadafora is the Director of Global Coaching Services and Product Development for The Halftime Institute. He spent 20 years as a leadership and executive development consultant for Fortune 1000 companies such as Ford Motor Company, Sears & Roebuck, Compuware, Domino’s Pizza, Visteon, Northern Trust Bank, Helene Curtis, and Sky Chefs.
“As long as habit and routine dictate the pattern of your life, the full potential of your soul will never emerge.”~Henry Van Dyke
1. Success Will Not Fulfill You
In today’s materialistic and ego driven society, we are incepted from birth with the idea that buying more stuff and achieving higher status will lead to joy and fulfillment. But as anyone who has ever been to the top will tell you, this is simply not true.
While it is true that achieving goals, improving your material comfort, and reaching new heights of social prestige will increase your momentary happiness, this path does not offer any sort of contentment or joy in the long term. It results in a never ending quest to recreate the dopamine high that is released every time that you hit a new tax bracket.
2. Giving Yourself Away is the True Path to Gaining Everything
While living a life in pursuit of excess material wealth won’t lead to fulfillment, living a life in pursuit of generosity and impact, and legacy will.
If you truly wish to live a life of fulfillment and joy, not just momentary happiness and brief episodes of ecstasy, you must start by giving yourself to a cause bigger than yourself. You must find a passion and a calling that makes it difficult for you to stay in bed in the mornings because you are so excited about how you will get to change the world.
As cliche and trite as it may sound, finding a calling that is about a bigger picture than just yourself is the true path to success. Perhaps at this moment, you can’t find that calling or simply don’t know how you want to impact the world.
This is fine.
Start with simple things: Volunteer at a local habitat for humanity, give away 10-15% of your income to a cause you believe in, or even just call your grandparents from time to time. Find things to do that remind you that you are a small part of a whole, find things that let you serve and give without any expectations.
Give yourself away and you will gain everything.
3.You Need to Line Up your Core, Capacity, and Context
Similar to the four pillars, the Three C’s are the essentials of life that must be in alignment for you to be living a “10” life.
This is who you are, what your mission is, and what you stand for. To have a well defined “core” (in the sense of success and fulfillment, not your abs), you must define your virtues, your beliefs, and your character traits that will remain unwavering no matter how strenuous the external circumstances become. (also called NUTS or Non-negotiable, unalterable terms by Wayne Levine) And you must also discover and be actively pursuing what you believe to be your calling and purpose in life.
This is how you are showing up in each area of your life, it’s about maximizing your potential. Are you staying in the best shape you can physically? Are you being the best husband, father, friend, son, or brother that you can relationally? Are you connected with whatever your definition of God is? (Or if you are an atheist, have you done your research and do you have peace about the question of God?)
This is where you are working towards your calling and purpose. Do you need to move jobs, cities, or countries? Do you need to stay where you are and simply work change how you are showing up?
Only you can answer these questions, and it is imperative that you take the time to do so lest you work your whole life away on something that you realize (too late) was never in line with your calling in the first place.
4. Busyness and Comfort are Your Two Greatest Enemies
The two greatest enemies to success and fulfillment are not laziness or greed or ignorance, but busyness and comfort.
Busyness and comfort are malicious and sneak into your life slowly, without any obvious signs, but once they are in, they slowly and surely convince you that you are ok at your current level because there isn’t the pain necessary to elicit change.
When you are comfortable, it is difficult to find a real reason to change your lifestyle or pursue dreams, and when you are constantly busy, you never have the time to sit down and ask these questions in the first place.
Don’t allow busyness or comfort to rob you of your destiny. Take time to evaluate where you are in life with an open and unbiased mind. Go down the rabbit hole and it is likely that you will come out of the other side with a better understanding of yourself, your purpose, and the actions required to achieve it.