Fulfillment is a leadership quality, a personal responsibility and the key to one’s sense of purpose and legacy.
To lead and inspire others, to feel a sense of identity and completion, to ease the internal restlessness that seems unsatisfied by externally derived rewards or accolades, we must nurture our personally defined ‘Fulfillment Factor’ ... or we will collide with it.
When we defer our dreams and aspirations to tomorrow, we deprive ourselves and the world around us of the inspired within us.
Thinking our careers and aspirations are mutually exclusive, we imagine that “someday” our jobs will pay for us to have our dreams. Trusting “time is on our side”, we promise ourselves to invest in our aspirations once we have “enough” … money, time, freedom … to do so. We convince ourselves that we can handle “just one more year” as we focus on achieving and attaining the goals set before us rather than those defined within us ...
… until we can no longer sustain the internal conflict.
That’s when the identity crisis sets in … when we are satisfying externally derived rather than internally derived definitions of fulfillment … when we are being to the world around us something we are not being to the world within us.
Rewarded for self-compromise, it seems pointless to self-actualize.
Sometimes we imagine “we get paid” to compromise ourselves and believe “we are serving” others better by our willingness to do so. Martyring ourselves to our causes (our careers, companies, colleagues, companions, children and communities), we make trade-offs. We compromise aspects of our self on behalf of others ...
... until we no longer recognize our self in it and resentment rewards our compromise.
Martyrdom sucks as a leadership quality.
Sacrificing the inspired self in the name of our causes eventually translates into a loss of talent. Paving a road to resentment, illness and stifled creativity, it also gives rise to blame cultures and political positioning in a workforce … undermining collaboration. When we hold the world around us accountable for ‘the price we have paid for the sacrifices we have made for them’, we seek to redress the imbalance through titles, financial ‘compensation’ and benefits that make our continued compromise worth our while. It works at first, but no matter how much or in what form we are compensated for self-compromise ...
… our hunger for fulfillment is never satiated by suppression.
The authentic leader is actualized.
They are self-realized, wholly expressed, congruent ... and fulfilled.
What fulfills, inspires.
We cannot lead from the uninspired within us. Incongruence within ourselves is intuitively felt and heard by our peers and audiences. It undermines our efforts to rise, deliver consistent results, lead inspirationally and realize our full potential.
When we are aspirationally fulfilled, our contributions reflect the inspired within us. They sustain us ... and are sustainable. We become retainable.