Fulfillment Can Be Elusive
Being successful is not just about winning or making money. Don’t get me wrong, money is one of the measures of success. If you do not know how to make money you will always struggle to fulfill the dreams in your heart. However, achieving your goals and making some money is not everything. I know many people who have been successful at making money who still struggle with the fulfillment factor in their life.
Pete has been running an air-conditioning installation and repair business for five years now. After working for someone else for 4 years he had decided to go out on his own. Pete is a highly skilled tradesman with very good people skills. He started out on his own with one van and a 2nd year apprentice and together they had done well. Through his network of friends and his relationship building skills Pete soon had more work than he could handle. He developed a strong business growth plan with a business mentor and then worked hard to make that plan a reality. Four years later, he had 5 vans, 5 technicians, 4 apprentices, an office manager, and a part-time finance/admin person. He had all kinds of opportunities opening up with builders and he had secured the service contracts for some large companies. His business was making good money, more than he had thought possible when he first started.
However, Pete was struggling with the busyness of his life. He was the main person following up new leads. His website was effective, and his reputation was strong, so he had no shortage of new leads to follow up each day. His office manager and key tradesman were handling some of the customer relationships but Pete also liked to know what was happening especially with his larger customers. He was finding it more challenging than he expected to manage his team. It seemed that someone was always needing attention. It was hard to find and keep good tradespeople. And apprentices these days did not seem to come with the built-in work ethic his father had instilled in him. Though Pete was good at relating to people, he was finding leading his team very challenging.
Pete earned enough money for his wife not to work but she was keen to resume her nursing career now they had three young children. He did not want to get in her way, but quietly wished she could be happy staying at home running their family. Nursing involved shift work and Pete found he had to add sharing a range of home duties to running his busy business. Ideally he liked to separate work and home but now he had to somehow juggle things every day. He was starting to forget things, and feeling more stressed because he had no time on his own to rest or look after himself. Into his sixth year of business Pete was not achieving the freedom, flexibility and fulfillment he signed up for.
Pete viewed himself as successful BUT: overwhelmed, frustrated and constrained. Intervention was required for him to become successful AND: released, expanding and fulfilled.
Most high achievers are really on a quest for fulfillment and freedom. Some mistakenly think that money can give both. However, fulfillment comes more from inner needs being met. People mostly find fulfillment in relationships and family or personal growth and making a contribution that brings meaning. These things will not wait for retirement. The challenge is to learn how to integrate a busy work role into the larger picture of your whole life in a healthy and sustainable way.
In Part 2 of this article I will share some of my advice for Pete.
In the meantime, I’d love to know what you would advise Pete to do.