AJS South Africa


Where to from here?

March has been all about motivation – why it’s important, how to get there and (importantly) how to stay there.

And it’s not just AJS who has felt the need to talk about motivation.

With the “honeymoon phase” of the year over with, it seems like everyone has moved up a gear – bracing themselves for the year ahead.

The “seasonal bloom” of the beginning of the year has waned and we are all simply staring dead ahead, “motivated” and rearing to go.

Employees are motivated, leaders are motivated and lawyers are motivated.

But there does seem to be a feeling of “underwhelm”. Like “Ok we are motivated but what do we do with all of it?”.

We are so glad you asked.

Let’s talk “next steps”

We came across an article by Aaron Baer titled Seeking Fulfillment and it made us think.

Surely, after feeling motivated the next step (logically speaking), is seeking fulfillment. Right?

After all, once you are rearing to go with every motivational quote and Meme on the planet, it’s understandable that you would want to feel fulfillment from the work you put in.

But what does it mean to feel fulfillment?

According to the Cambridge Dictionary, feeling fulfilled is defined as –

“a feeling of pleasure and satisfaction because you are happy with your life”.

In Aaron’s article he set out the following –

” One of the things that most lawyers are looking for is fulfillment.

Based on the number of people whose careers are spent helping lawyers leave the legal profession, it’s probably fair to assume that most lawyers these days aren’t feeling fulfilled. Which is a huge shame.

There are so many bright, talented people who choose to practice law. Somehow, so many of them end up feeling unworthy, incompetent, and questioning their choices.

When you have your own clients, that usually means more control, more freedom, and greater financial rewards. And if you play your cards right, also more fulfillment. But the age-old question is – how the heck do you go from A to B?”

And for us, that was the important bit – how do you go from motivation to fulfillment?

Moving from A to B

In a rather funny (but insightful) article titled Seeking Fulfillment? Don’t Quit Your Day Job by Rachel Greenberg, she discusses her fiancé’s feeling of unsettle and wanting to quit his day-job looking to freelance (in a quest to find fulfillment).

And whilst this may not apply to everyone (quitting their day jobs and entering freelance work) it does speak to the practicalities of finding fulfillment

“He felt accomplished. He felt fulfilled, as if he had just run a marathon and won.

And he told his uncle that, while he never expected to feel this way, it was just two or three days into his Thanksgiving break, and he already felt empty and a little bit depressed.

Working hard, bringing tasks to completion, receiving positive feedback, and seeing good results make people happy. It’s like a feedback loop of positivity that keeps people enthused and motivated to continue to put their best effort forward. Without that, life can feel a little bit lonely or lacking in meaning.

His work, and jobs in general, can give employees purpose by giving them specific, measurable tasks to achieve with clear goals and milestones outlined from the outset. Whether you love your job or not, checking off that to-do list of tasks and knowing you did a great job, got the stamp of approval from your boss, or a pat on the back from a colleague can foster a sense of purpose and fulfillment. You came, you conquered, and you’re getting praised for it”.

And it’s in the last lines of Greenberg’s quote above that fills in the gaps for us. Because you cannot really go straight from motivation to feeling fulfilled. Not really. There is this little niggly bit in between that needs to be addressed. And it’s not really niggly. It’s actually fundamental.

Feeling fulfilled in life starts with finding your purpose.

More of a move from A (motivation) to B (purpose) to feeling C (fulfilled).  

Let’s call it a “hand-in-hand” approach.

Finding your purpose

In a Forbes article written by Laura Garnett titled Knowing Your Purpose Is Key To Being Fulfilled And Happy At Work—Here’s How To Find It In Just A Few Steps, she speaks about finding purpose and ultimately feeling fulfilled.

Essentially, (according to the article), the key to finding purpose lies in “looking inside yourself”. And by looking inside yourself, you “name” the things that motivate you and that move you and by so doing, you will “be able to figure out how to leverage it in your career”.

But finding purpose can take a lot of soul searching. It’s not always obvious. Not to all of us anyway. In fact, most people when asking themselves “what is my purpose?” often link it to a short-term goal. It gets all muddled up along the way and we get confused between what we want to achieve right now with what our true purpose (overall) in life is.

And in this search for finding purpose, there is really only one person that comes to mind – motivational speaker, Tony Robbins. He says the following about motivation, purpose and fulfillment:

 “If you’re not growing, you’re dying” – which is why growth is addictive to many of us. We naturally only feel fulfilled when we’re improving ourselves or our lives in some way. Everything in life is calling to us to grow. When we stop growing, we start feeling pain, fear, and anxiety. We are then susceptible to envy as we look around and see what everyone else has that we don’t. Instead of asking “What is my purpose in life?” we start coveting status, material goods and power. But all those things will ultimately leave you feeling empty.

Goals, like buying a house or opening a business, yield a sense of achievement and are essential to living the life you desire. Purpose takes those goals to an even higher level…… there’s one word that will give you happiness, one. You’ll remember it as long as you live: progress. Progress equals happiness. Achieving goals does not equal happiness.” So, if you’re asking yourself, “What is my purpose?” what you’re really asking for is progress – a true sense of fulfillment. And fulfillment isn’t a luxury or leisure activity – it’s a necessity.

Achieving goals may not help you find the purpose of life but knowing your purpose can help you achieve your goals. When you truly know your purpose, you’ll experience a sense of clarity like never before as you’re able to connect what you want to achieve to your ultimate fulfillment. You’ll feel passionate, driven and laser-focused”.

And that is exactly what we are talking about. Not only being motivated but moving beyond thatachieving fulfillment, feeling passion, and being driven.

Because that truly is – the next step.

Inspired by Tony Robbins “list”, here are ways that you can find your purpose –

  1. Look within yourself – as we have said previously, having self-belief (and therefore being self-motivated) comes from within. It starts with believing in YOU. First. And the only thing that will hold you back are your “own limiting beliefs”. If you don’t believe in yourself, who else will? By identifying your self-limiting beliefs and replacing them with affirming, empowering ones, you will develop better self-awareness and therefore retain control over your own life.
  2. Make your purpose your priority – if you only focus on your short-term goals, you will never find your true purpose. And we are not saying don’t achieve short-term goals, but your focus should always be on overall “purpose” rather than an immediate achievement (despite how satisfying they may be). As Tony Robbins says (in only achieving short-term goals), “you will never find your true passion or learn how to find your purpose. You won’t be able to see that life is happening for you instead of to you”.
  3. Own your life (and your choices) – finding your purpose comes from deciding what you want in your life. And what you don’t. Don’t be influenced by things “outside of your control”. Don’t be fearful of the unknown and therefore experience anxiety around those fears. Take ownership of your life, realising that every choice and every decision that you make was your own. Taking responsibility for finding your purpose.
  4. Admit what brings you joy (honestly) – identifying what has brought you joy and happiness in your life (truthfully) can help you identify what you are good at, where your abilities lie and what activities or skills come naturally to you. By focusing on these things that bring you joy can help you identify not only your passions but will lead to finding your purpose too;
  5. Admit what your needs are – according to Tony Robbins “When asking themselves “What is my purpose in life?”, some people don’t even know where to start. If you fall into this category, it helps to examine the Six Human Needs. Your top need – certainty, significance, variety, love/connection, growth, or contribution – affects every decision you make. Lack of awareness about your own needs can leave you with a false sense of purpose – one that is actually based on others’ expectations. This is why you can reach the top of the career ladder, find the “perfect” partner or be in the best shape of your life, but still not feel happy. Fulfillment begins with your innermost needs”.
  6. Embrace acceptance – learn to accept your limitations. But give yourself a break. “Get to know yourself bit by bit, taking the role of observer. As you practice self-compassion while building self-awareness, you’re able to find the meaning you’re seeking”.
  7. Be flexible – as we move through life, we grow, and we change (hopefully). And with that, our needs, wants and purpose will change too. It is therefore important to always stay flexible. Its important to listen to your “innermost wants and needs” as you find your purpose and fulfillment along the way. But the process of finding one’s purpose and fulfillment is a “lifelong journey”. And you undertake this journey by staying flexible. By doing so, you “grow in integrity while being true to yourself. When you develop your core values and stop seeking external affirmation, you’ll find that the question of “What is my purpose in life?” is much easier to answer”.

From motivation to purpose to fulfillment

There are two quotes from Goodreads that come to mind. Both by “Anonymous” writers –

“The key to success and fulfillment in life starts with the awareness of and confidence in your own personal greatness.”

“Doing what you like is freedom, liking what you do is happiness.”

You see, finding motivation is only one piece of this very big puzzle that encourages a life well lived. Being motivated while finding your purpose will eventually lead you to feeling fulfilled. But it’s a journey. It’s a process. And it is evergreen.

As we move into the rest of the year, we hope that our articles on finding (and staying) motivated, finding your purpose, and feeling fulfilled, will stand you in good stead as the year progresses.

But always remember to stay flexible, roll with the punches and adapt. 

Onwards and upwards we say!

– Written by Alicia Koch on behalf of AJS

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