Take a moment to reflect on what has now been a long-circulating article via the internet and social media. Although it has a somber tone, it sets the stage for the purpose behind this month’s update.
First, I was dying to finish high school and start college.
And then, I was dying to finish college and start working.
And then, I was dying to marry and have children.
And then, I was dying for my children to grow old enough for school.
And then, I was dying to retire.
And now, I am dying …
and suddenly, I realize I forgot to live …
We recognize that for some, this might be a little severe for what is normally a lighthearted and thought-provoking newsletter, but as consultants who engage in conversations daily with hiring managers and candidates alike, a common question has emerged more in the last five years than ever before.
During the recession nearly a decade ago, most organizations and individuals were laser-focused on survival or sur-thrival. Coming out of that tumultuous time, most were intent on regaining their footing. Now that the foundation has been restored, a new evolutionary question remains – what happens next?
Maslow’s Needs: Professional Fulfilment
Once we’ve met the basic fundamentals of food, water, and shelter (or in a professional setting, career, advancement, professional success) the next level of self-actualization starts to emerge. This can be an intimidating, foreign and awkward space to settle in! Instead of focusing on “I would be happier if once I…” look instead to fulfillment in daily interactions. Wealth management advisor and business coach Jeff Gitterman says giving to others every single day is where true fulfilment is found.
In a recent article Gitterman published, he shared “My understanding of the power of giving came about many years ago, when I was just starting out as a financial advisor. One of the initial appointments that I’d have with any new prospective client is what we call in the industry a ‘fact-finding session.’ The idea is simply to gather data like their Social Security number, date of birth, place of work, the kind of house they live in, income, assets and so on. One day, I was getting out of my car and about to walk into a prospect’s house to try and sell some insurance. I was way behind on my bills, and my mind was racing about how much I needed the sale. Desperation poured out of me as I caught my reflection in the car window. I stopped and looked hard at that reflection, and thought: ‘Who would want to buy anything from you? Look at how desperate you look!’”
Gitterman says it was in that moment that he dropped his needy mentality and met with the prospect looking to give without expecting anything in return.
“I forgot my worry about having to make a sale, and began to listen very deeply to what these prospective clients really wanted and needed. As I approached more clients this way, my meetings transformed. My success as a financial advisor grew exponentially.”
As Gitterman reminds us, every appointment and meeting invites us to challenge ourselves to a life of giving. We all know that the fastest path to success is getting others to succeed; instead consider that the path to fulfillment (not just success) is to help others get and achieve what it is that they want.
Maslow’s Needs: The Personal Journey
Reflect on our Update’s original poem. You have likely heard the cliché that life is a journey, not a destination, but how do we remember that in the busyness of life? How can we de-clutter and enjoy the moments instead of waiting for a magical “next chapter” to arrive? Evaluate, and then trim away, all of the non-essentials in your day. What are you involved with out of obligation that could be less frequent or eliminated entirely? How many social networking sites do you really need to update or check, and how often per day? What do you say “yes” to that is unnecessary and takes time away from the things and people who are truly most important to you in life? Eliminating a few non-essential tasks or activities gives you the time and energy to invest in those things that are essential for your balance and wellbeing.
There are growth needs and basic needs; basic needs are external whereas growth needs are internal. That is part of what makes this journey so complicated! Take a moment to reflect on the following:
- Who in my life do I care to impact the most? How specifically am I going to mentor and impact those individuals?
- What are five things I would put on my bucket list, and with whom would I want to experience them?
- What experiences am I most appreciative of in my life? How can I help others have that same experience?
- What moment in your life are you most proud of? How can you duplicate more of those moments?
- What do you enjoy most about being around the favorite people in your life? How are you emulating those same traits to others?
We have the freedom to choose our actions, our profession, our financial needs, and the path of our life. Each day is not about what we have to do. It’s about what we get to do.