“Successful…but unfulfilled”. You know, the money, position, prestige, nice office, respect from colleagues, access to opportunities…but still, that daily “meh” feeling.
We know it was a core factor in the “Great Resignation”, triggered by pandemic driven introspection, which continues to have an impact on the bottom line of organizations still reacting to unplanned attrition. It is estimated that organizations suffer a bottom line hit of 30-50% of a lost employee’s annual compensation in disruption, productivity, recruiting and replacement costs.
Retention is a big issue……and companies will need to address the issue with a range of enhanced initiatives including internal mobility portals, modern mentoring programs, pioneering management techniques and more refined and targeted recruiting strategies. More thoughts on these organizational advancements in future articles…
However, it spans far beyond corporations, and is a common dilemma impacting many achievers and accomplished professionals. Ambitious college students hope to avoid it…Military veterans wrestle with it when they transition from serving something “larger than oneself”…Mid-career professionals struggle with these gnawing feelings as they ascend…Talented women re-entering the workforce, after taking a break to build families, want to avoid this time and energy consuming outcome…
At a personal level, it can be difficult to talk about, so let’s at least get the conversation started about this “elephant in the room”.
Most achievers start life filled with positive energy, hope and idealism. Let’s say it’s…you.
You worked incredibly hard, did all the right things, made others proud, achieved your goals… but somehow, after years of accomplishments, you haven’t yet realized the person you truly aspire to become. The years of hard work have stripped away the idealism, hope and energy, and you adopt a sense of acceptance of this reality of “comfortable dissatisfaction”…You’ve invested years “firing the rocket engines full speed” to climb higher, and have now reached orbit. Engines are shut down, and you orbit the earth with a pretty good view…
Nothing is “wrong”, it just doesn’t feel “right”, and it is not the sweet feeling of success that you expected.
I have been there…
After all, you “succeeded”. Should not the laws of the universe merit happiness and fulfillment, instead of success with boredom, monotony and misery?
If you look back on your childhood of playfulness and big dreams, and consider all the education, effort, planning and work that you invested, it begs the question.
Why does “comfortable dissatisfaction” happen, and why is this an acceptable outcome for the best and brightest?
Of course, over the years, there are many variables that have entangled the complex web of responsibilities, public perceptions and expectations that one believes must be met by continuing on this same path.
The common conclusion is that it is impossible to untangle an “established and successful life”, even if it clearly not the one you want… but is that really true? How do you at least move the needle to inspire a little more hope and happiness?
You recognize that a life/career transition needs to occur to realize the ideal YOU…but what does that include, and how do you think through it?
…and who do you talk with, as a confidant, an objective advisor who can walk with you on the journey of introspection, visualization, planning and networking?
How, as the “Alpha Achiever”, do you even start the dialogue, when it may “let others down” and destabilize the peace and security of everyone in your orbit?
Are there steps to take to begin to move towards the life you really want?
How do you change your path when everyone else (except the person in the mirror) thinks you are on the right path?
If you did figure it out, and found the boldness to act, would you be able to fulfill the current responsibilities and obligations that so many “successful” people carry?
When will you be able to look in the mirror and know that you are living the life you were meant to live, true to oneself?
When will you be able to return to the days when life was a “hope-filled adventure, a moonshot” that invigorated you every morning with excitement and natural energy?
You were “running down a dream”, and it felt good…
What is really stopping you from going back there?
Lots of really heavy questions, but they must be addressed in order to experience a more fulfilling life.
After all, our time on this planet is limited, especially in the context of history. The universe is 13.8 billion years old, earth about 4.5 billion years old, recorded history 6,500 years old…but the average person lives only until 79. Tick, tick, tick…Just a blip on the time continuum…so we must act with a gratefulness and respect for the scarcity of time.
I learned a lot about this topic through the challenges embedded in my four dramatic career transitions over 30+ years; College student-athlete to military pilot…Pilot to Investment Banker…Investment Banker to Wall Street Sales & Trading professional…Trading floor professional to Investment Banking Talent Leader.
I have developed a framework for approaching these forks in the road, and I get so much fulfillment sharing in my core speaking topic , and plan to build Van Buren Transition Advisory around it in the next five years.
Just imagine waking up excited about the day…projecting genuine confidence and positive energy…embracing the invigorating feeling of a day invested in the pursuit of worthy goals!
It’s possible for everyone.
I believe awareness and discussion about this topic could dramatically increase the number of talented professionals who begin to move towards the ultimate outcome of successful and fulfilled!
If this subject resonates with you or someone in your network…Comment on it…Post it…Tag it…Forward it…Print it…Talk about it…