Welcome to the final part of my series on my TRIANGLE OF FULFILLMENT! In the last segment, we tackled the “what?” and defined what actions you want to take and what exactly you want to accomplish in the future. With these personal insights in mind, the time has come to put it all together and tap into the motivation at the core of these “who?” and “what?” desires! To do so, we’ll look at the final question on the Triangle of Fulfillment…
I’ll be completely honest here – to me, this question is the most important part of the Triangle of Fulfillment, and I’ll explain why (no pun intended!)! While I firmly believe that knowing who you want to be and what you want to do / accomplish (your next peaks) are integral integers in the formula towards fulfillment, I’d argue that if you don’t know why you want these outcomes, then you won’t be as motivated and determined to reach these new heights. Without motivation, fulfillment can be hard to find!
Here is a quick exercise we can all do right now that I believe highlights this idea: first, think of the last time you caught yourself wondering, “Why am I even doing this?” Perhaps it was while at work or at school. Maybe it was while working out or practicing your sport. This question can pop up in all kinds of places, and I’m willing to bet it has crossed your mind at least once – it’s simply a natural thought to have sometimes! Next, once you have this time in mind, try to put yourself back into that moment mentally to remember how motivated you were. How would you rate that motivation level on a scale from 1 – 10 with 1 being the lowest? I’m guessing that your motivation levels were pretty low in that moment, and, again, that’s natural! If we don’t know why we’re doing something, then chances are that we aren’t going to be particularly determined to complete that task. On the flip side, knowing the “why?” behind your actions and desires is powerful, so let’s find your “why?” now!
Finding Your “Why?”
The key to finding a truly powerful “why?” is to be as specific as possible. A vague “why?” leaves room for disinterest to creep in, and I want you to stay as locked into your goals as possible! To reach this level of specificity, I find it is best to start with one of your outcomes from the first two parts of this Triangle of Fulfillment and then work backwards from there by narrowing down the reasons behind that desire until you have a word or a few words that capture that “why?”. I find it is easiest to go through this process as part of a conversation with someone like a certified coach, but if you aren’t working with a coach yet, you could also try it as a conversation with yourself.
So as an example, let’s use some parts of that “what?” goal from Part 2 of this series. The first parts of that goal were: “to improve my number of passes to a stationary target from a driven ball by 10% by the end of April,” which is a strong goal, but nowhere in its phrasing is the “why?”, so the motivation to achieve it is still weaker than it might be. Let’s change that! Here’s what the conversation (externally with a coach or internally with yourself) could look like in order to work backwards from this outcome to find more motivation through the true “why?”!
1: “Why do I want to do this?”
2: “That’s easy – I want to become a better passer.”
1: “Ok, true, but why do I want to become a better passer?”
2: “Well, I’ll make my team better, and I’ll hopefully be able to get more playing time in the process.”
1: “But why do I want those outcomes?”
2: “Because I want to be the best I can possibly be and to use my skill to help my team beat the best that our opponents can offer.”
1: “Ok! Now we’re getting somewhere! Why do I want to be and beat the best?”
2: “I just have that competitive drive within me. I love to compete”
1: “Great, so let’s put it all together – what’s the real “why?” behind this goal?”
2: “The true “why?” behind this goal is the quenching of my thirst for competition. It gives me the chance to compete against myself while pushing towards the more deeply desired outcomes behind this goal.”
It may not always be this efficient of a process, but if you keep asking yourself “why?” until you exhaust your answers, then you’ll find that true “why?” that can help you keep climbing towards those next peaks in your life!
You Have Your “Why?” – Now What?
Whenever you find a “why?” in your life, my first piece of advice would be to write it down! That way, you can revisit or revise it as needed (since “why?”s can and do change as we change)! With an enhanced knowledge of the real reason behind any goal, you now hold the power of using this knowledge as a way of tapping into motivation. If the going is getting tough or the chances of success are looking slim, you can always turn this “why?” into fuel to press forward. I know the saying “knowledge is power” is so commonly used now that it borders on cliché, but it really is that simple in this case!
To bring this series on the Triangle of Fulfillment to a close, I’d like to leave you with my thoughts on why fulfillment belongs in the center of this triangle rather than success. While “success” may be the flashier word of the pair, I find it is actually less important in life than fulfillment. I cannot guarantee that you’ll be successful in accomplishing all of your “who?” and “what?” goals even when you know the “why?”s behind them, but I can promise you that you’ll feel more fulfilled in the journey than if you didn’t! Success is always secondary to growth to me, and while I pride myself on helping the people I’m lucky enough to work with find success, I value their growth and fulfillment even more. Increased success is certainly a likely effect of going through the Triangle for yourself, but it is the Triangle of Fulfillment for a reason. When your “who?”s, “what?”s, and “why?”s are working together in harmony, then fulfillment will be found.
Thanks so much for coming along on this journey through my Triangle of Fulfillment!