How You Can Be Satisfied and Still Achieve More
Is it good to be satisfied with where you are … or dissatisfied? Is it good to be happy with the outcomes you’ve achieved or would it be better to always be wanting more? These are questions that come up all the time in both my life and business coaching.
Trick questions? Well, yeah, kinda, because there’s no definitive yes or no answer for every person in every situation.
BUT … there are some important insights we can glean from examining these questions and seeing where people get wrapped around the axle, making themselves miserable by answering them in an unhelpful way.
First, what am I talking about exactly? Let’s take a couple of concrete examples.
You’ve met or exceeded your business goals for Q1. Do you take the time to celebrate? Are you satisfied or are you more worried about making your goals again in Q2?
You’ve put together a To Do list. You’ve categorized the items on the list into three categories according to where they land in terms of priority from high to low. You get one or two of your top three items done, but that’s it.
Are you satisfied or not? Hmmm.
Look, in this situation, it’s probably going to depend to some extent on how important those items were that you got done and how efficiently you worked your list. I get that. But that’s almost irrelevant to the essential nature of the question. It’s actually kind of a trap to look at it that way.
Why? Because you can always be dissatisfied.
You can always see your efforts as not good enough, no matter how effective you’ve actually been. Because you will always have more to do than you can do.
And what does that lead to, especially with my drivers and high-achiever types? Self-flagellation.
They beat themselves up. Rather than acknowledging the progress they’ve made and the half-a-glass they’ve managed to drink. They see the half-a-glass that remains to be drained. And that makes them unhappy.
Argh. And if you’re always unhappy, because you aren’t doing enough, what kind of life is that?
But wait, wait, you might be saying. Isn’t it good to want to accomplish more and to have more … to reach your highest potential and be all you can be?
Well, yes, and no. It depends on the circumstances. Certainly, there are times you simply need to buckle down and do more.
But here’s what works for most of us most of the time.
When you make progress, give yourself some credit. Be happy you’ve moved the ball forward.
Then, look at what would make you happy and satisfied to accomplish next and get a little excited about that before you move forward.
Doesn’t that have a better feel to it than feeling as if you have to shake that monkey off your back by relentlessly grinding through your list?
Get yourself to the point where you’re in a state of eager anticipation for the good that comes next.
In other words, be happy with where you are. Work on being grateful for what you have and satisfied with what you’ve done so far, while at the same time looking forward with eager anticipation to what else is out there for you to do.
THAT is the state from which you accomplish more … which is a whole lot different from the state of ritually berating yourself for coming up short.
And here’s the thing. The more you appreciate what you’ve done, the Universe makes it easier for you to get more done moving forward. That’s just what happens when there’s no resistance. Everything becomes easier.
So, give yourself a break and congratulate yourself once in a while.
You’re doin’ great … and there’s always more good to come.
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