I've heard this a gazillion times and it always drives me mad. As if the magic of having a "life purpose" alone will motivate you to perform better. Sure, it can give you a boost but again, no, a life purpose or mission won't create fulfillment.
On the contrary.
The frustration that can come through having a purpose and not being able to bring it to life can be devastating.
I know this might be very confronting but hear me out. The most important gift I can give you is this. The reason why you are unfulfilled and unbalanced in your work or life, is not the lack of purpose. It has nothing to do with having the wrong job or the wrong team…or that you're running a business in a very volatile and uncertain market.
If you feel like the circumstances in your life are the reason why you are not enjoying your success or being the leader you know you can be, then let me say that this article will be one of the most important things you'll ever read.
Do you know why you have a track record of success…yet you are overwhelmed, struggling to create balance, and frustrated?
Keep reading, and I'll tell you exactly why.
Most leadership gurus and programs miss the point. Heck, most executive performance, stress-reduction, productivity and time management systems MISS THE POINT. They focus on the symptom rather than the real cause. Blaming the circumstances, the people, and events for causing stress and burnout. Blaming the workload or the environment for causing people to burn out.
How many workplaces haven't reduced all kinds of friction for their employees in a tired quest to keep them 'stress-free' and hopefully engaged and performing…and ultimately what they create is a life so sheltered and pampered they can't handle any kind of adversity at all.
We have systems and processes to manage all the moving parts. We have meetings and we micro-manage performance in hopes of finding what's creating the overwhelm and underperformance. We design a 'fun & creative' workspace to inspire 'stress-free' work. Even the furniture is ergonomic and you can adjust it so that you don't have to use a single tiny muscle if you don't want to…just your fingers typing comfortably.
We create employees and a workforce with zero resilience that...still crash and burn in the face of a tiny adversity.
I firmly believe it's not about the workload or the fact that our to-do list gets longer or our inbox overflowing that is causing burnout and underperformance.
And yes, that might be confronting.
I'd actually go as far as to say that there's zero causation there. Correlation for sure, but no causation.
The experts keep perpetuating the idea that we need to DO less: less work, less emails, less stress and stimuli, less demands…so we try that…and still we're experiencing more breakdowns than breakthroughs.
Still not reaching our full potential. Still more breakdowns than breakthroughs.
The 'experts' are wrapped up in elaborate planning systems and project management tools and they've all written 'best-selling' books on how to PLAN and TASK your life into action. They keep perpetuating the idea that you just have to plan better. As if planning is the key to a stress-free life and high performance.
"Fail to plan, plan to fail".
But really? Haven't we all planned and mapped out a gazillion plans of action until…it doesn't work. Until you revert to the same old you again.
We look for the EXPERTS to give us the answers. Why am I overworked? Why am I stuck? Why can't I motivate myself?
Why am I, despite my achievements, still not fulfilled?
…but on a deeper level, the question is really:
What the f*uck is wrong with me?
Why on earth, even though I've planned hard, micro-managed my time, mapped out the steps to success... I'm still not where I want to be?
So you go to a business executive coach and they give you more strategies. Do this. Do that. Manage your thoughts and think positively. A mantra should work. (No, it doesn't).
You try your doctor instead and ask them to run tests. Maybe it's your adrenals? Must be your hormones, right? Because it's not like you're not trying. You are.
You talk to your astrologer too. Sure, the answer must be in the stars.
You download to your kindle yet another' get your sh*t together' book and hope and pray that this new self-help modality will do the trick. Le sigh. It just creates more overwhelm instead.
You jump on the celery juicy wagon…and drink endless cups of green tea for good measure (and coffee enemas once a week of course - if we're detoxing, let's go full out).
NLP, EFT, YOGA, EST…puh-lease, been there, done that, bought the t-shirt.
Crystals, chakra healing and meditation on Skype sessions with your Shaman because obviously, you're cool like that.
…and ayahuasca. Of course. Duh. You're 'ahead of the game' - because that's how WOKE AF you are.
So it's not that you haven't tried.
You're not only WOKE AF; you're TIRED AF.
So what gives?
Why on earth are we still not doing OK and why are we still not reaching personal or professional peak levels?
Because we've been looking in the wrong direction.
Outside instead of within. Even though this is the most simple answer, and one you probably don't wanna hear - it's the truth.
And you know it.
The reason why we still don't 'get it' is because we lack a fundamental understanding of how the human experience actually works.
This is our blind spot. We can't see what we can't see.
We indulge in confusion. "I just don't know" is your go-to answer and what's great about that is that it keeps you engaged in the pursuit of enlightenment and fulfillment. So we stick to that as if our lives depended on it. "I actually don't know how to fix myself" - so we keep seeking.
My best guess is you're a highly educated person. You're a CEO or in a C-suite position, you're a senior executive. You're a founder of a successful business or a leader in your field, who has already tried many different methods of self-improvement...
...and despite great professional and personal success…there are still GOALS and LEVELS that seem unattainable to you.
But you've reached the end of your rope with the 'work harder and more effort' - tactic.
Having explored ALL avenues of self-growth, religious, philosophical, spiritual, project management systems, getting things done tools…and having a black belt in EXECUTING LIKE A PRO, I get you. I really do.
BUT HERE'S THE TRUTH.
It was never about effort or willpower.
The real reason why you're overworked, exhausted, unfulfilled and why you're not thriving and operating at your peak level is because you have a 2-million-year-old reptilian brain inside your skull that stops you from having work-life balance, from feeling fulfilled and from reaching your full potential.
Yeah, it's not your boss and nope, it's not your ex. Sorry to break it to you.
And I can prove it to you.