Close your eyes and think for 5 seconds… Don’t overthink it. Ready?
Think about a moment or a place where you feel happiest. Fulfilled.
(I’ll wait here until you’re ready)
Now, at that time, how did it make you feel about yourself in One Word?
Okay, what was your One Word? Remember this word.
This short exercise is supposed to help understand what makes you feel most emotionally fulfilled, and hence, a motive driving your actions.
Initially, a friend had asked me the same questions. These were my answers:
Crossing a the finish line after a triathlon was the peak moment of choice. And it made me feel, in one word, accomplished.
My friend’s answer, however, was surfing. Because surfing makes him feel free. The juxtaposition of both our answers served as a reminder of how different we are from each other, and helped me understand the reason behind his actions with more clarity. It also helped him understand why I’d spend working until 4 a.m. to have a lesson plan done for the public speaking class I helped instruct. Success, to me, is to see the fruit of my work.
Crossing a finish line reminds me I went from getting picked last for teams during P.E., to being able to go non-stop through miles of swimming, cycling, and running. Hard work has paid off and pain, indeed, can be gain; discomfort is only part of moving towards a goal. Accountability, milestones, and sacrifice are indispensable.
I am largely driven by a desire to feel accomplished due to decisions I made: mornings I did not sleep enough to be able to train, or hours I sacrificed, or trips to happy hour I missed. Then it is all worth it.
Success does not have a universal definition, and that’s fine. Isn’t there equal beauty in finding fulfillment in a sense of peace? of feeling free? of whatever was your One Word?