A few weeks ago, I asked one of my favorite coaching clients for a testimonial. Even though I expected something positive, the feedback was overwhelmingly great.
I thanked her for the testimonial and she replied with “Glad you like it, I wish I can give you back more; you have literally changed my life.”
How Are You Changing People’s Life?
I think this is a question we do not ask ourselves enough. If every business that is started would be based on this simple idea, the world would look very different.
Look at your current career or business. Look at what you do all day.
How does what you do affect people’s lives? Does it provide massive value and affect people in a positive way? Or is the outcome of what you do all day long actually affecting people negatively?
Just think about the tobacco industry. They are not the only bad boys out there. Every organization that lost its WHY and has no higher cause than making money can potentially affect people’s life in a negative way.
Step back for a moment from what you have done in the past and from what you are doing right now.
What would you really love to do? What would you do every day if you could do anything?
Chances are high that you just thought about something that affects people’s life in a very positive way.
The Urge to Help Others
As humans, we have an urge – sometimes completely unconscious – to help other people to achieve their dreams or to reduce suffering. This is born into us, we can’t help it.
It’s a fact that we are at our highest level of fulfillment when we help other people. There is nothing more fulfilling than seeing that what we do helps somebody achieve their dream or to reduce suffering. The more directly related our actions are to that outcome, the more fulfilled we are.
Many people come to work with me so they can do work that fulfills them. Their intentions are almost always to change some part of the world (no matter how big or small) in a positive direction.
In my corporate job as a recruiter and manager, I never really felt fulfilled. I earned a lot of money and had a very comfortable life but it was far from true fulfillment.
One of the issues was that I didn’t know what true inner fulfillment looked like since I had never tasted it back then.
Now, I get to work with people who inspire me and literally change their career, business and life. I feel the highest level of fulfillment when I see that result happening.
How to Achieve the Highest Level of Success in Your Career or Business
If you look out there at the most successful and truly fulfilled leaders, from for-profit businesses to social causes, you can see that they are there because of the right foundation.
They know their WHY. Their WHY fuels their core motivation and makes them unstoppable. It makes every roadblock seem small and helps them overcome even the biggest struggles.
Nietzsche expressed this perfectly when he said “He who has a Why to live can bear almost any How”.
I just finished reading Man’s Search for Meaning from Viktor Frankl, one of the most powerful books I have ever read. In it, the quote from Nietzsche is clearly shown to be true.
To rise to the top in your career or with your business, you have to set a solid foundation first. This is why I put so much effort into working out the WHY with my coaching clients in the beginning.
If your WHY is fueling you, the rest is peanuts. If your WHY is strong enough, everything else seems to make sense and you can easily figure out the HOW.
What Do You Want People to Thank You For?
If you are thinking about a career change or want to start your own business, think about this question. What should be the outcome of your work? What should it do for the people who are affected by it?
I believe this is a central question because it directly relates to your potential level of fulfillment and your success. The more impact you have, the more value you provide and the more lives you directly or indirectly change, the happier and more successful you will be.
It also has a direct correlation with the money you earn. The more people your work affects in a positive way and the more drastically it changes people’s lives (the value you create), the higher your income can be.
The Unfulfilling Aviation CFO Career
A few months ago, I worked with a coaching client who was a CFO for large aviation companies in the past. He realized that there was not much fulfillment for him in what he did. He engaged with me to get a better idea what to do next.
We recently met for lunch and he told me about his eye-opening coffee meeting he had in South Africa. He was talking to somebody over coffee there who told him about his social project. It was not a usual social project but one that was backed up with a solid business model to generate profit.
My client was incredibly excited about this idea since he truly wanted to do something that had a big positive impact on people’s lives and also earn decent money while doing that.
After all, he has a family to support, Switzerland is not the cheapest place to live in and he wants to enjoy the luxuries life has to offer no less than before.
These opportunities are all out there. You just need to keep looking and as Steve Jobs said “Stay hungry”.
The clearer you are about your WHY, the easier it is for you to identify potential opportunities.
Being Stuck in a Startup You Co-Founded
I recently started to work with a new coaching & mentoring client who co-founded a startup in Zurich a while ago. They employ more than 10 people and had some great success in the past.
However, my client engaged with me since he felt stuck. He felt like hitting a glass ceiling. He did not fully enjoy his role any more since he realized it does not bring him closer to his big vision to the extent he imagined.
He wants to move on and do something meaningful that contributes to his big vision of improving people’s lives.
He is already very successful in what he does from societies perspective in terms of status and money but he can’t bear the inner emptiness any more.
What Story Do You Want to Tell Your Grand-Kids?
This is something I ask myself on a regular basis. What’s my story that I want to tell?
I want to tell my grand-kids about the impact I had in the world. I want to tell them all the great stories of people who completely transformed their lives and created something significant. I want to tell them about my travels around the world and about all of the most exciting things I have done in my life. I also want to tell them about the struggles that belong to life and how I overcame them.
Fact is that we all write our stories ourselves.
This is your career, your business and your life. What story will you tell?