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How to Have a Successful Career and a Fulfilling Personal Life

How to Have a Successful Career and a Fulfilling Personal Life
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Several years ago, after years of trying, my husband and I became parents to 3 kids within 19 months. I became fiercely determined to have a totally fulfilling life as a mom, and be very present for my kids, and also reach really big career goals. That was my definition of having it all – and I was on fire to figure out how to make it happen. I quickly discovered I wasn’t alone. In fact, many people are seeking a sense of balance in their lives. As Stephen Covey says,

“The challenge of work-life balance is without question, one of the most significant struggles faced by modern man.”

It can be incredibly difficult to feel a sense of balance when we are juggling careers, personal responsibilities, family time, self-care, recreational activities, social time, community service, and more.

I knew in order to achieve huge career goals and also be a very hands-on, present mom, I would need to streamline my life. I would need to eliminate the non-essential activities I was doing. I would need to cut out the time-sucking, empty activities like mindlessly scrolling through social media or checking email a million times per day, and be very intentional with my time every day. Each and every day, it would be important to tell my time where to go.

It required significant focus on my priorities, and a ruthless elimination of many time-sucking activities, but I stuck with my determination to achieve career success and also a fulfilling personal life, and I made it happen. By being very focused and purposeful about where I spent my time and energy, I achieved the elusive sense of balance, and now I help other entrepreneurs and driven professionals achieve it too.

People who have achieved fulfilling, successful lives have specific habits. While most people find it very difficult to be amazing and satisfied both at work and in their personal lives, the successful, fulfilled people know it’s not impossible. Learn from the habits of successful and fulfilled people to reach higher levels of fulfilling success:

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1. Have clarity about what you want

Successful, fulfilled people know exactly what they want to achieve. They know what’s important to them and set crystal clear targets to aim for in their careers and lives. These people don’t have vague aspirations. Instead, they set very specific goals that align with their priorities, and they direct their time and efforts toward achieving these goals.

Find out more about how to identify the thing you want most in Why I Can Be the Only 8% of People Who Reach the Goal Every Single Time.

2. Define success on your terms

Successful, fulfilled people define success their own way. They understand they can only be satisfied if they achieve success that truly matters to them. While they appreciate the value of hard work, their definition of a successful life is often more holistic than just achieving financial results.

3. Stand your ground

Successful, fulfilled people understand the importance of saying “no.” They set boundaries so they can focus their lives and work on what matters most. They avoid falling prey to enticing goals that don’t align with their true purpose, priorities, and passions.

4. Be highly productive

Successful, fulfilled people know how to get things done. They know in order to have “it all” and balance their careers and personal lives, they need to avoid wasting time. When they aspire to do something, they get it done.

Take a look at how successful people stay productive in 10 Habits Successful People Give Up to Increase Their Productivity.

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5. Be strategic with time

Successful, fulfilled people are intentional with their time. They strategically fit their work into their ideal lifestyle. As a result, their hard-earned success doesn’t feel overwhelming.

Try to perceive time differently and you will start to make every second count. Read more about How to Gain More Time Like Making Money.

6. Make decisions confidently

Successful, fulfilled people powerfully make decisions. They make choices that align with who they are and what they truly want. They courageously turn down opportunities that don’t line up with their values.

The best way is to start to build confidence from within, check out this article about How to Build Confidence From Scratch.

7. Know your priorities

Successful, fulfilled people have clarity about their priorities. They work hard, but avoid a “succeed at all costs” mentality. While they achieve great results in their careers, they also are high performers in the other areas of life that matter to them.

Learn to organize your life by setting the right priorities for yourself in How To Organize Your Life By Priority And Not Urgency.

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8. Don’t get jealous of others

Successful, fulfilled people congratulate and praise the achievements of others. They don’t feel threatened by the success of others. Instead, they are happy to create their own version of success and they greatly enjoy their lifestyle. Read more about the impact of endless comparison with others in The Cost of Envy.

9. Be disciplined

Successful, fulfilled people know they are in charge of creating their best lives. They realize that ultimately, they are in control of what they do with their lives, and they accept this power. They see the vision of who they want to be and they stick to their plan.

Learn more about the importance of self-discipline in Why the Conscientious Mind Is a Successful Mind.

10. Know how to delegate

Successful, fulfilled people declutter their lives. They delegate tasks at work and in their personal lives. As a result, they can enjoy more time freedom and do more of what they love.

Going is alone doesn’t work. If you want to know more about the benefits of delegating tasks to others, read The Delights of Delegation.

11. Be grateful but not complacent

Successful, fulfilled people appreciate what they have. However, they also strive to achieve more of what truly matters. They do this because they know they will use their success to make a positive impact on the world.

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A fulfilling life is not an aspiration, but an everyday habit

Building habits takes time but you can start with these small things:

Get clear about your priorities.

Who do you most want to be? What do you want your life to be like? These questions can be tough and can be an evolving process, but when you are clear about what matters most to you, you can start eliminating the activities that don’t align with what matters most.

Write out a schedule for your day.

When you tell your time where to go, you can decrease the time spent on time-sucking, empty activities. Being intentional with your time can help you achieve your career and personal goals.

Decrease the noise.

We are bombarded every day by thousands of distractions that threaten to take our time away from what matters most. Very simple (yet not always easy) strategies such as shutting off our phones, or only checking email at set times, can help us be more present, productive, and fulfilled.

Achieving high levels of career success while having a satisfying personal life is definitely possible. I’ve done it, and so can you.

Featured photo credit: Stocksnap via stocksnap.io

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More by this author

Dr. Kerry Petsinger

Entrepreneur, Mindset & Performance Coach, & Doctor of Physical Therapy

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Last Updated on July 21, 2021

The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder Work)

The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder Work)
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No matter how well you set up your todo list and calendar, you aren’t going to get things done unless you have a reliable way of reminding yourself to actually do them.

Anyone who’s spent an hour writing up the perfect grocery list only to realize at the store that they forgot to bring the list understands the importance of reminders.

Reminders of some sort or another are what turn a collection of paper goods or web services into what David Allen calls a “trusted system.”[1]

A lot of people resist getting better organized. No matter what kind of chaotic mess, their lives are on a day-to-day basis because they know themselves well enough to know that there’s after all that work they’ll probably forget to take their lists with them when it matters most.

Fortunately, there are ways to make sure we remember to check our lists — and to remember to do the things we need to do, whether they’re on a list or not.

In most cases, we need a lot of pushing at first, for example by making a reminder, but eventually we build up enough momentum that doing what needs doing becomes a habit — not an exception.

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From Creating Reminders to Building Habits

A habit is any act we engage in automatically without thinking about it.

For example, when you brush your teeth, you don’t have to think about every single step from start to finish; once you stagger up to the sink, habit takes over (and, really, habit got you to the sink in the first place) and you find yourself putting toothpaste on your toothbrush, putting the toothbrush in your mouth (and never your ear!), spitting, rinsing, and so on without any conscious effort at all.

This is a good thing because if you’re anything like me, you’re not even capable of conscious thought when you’re brushing your teeth.

The good news is you already have a whole set of productivity habits you’ve built up over the course of your life. The bad news is, a lot of them aren’t very good habits.

That quick game Frogger to “loosen you up” before you get working, that always ends up being 6 hours of Frogger –– that’s a habit. And as you know, habits like that can be hard to break — which is one of the reasons why habits are so important in the first place.

Once you’ve replaced an unproductive habit with a more productive one, the new habit will be just as hard to break as the old one was. Getting there, though, can be a chore!

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The old saw about anything you do for 21 days becoming a habit has been pretty much discredited, but there is a kernel of truth there — anything you do long enough becomes an ingrained behavior, a habit. Some people pick up habits quickly, others over a longer time span, but eventually, the behaviors become automatic.

Building productive habits, then, is a matter of repeating a desired behavior over a long enough period of time that you start doing it without thinking.

But how do you remember to do that? And what about the things that don’t need to be habits — the one-off events, like taking your paycheck stubs to your mortgage banker or making a particular phone call?

The trick to reminding yourself often enough for something to become a habit, or just that one time that you need to do something, is to interrupt yourself in some way in a way that triggers the desired behavior.

The Wonderful Thing About Triggers — Reminders

A trigger is anything that you put “in your way” to remind you to do something. The best triggers are related in some way to the behavior you want to produce.

For instance, if you want to remember to take something to work that you wouldn’t normally take, you might place it in front of the door so you have to pick it up to get out of your house.

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But anything that catches your attention and reminds you to do something can be a trigger. An alarm clock or kitchen timer is a perfect example — when the bell rings, you know to wake up or take the quiche out of the oven. (Hopefully you remember which trigger goes with which behavior!)

If you want to instill a habit, the thing to do is to place a trigger in your path to remind you to do whatever it is you’re trying to make into a habit — and keep it there until you realize that you’ve already done the thing it’s supposed to remind you of.

For instance, a post-it saying “count your calories” placed on the refrigerator door (or maybe on your favorite sugary snack itself)  can help you remember that you’re supposed to be cutting back — until one day you realize that you don’t need to be reminded anymore.

These triggers all require a lot of forethought, though — you have to remember that you need to remember something in the first place.

For a lot of tasks, the best reminder is one that’s completely automated — you set it up and then forget about it, trusting the trigger to pop up when you need it.

How to Make a Reminder Works for You

Computers and ubiquity of mobile Internet-connected devices make it possible to set up automatic triggers for just about anything.

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Desktop software like Outlook will pop up reminders on your desktop screen, and most online services go an extra step and send reminders via email or SMS text message — just the thing to keep you on track. Sandy, for example, just does automatic reminders.

Automated reminders can help you build habits — but it can also help you remember things that are too important to be trusted even to habit. Diabetics who need to take their insulin, HIV patients whose medication must be taken at an exact time in a precise order, phone calls that have to be made exactly on time, and other crucial events require triggers even when the habit is already in place.

My advice is to set reminders for just about everything — have them sent to your mobile phone in some way (either through a built-in calendar or an online service that sends updates) so you never have to think about it — and never have to worry about forgetting.

Your weekly review is a good time to enter new reminders for the coming weeks or months. I simply don’t want to think about what I’m supposed to be doing; I want to be reminded so I can think just about actually doing it.

I tend to use my calendar for reminders, mostly, though I do like Sandy quite a bit.

More on Building Habits

Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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Reference

[1] Getting Things Done: Trusted System

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