THE BLOG
07/16/2012 04:39 pm ET Updated Sep 15, 2012

A Roadmap to Fulfillment

We're fortunate to live in a world that makes progress and doesn't usually allow things to be the way they were. Thus, there is more opportunity, equality and encouragement for everyone to follow their dreams and passions. But then what?

The first real step to maximizing your potential is to ask yourself, "What do I really want?" That's the question I asked when I wanted to move from my early accounting career. I realized that what I really wanted to do was to help people resolve non-financial life issues. This lead me to go back to graduate school to become a psychologist.

After you sort out what's working in your own life and giving you satisfaction, you can then make whatever major or minor changes are necessary to remove what isn't working for you. You may not want to make as radical a life change as I did, but size here doesn't matter.

Along the way, it's just as important to change certain attitudes and life philosophies so that you don't find yourself going backward in that direction of non-fulfillment. Self-permission to follow your dream is the essential ingredient for living an optimal life and reaching your highest potential.

In Stage Climbing: The Shortest Path to Your Highest Potential, I note that the Buddha states what is arguably the most powerful statement ever made about how to reach your potential: "Be open to everything but attached to nothing." This is the core attitude that will most empower you to make the changes needed to let go of the roles in your life that are not working -- that you keep solely because of your attachment to them -- and then trading them for new experiences that ignite or are consistent with your unique passions.

Many are fortunate enough to find a mentor to help them do this, to the extent that change is what they want and help is needed to achieve it. For others, psychotherapy, coaching or spiritual guidance may be an answer; but get whatever support you may need to bring your dream to fruition.

No matter how you get there, follow the Buddha: Make your choices, and then be relentless in seeing them through to fruition. This is the key that enables you to soar!

But remember, don't just settle. Some people leave one marriage or love relationship (whether or not by their own choice), only to immediately enter into a new one on the rebound; or quickly replace one lost job with another similar one, often without even giving a thought to some exploration of whether a bigger life change may be in order.

A reevaluation of the bigger picture will more likely help you to arrive at a much better and more comprehensive solution than by merely switching roles or players. This is the principal reason why rebound romances rarely work in the long term.

Part of the road to fulfillment that the Buddha refers to is learning to tolerate the emotional pain triggered by letting yourself feel a void in your life until you can replace the missing piece with what you really desire. That way you will break your pattern of just settling for whatever is available to you right now -- be it a new relationship, job, or anything else -- in order simply to end the discomfort caused solely by a void itself.

Most importantly, you will have given yourself something much more than just another Band-Aid to get you through a transition or difficult situation. And you'll be amazed at the rewards that come to you.

For more by Michael S. Broder, Ph.D., click here.

For more on success and motivation, click here.

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