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Living a Fulfilled Life, True to Our Meaningful Purpose

Living a Fulfilled Life, True to Our Meaningful Purpose
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This week, we take a deeper dive into the Four Stages of Fulfillment we touched on last week. As you move through your day, which stage do you spend the most time in?

Resident in each of us is a deep, meaningful purpose for being. It is a lifelong journey to understand exactly what that is, but it is a most rewarding and meaningful journey. Understanding the Four Stages of Fulfillment framework will help you live a strategically meaningful and purposeful life. This framework is not ours; the philosophers Aristotle, Plato, and Socrates were the first to identify these maturity traits.

The Four Stages of Fulfillment

The Four Stages of Fulfillment listed below help explain why people and organizations behave the way they do. As we mature— with some maturing faster than others—we naturally move toward the higher stages of fulfillment. In time, most of us achieve the ultimate stage of maturity in Stage IV Fulfillment. We have had many interviews with leaders who realize the fulfillment of Stage IV very late in life with deep regret about how they had lived their lives.

  • Stage I Fulfillment: Meeting our primary physical needs
  • Stage II Fulfillment: Learning, growing, and competing
  • Stage III Fulfillment: Benefiting others
  • Stage IV Fulfillment: Creating a better tomorrow

As adults, we shift among the four stages of fulfillment as we go through our day, always utilizing lower-level fulfillment to serve a higher Stage of Fulfillment better. Our challenge is to be strategically purposeful as we move between the stages. For example, I will often take a nap (to meet my Stage I needs) before an evening keynote (fulfilling my Stage III purpose) so I can be at my best.

Organizations like Enron and Theranos that seek short-term gratification demonstrate their immaturity and have become expendable examples of corruption. A deeply meaningful purpose benefits others in ways that enable sustainable success. As you better understand the Four Stages of Fulfillment, you will find that a deeply meaningful purpose in service of others trumps winning awards or breaking sales records.

When four or more people are allowed to come together to reflect on what most motivates them in their work and lives, they make exceptional decisions for the team’s benefit. They end up honoring a Purpose that reflects a natural desire to pursue fulfillment to create a better future for their team members, their families, and their communities, all in pursuit of greater safety and security for each other.

#ShiftFromMeToTeam #FourStagesOfFulfillment #Purpose