I hear about high-achieving and self-satisfaction all the time. I read about it, listen to my clients and when I speak at events I’m asked questions about it.

  • The intelligence, courage and determination of high achieving women have also been a burden to them. Women worldwide are sacrificing their personal lives for professional gratifications, yet are still seeking a greater sense of contribution and purpose even after achieving high levels of success. 
  • How they create fulfillment eludes them. Thinking this way has led them to question the path they’re on and the direction they should pursue.
  • The problem with this kind of mindset is it hinders you from seeing a current situation accurately. It can also get in the way of clear problem solving because you’re bringing to the situation habitual patterns of thinking.

Overly rigid patterns of thinking become what Dr. Karen Reivich calls “thinking traps” that can retard productive emotions, resilience and wellbeing.

Dr. Albert Ellis taught that it is not the activating event itself (discontent or dissatisfaction) that determines what you feel or what you do. 

 It is what you think and say about the situation that impacts how you feel, what you do and even your physiology.

How you think drives your emotions, behaviors and ability to exercise self-satisfaction.

You can’t always control the stuff that life brings your way. But what you can control is your how you interpret by your thoughts.

First, you have to do some soul searching and determine what will actually give you satisfaction. What’s the missing attribute? It may not be what you think.

Through the behavior sciences and my experiences of building personal freedom I’ve established guidelines that I call ‘rules of flourishing’ to help women in their quest for satisfaction and contentment. 

I’ll share 3 of them here.

1. Exercise Self-awareness. Understand that you represent different faces of self. At home you may be sister, daughter, wife or mom. At work you may be leader, employer, employee or entrepreneur. You call forth various aspects of your personality depending on where you are and who you represent.

  • Look at yourself in each role and determine what it is you’re missing. Imagine a broader sense of self that will fill the void. See yourself in a different light. 
  • You will become aware of the strengths and attributes you already possess. 
  • Integrate and use these strengths as needed in your respective roles and design a plan of making the new you a reality. 
  • When you better know yourself through who you are rather than what you can accomplish, you will have peace of mind and find the direction and contentment you’ve been seeking.

2. Exercise mental agility. Think about thinking. Look at your situation from multiple perspectives so that you’re assessing things accurately and productively.

  • Thinking traps will get in the way of mental agility. You can challenge this mindset by asking yourself some hard questions: “Who am I in this moment?” “Who would I be if I give myself permission to follow my heart and not my head?” “How can I enjoy more life if I accept that I am the author of my contentment?”

  • Questions like these enable you to consciously separate the truths from the facts in your head and how it made you feel or what it made you do. 
  • Thoughts within themselves are not the problem. You want to be more flexible in your thinking.

3. Exercise brain reprogramming. Feeling discontented, unfulfilled or dissatisfied are learned behaviors. The brain does not know the difference between what it sees and what it thinks about.  

Science says the more you are opened to considering new ways of thinking you will change your actions and the faster the transmitters in your brain grow and expand.

Here’s three things you can begin doing right now to reprogram your brain and increase your ability to adapt:

  • Learning. “What would relieve my discontent and dissatisfaction?” “Could seeing through the lens of my personal and professional life give me the perspective I’m missing?” “Am I solely driven by demonstrating my expertise or trusting and developing others?”
  • Reflecting. See yourself in a new light as you ponder your response to those questions so your brain can change the structure of your thinking type. In The Potential Principle, Mark Sanborn says, “The inner world informs the outer world, and that for the majority of us, going within to understand motivations, hopes fears, and dreams offers some of the greatest leverage to improving every area of our lives.”
  • Persisting. Repeat the process until the restless behavior is changed and transformed.
Whatever you are thinking every moment of every day becomes a physical reality in both your brain and body.

The key here is to stop wearing yourself out believing that you have to achieve more to be more. Satisfaction, fulfillment and contentment aren’t tangible. They stem from within.

Begin nurturing who you are and what you already have. Express gratitude. Savor life. Cultivate optimism. You’ll discover that the flourishing potential has been in your heart all the time.