I recently read a book titled “Your Life’s Purpose: Uncover What Really Fulfills You” by Michael J. Losier.
Did it help me discover my life’s purpose? Not really. But, it was very valuable when it came to helping me crystalize the key “Fulfillment Needs” I have in regards to my work life. And understanding what these needs are have helped guide my decision-making more than once.
Let’s take a step back to talk about Fulfillment Needs.
The author describes Fulfillment Needs as certain needs, that when they get met, bring us joy. His list of 30 Fulfillment Needs includes things like:
Practically speaking, according to the author: “When you identify your Fulfillment Needs, you are able to create and attract the strategies to get these needs met. And when you get these needs met, you experience joy.”
The book provides worksheets that have you assess aspects of your favorite-ever job, your most hated job and your current job. After which, you’re able to identify your personal Top 4 Work Fulfillment Needs.
After less than two hours of some good, honest thinking, reflection and working the worksheets, I arrived at the following “Work Fulfillment Needs” for myself, in this order of importance:
- Freedom: The power or right to act, speak or think as one wants, without hindrance or restraint; The state of being physically unrestricted and able to move about easily
- Achievement: Something done successfully, typically by effort, courage or skill; To attain a desired level of performance
- Autonomy: Freedom from external control or influence, personal independence; I can do it alone/on my own
- Specialness: Better, greater or otherwise different from what is usual
For an independent PR practitioner who has no problem working on her own, prefers to work from home or while traveling, and aims for a certain level of standard at all times, these Work Fulfillment Needs seemed pretty spot on.
Tied for my Top 5 slot were Contribution, Creativity and Security, which are important for me to keep top-of-mind because they came in very close behind No. 4 and very much resonate with me.
How to Use This Knowledge
While it’s fun to figure out what your Work Fulfillment Needs are, the rubber meets the road when you can apply them to your decision making.
Here’s an example:
I was having conversations with a prospective client who I could tell would demand a lot of my time and attention, if I were to take on the account. I’d need to often be onsite and be on-call 24/7, and it was evident I would be taking a lot of direction from him.
It was pretty clear that taking this account would infringe on my Fulfillment Needs of both Freedom and Autonomy. So, I passed. And I have no regrets.
Here’s a few ways you might find knowing your Fulfillment Needs helpful:
- If one of your top needs is Creativity, look for a job where you can foster that (and avoid those that would limit your creativity)
- If one of your top needs is Appreciation and you have a boss or client who never recognize your hard work, perhaps it’s time to think about moving on
- If one of your top needs is Fun, seek out a work environment that fosters that
- If one of your top needs is Contribution, working for a nonprofit may be a great fit
If you read the book and discover your Work Fulfillment Needs – and it’s changed the way you make decisions related to your job – I’d love to hear about it in the comments below!