How to Live a Worklife Fulfilled

By John Scorza Jan 4, 2017
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Are you fulfilled? Do you know your life's mission and where you want to end up? Fulfilled! Critical Choices: Work, Home, Life (Secant Publishing, 2016) by William A. Schiemann offers readers tools to help them keep on course and achieve their personal and professional goals.

Fulfillment is defined in the book as "a critical quality that is evident when individuals are conscientiously living in accordance with a plan that brings out the best in themselves." Fulfillment also involves having values that align with those of friends, family, co-workers and employers and being fully engaged in "the significance and purpose of [one's] work, family and life overall."

Schiemann is an organizational psychologist and principal of Metrus Group, a New Jersey-based business management consulting company. He has authored and co-authored several books, including Hidden Drivers of Success: Leveraging Employee Insights for Strategic Advantage (Society for Human Resource Management, 2013) and The ACE Advantage: How Smart Companies Unleash Talent for Optimal Performance (Society for Human Resource Management, 2012).

In his latest book, Schiemann revisits a topic he explored previously—the three critical factors needed for businesses to optimize talent, abbreviated as ACE:

  • People who are aligned with the organization's goals, its values, its customers and others with whom they work.
  • People who have the "right" capabilities—the competencies, information and resources—to meet or exceed customer or client expectations.
  • People who are engaged with the organization—and are willing to put in additional effort as needed to accomplish goals, willing to recommend the organization as a place to work, and willing to volunteer for special projects at work or in the community.

Organizations made up of people with these characteristics will thrive, Schiemann contends, and individuals who apply these concepts to their own lives similarly succeed. On a personal level, the question becomes "Are your job and goals aligned with your life goals and values?" (The author includes brief quizzes to help readers answer this and other questions.)

Misalignment can often be addressed by taking concrete actions over things you can control. For example, check to see if you're aligned with your job and personal relationships on values, interests and activities. If there are critical factors in your situation that are beyond your control—your employer's values are different from yours, for example—it may be better to take a different path. But recognize those things that can be changed, like getting a new work assignment or transferring to another team.

There's science to back Schiemann's ideas. Drawing on research about satisfaction, success and happiness, the author explores how our values motivate us. The book includes tools to help readers identify their highest values and the "lighthouse" goals that guide them. To become fulfilled, people often need to take a hard look at where they are now and where they want to be. That's true personally as well as professionally. To that end, Schiemann provides guidance on how to develop a map to one's goals and how to measure success along life's path.

So there's science, but is there something more that can be drawn from those who are fulfilled—tricks or recommendations that people can apply to their own lives? Schiemann discusses 10 strategies for achieving success and long-term fulfillment. Here are a few:

  • Keep the goal in mind.
  • Nurture your body.
  • Take reasonable risks.
  • Stick to your values.

And a final piece of advice from a group of fulfilled individuals: Have fun! Enjoy life's ride before you die.

John Scorza is associate editor of HR Magazine.

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