You won't achieve the success and fulfillment you desire if your goals focus only on self-improvement and personal achievement. You will only be truly successful when you are focused on improving the lives of others.  If you are focused on your personal achievements, you will remain out of balance; focused only on the things you enjoy doing at the expense of developing areas of your life that you find more challenging.

Go ahead, decide that you're going to get in shape, get control of your finances, become wealthy, quit smoking, finish your degree, or start your own business.  Likely you will fail, but if you are successful, the satisfaction you were hoping for once you reached your goal will elude you.  I bet it's happened in your life already, maybe even repeatedly.

Do you reach milestones only to find that the fulfillment you had hoped for lasts briefly and you begin the journey to the next goal you've set for yourself?  Does your focus on future fulfillment, blind you to the fact that you're not really enjoying life as you work towards it?  Does your life consist of long periods hard work and focused effort, punctuated by brief moments of celebration?

Do you drive across the country only to open your eyes at your final destination?  Wouldn't you rather enjoy the entire trip?  

We are only truly fulfilled when we are enriching the lives of those around us.  When we stop focusing on ourselves, and begin to search for how we can use our unique gifts, talents, abilities and interests to enrich the lives of others, we not only have goals that truly empower us to achieve them, we enjoy the journey as well. 

How do you want to enrich the world you live in?  What do you have to offer that would allow you to do so?  Where could you work or volunteer to make this happen?  What types of qualities would those organizations have?  Who might know of these employers or charities?  Should you open a business that offers those services because they're not currently available?

If I am focused on being the greatest father I can possibly be, if my focus is on the idea that my children are my responsibility and that I must be the greatest example I possibly can be so that they will model the same behavior, I act in a completely different way than if my goal is to have perfect kids so that I appear to be a good father.

If my goal is on offering all of my gifts and abilities to enrich the lives of those I meet, the way I pursue a career is about allowing others to determine how I am best able to meet their needs.  That is significantly different than looking for the career that provides the best financial return for the time I invest.

Ultimately, life will be more fulfilled, more productive and we have a greater chance of accumulating wealth by focusing on offering what we have to offer others rather than determining how we can best take advantage of what is available.

Think about businesses you are familiar with.  Imagine for a moment, the owner who does everything they can to provide the product or service that you are looking for, not just because they want your business, but also because they are passionate about what they're doing and would do it on their own time if it weren't their business.

Compare that to the businessman who looks at you like a walking wallet.  He gets you through the door and immediately begin calculating the odds that you will purchase, how big a purchase you will make and if he can develop you into a return client.

Which business do you go out of your way to frequent?  I know I'm prone to visit the business where the owner and the staff appear to have a genuine care for what I need.  I want to go to the place that tells me about their best deal, that remembers my particular needs, that gives me that personal attention and sees me as a person first and a customer second.

Yes, they also need to have what it is I'm looking for, and preferably at the best price, but the fact that they are so passionate about what they do, generally translates into finding ways to make this happen for their customers.

It's definitely not the norm to plan your life around how you can contribute to the world, as opposed to determining how you can maximize your return on your investment, but in the end, it is the real path to success, fulfillment and happiness.

It takes time to research how you will best fit in to a career or position that takes advantage of your abilities to enrich the lives of others.  But once you determine what this position looks like, getting hired or succeeding with your business becomes virtually guaranteed.

Focus on where and how you can make a difference rather than how to maximize your gains.  Everything of value will follow.

Graham White