The Fulfilling Approach Rather Than The Fame Approach

Some people follow the fulfilling approach in their lives and work. Some people aim to achieve fame. Some people may find that taking the fulfilling approach can sometimes lead to fame.

Some individuals may start by doing work they love but, at a certain point, become addicted to applause or winning prizes. Some may then return to doing fulfilling work. They may say things like:

“It is the work that is important. I am not important.”

Let’s explore how individuals may pursue these different routes. This also involves them learning how to build on the pluses and manage the minuses of their chosen route.

The Fulfilling Approach

Some individuals aim to do fine work but stay out of the limelight. They love to do work where they can flow, focus, finish and, as a by-product, find fulfilment.

Such individuals may serve something greater than themselves. They may use their strengths to serve a philosophy, a vocation or a craft. They aim to serve this fully in their lives or work.

Some also develop the ability to make a living doing work they love. They build on their strengths, do superb work and help their employers or customers to achieve success.

Sometimes their work may gain recognition. Such individuals see this as a recognition of the value of the work, however, rather than as a personal plaudit. They have simply done their best to bring the work to fruition.

People who follow the fulfilling approach sometimes recognise it involves both pluses and minuses. They may also learn how to enjoy the upsides and manage the potential downsides.

The pluses may include the following. They are true to themselves, build on their strengths, have a sense of purpose, follow their principles, continue to develop and feel fulfilled. 

The minuses may include the following. They may feel alone, find it hard to get funding, find their work is not valued, may need to take less fulfilling work to pay the bills and wonder if they can keep developing.

The Fame Approach

Some people aim to become well-known or famous. Some do it to spread their work. Some do it to get noticed or feel important. Some do it to gain status or win prizes.

Some people focus on self-promotion in their professional careers. They believe in personal branding or similar activities. They aim to climb the corporate ladder, get more money or reach the C-Suite.

People who strive to be famous may or may not feel fulfilled. They may also experience the potential pluses and minuses of taking this route.

The potential pluses may include the following. They may gain fame, make money, get affirmation, be seen as successful and get other fringe benefits.

The potential minuses may include the following. They may pay a heavy price, strive to stay in the limelight, fear it will all go way, give up their privacy and feel a failure if they no longer get affirmation.

The Fulfilling And Fame Approach

Some people follow the fulfilling approach and, as a by-product, gain fame. Such people may feel humble, however, and grateful for what they have been given.

Some of the sages I have met found their careers took this route. These have included educators, therapists, medical consultants and people in other fields.

Success was a key factor. The work they did became well-known through books – written by themselves or others – radio, television or other media.

Such an approach can have both upsides and downside. One singer I worked with expressed this in the following way.

“I spent five years living with friends when I was writing songs and also doing grunt work in the music industry. Then two things happened.

“First, one of my songs was recorded by a top artist and sold millions. Second, I recorded a song and it also became a huge hit. It took a while for the money to come in, but then I was a multi-millionaire.

“This was great for a while. I did the usual things, buying a house for my parents, getting cars and being the centre of attention at musical events. But then things went downhill.

“I did not get into drugs or things like that, but I no longer felt a sense of purpose. My aim had been to make hit records. Whilst I could still do that, I wanted to do something more.

“Even though I seem outgoing on stage, I actually go into role. I am really an introvert and find it difficult with people expecting me to live up to my image.

“Eventually I found a new mission, donating a percentage of my new record sales to feeding the homeless in my home city. This also spurs me to write new songs.

“I now spend a lot of time writing and recording songs in my studio. I am almost back to what I was doing ten years ago, but now I have the money to do it in my own way.”

Some individuals have an ambivalent feeling towards doing fulfilling work and gaining fame. It calls for managing both the pluses and minuses.

The pluses may include the following. The work may become well-known, reach many people, provide more work opportunities and lead to more funding.

The minuses may include the following. The person may find themselves in the limelight – which was not always a comfortable position – and the work may sometimes be unfairly criticised by others.

Imagine that you want to follow elements of the fulfilling  approach. How can you do this in your own way? How can you build on the pluses and manage any minuses?

If you wish, try tackling the exercise on this theme. This invites you to complete the following sentences.

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