Thoughtful Thursday: Why What You’re Good at May Not Be Good For You

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There’s something to be said about having a work/life balance.  Often times, we get so mired in the details of our work or school that we forget to take those times for ourselves to enjoy our life.  Often times, we don’t take all of our vacation hours and really seize the moment.

It’s time for no regrets, and this week’s Thoughtful Thursday explores how to balance our lives so we make every second count.

Guest Blog Post by Christine Hassler

A few days ago I was hired to speak to a room full of CEO’s and uber successful entrepreneurs about work/life balance.  I was even introduced as an expert on work/life balance, which made me laugh because I don’t believe in the concept.  It’s totally unreasonable to believe our life can be totally balanced and why is there a slash or a hyphen between the words WORK and LIFE?  Work is part of life and I’ve never understood the compartmentalization as a way to create balance.

What we are really after when we say balance is fulfillment. We only experience a lack of so-called balance when we feel like something is missing. Most people have gotten true fulfillment mixed up with fulfillment of duties and lead busy but not necessarily full lives.

Can you relate to creating external results, and perhaps even achieving success in certain areas, but still don’t feel a sense of fulfillment?

You are not alone…keep reading…

I began my talk with this very driven group by outing myself about not buying into the concept of work/life balance.  Then I told them we were going to meditate and after that I was going to talk about LOVE.

The looks on their faces were PRICELESS.

What I shared with them after the guided meditation is that true fulfillment is only possible when we come from a place a love.  And the problem is most of us are coming from a place of fear, not love. And the even bigger problem is that we are able to create a lot of success and goal line results from that place of fear – in fact, it is often our strongest motivator.  But when fear is what is propelling us, will we ever feel fulfilled?  Nope.

Consider that the things that you are really good at in your life are not good for you and are not creating true fulfillment in your life. In fact the beliefs and skill sets you have developed from those beliefs that have created external success in your life may actually be blocking you from truly knowing and expressing your most authentic gifts.

I’ll explain more.

We are all born as pure Love in a place of unconditional acceptance and presence.  Our connection to the Uni-verse is pure. And then things happen and fear creeps in. We get hurt and write a story about life and ourselves from a script of limiting beliefs.  Then we form a defense mechanism to protect us from further hurt and develop what I call our COMPENSATORY STRATEGY.  This compensatory strategy then becomes the thing that drives us to create results in our life. It is super strong because it is tied to our protection and survival.

Here is the fulfillment formula that may be operating in your life:

Love –> Fear –>Hurt / Story –> Defense Mechanism/Compensatory Strategy –> Survival –> Results ≠ Fulfillment (notice that the end result is NOT fulfillment!)

Here’s how this formula played out in my life: Born as love like we all are.  I was happy, present, outgoing, social, engaging, creative, compassionate and totally loved people.  Then I got teased, left out and isolated.  I felt sad, lonely and ashamed. I formed a story that I was completely unlikable and something was wrong with me.  My defense mechanism was to distract myself from the pain by doing and being obsessed with accomplishment. My compensatory strategy was to become an achievement addict to prove myself in the world.  And I did it.  I had an extremely successful career at a young age because I was SO driven by hurt and the need to prove.  Plus this compensatory strategy was tied to my SURVIVAL, so it was super strong. But I was still miserable because the very thing that was driving me was sitting on top of an old story that was full of pain.

When you are propelled by pain, you will never reach true fulfillment.  But when you are inspired by love, fulfillment is a guarantee.

And you start living using this formula for fulfillment:

Love –>Inspiration –>Results = Fulfillment

So how do you get there? Here are steps:

  1. Using the first fulfillment formula as a guide, identify how you moved out of love and into hurt.
  2. Ask, “What is the story I created from this place of hurt?”
  3. Look at the defense mechanisms you put in place to protect yourself from ever experiencing that hurt again.
  4. Name the compensatory strategy you have been using to propel you forward.
  5. Forgive yourself for buying into the misunderstandings that formulated your story from which the compensatory strategy was born.
  6. Thank the compensatory strategy for serving you so well for all these years and declare you are complete with it.
  7. Give YOURSELF the very thing the compensatory strategy has been fighting for.  For instance, if it has been fighting for approval and validation, give yourself that!!!
  8. Spend more time each and every day doing things that come from LOVE rather than FEAR (aka your compensatory strategy).

Step 8 can often be the most challenging step because your compensatory strategies have produced a lot of seemingly excellent results in your life. But if you are not feeing a sense of fulfillment, the truth is you’ve become good at what you are good at from a place of fear rather than love.

But don’t worry!! This is totally shift-able by giving yourself permission to move back into a state of child-like curiosity and wonderment by asking yourself, “What truly FASCINATES me?” That question is VERY different than, “What am I good at?”  One of the definitions of fascination is: the state of being intensely interested. Oh la la. Doesn’t that sound like the kind of juiciness that leads to fulfillment?

Now there is one catch with pursuing the things that fascinate you…you may not be good at them at first. They may not fall into your zone of excellence. SO WHAT!! Drop any attachment to having to prove, be good enough, needing to know, what other people thing of you, blah, blah, blah!

Do you want to be pushed by pain or pulled by vision?

Spend more time each and every day in fascination, coming from a place of love and I assure you that you will experience inside out fulfillment and truly begin living your purpose.



“As long as anyone believes that his ideal and purpose is outside him, that it is above the clouds, in the past or in the future, he will go outside himself and seek fulfillment where it cannot be found. He will look for solutions and answers at every point except where they can be found–in himself.” –Erich Fromm

About the Author:

Christine Hassler left her successful job as a Hollywood agent at 25 to pursue a life she could be passionate about…but it did not come easily. After being inspired by her own unexpected challenges and experiences, she realized her journey was indeed her destination. In 2005, she wrote the first guide book written exclusively for young women, entitled 20 Something 20 Everything. Christine’s second book, The 20 Something Manifesto written for men and women stems from her experience coaching twenty-something’s.

Today, she supports individuals as a Life Coach helping clients discover the answers to the questions: “Who Am I, What do I want, and How do I get it?” As a professional speaker, Christine leads seminars and workshops to audiences around the country. She has spoken to over 10,000 college students as well as to conferences and corporations about generational diversity. Christine has appeared as an expert on The Today Show, CNN, ABC, CBS, FOX, E!, Style and PBS, as well as various local television and radio shows, speaking about life issues and “Expectation Hangovers®” – a phenomenon she identified and trademarked.

Christine is the spokesperson for Zync from American Express and the key resource for their Quarterlife Program which empowers young people to take control of their finances. She also created a life balance curriculum for the Leadership Institute and is a member of Northwestern University’s Council of 100.

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