Beyond Achievements: Finding Fulfillment in Leadership

May 21, 2024

“Happiness is a butterfly, which when pursued, is always just beyond your grasp, but which, if you sit quietly, may alight upon you.”

– Nathaniel Hawthorne

Have you ever felt like no matter how much you achieve, true happiness remains just out of reach? You’re not alone! Unlike a destination to be constantly achieved, true happiness is a state of being. All this and so much more was highlighted in Coacharya’s fascinating webinar Leadership through Spiritual Intelligence.

In the spirit t of the International Coaching Week 2024, Leadership through Spiritual Intelligence saw a fun and interactive dialogue between Pranav Ramanathan, CEO of Coacharya, and renowned author and executive coach  Marshall Goldsmith. The conversation centered around  Buddhist philosophies and how they can guide us toward greater leadership and personal satisfaction.

More Stuff Doesn’t Mean More Happiness

Imagine this: you get that promotion, buy the dream car, or finally reach your savings goal. But instead of feeling happy and fulfilled, you find yourself wanting more. This cycle of chasing achievements for happiness is a trap many of us fall into. Buddhism teaches that true happiness isn’t found in external things, but rather within ourselves. It’s like nirvana, a state of perfect peace and enlightenment – it’s not somewhere you have to go, it’s a state of being you can cultivate right now.

How Buddhism Makes You a Better Coach (and Leader!)

So, how can Buddhist ideas help you become a better coach (or leader)? Here are two key takeaways:

  • Embrace Feedback with Gratitude: In Buddhism, appreciating what you receive is an important practice. This translates beautifully to coaching. When someone gives you feedback, even if it’s critical, listen attentively and appreciate their perspective. You don’t have to agree with everything, but acknowledging their point of view shows respect. Marshall Goldsmith calls this approach “feed-forward” – using feedback to move forward constructively.
  • Accept Change as a Constant (the concept of impermanence): Nothing in life is permanent, including your career, achievements, or even yourself. As Marshall says, “There is no ‘there.’ Every time I take a breath, I am starting over.” This impermanence can be scary, but it’s also liberating. Don’t get stuck feeling like you need to be a certain way. Embrace change and growth, Marshall shares the examples of CEOs Hubert Joly (former Best Buy) and Michael Duke (former Walmart) who successfully transitioned their careers.

The Happiness Trap: Achievements vs. Fulfillment

We’re often bombarded with messages telling us that happiness comes from reaching specific goals: the perfect job, the big house, the fancy car. Buddhism calls this the “hungry ghost” mentality – always chasing something that never satisfies. True happiness comes from finding purpose and enjoying the journey of life, not just the destination.

Marshall offers a great piece of advice: “Be happy to be happy, achieve to achieve, never believe achievement will make you happy.” Focus on finding your purpose and savoring the experiences along the way. That’s the recipe for a truly fulfilling life.

Building on Your Strengths: The “Adjacency Principle”

Let’s say you want to make a career change. Don’t feel like you have to start from scratch! The “adjacency principle” suggests building on your existing skills and knowledge. Use what you’ve learned in your current role as a stepping stone to your next adventure. This approach can lead to a smooth and positive transition.

From Regret to Fulfillment: Leading with Authenticity

Have you ever looked back on a decision and wished you’d done things differently? We all have regrets. But what if we could shift our focus to feeling happy and fulfilled about our choices? Marshall Goldsmith talks about the spectrum of regrets to fulfillment.

Here’s the key: you have the power to shape your own life. Don’t wait for others to recognize your good work. Speak up for yourself and your accomplishments. Authenticity and credibility go hand-in-hand. Just like a great book needs both a skilled writer and recognition from readers, your talents need both competence and acknowledgment to truly shine.

Ready to Learn More?

If you’re interested in diving deeper, check out our blogs or have a chat with Marshall Goldsmith’s innovative chatbot.

Coaching can be the first step to greater happiness and fulfillment. If you’re interested in knowing how reach out to Coacharya or check out our program calendar

ICW 2024 Webinar: Leadership through Spiritual Intelligence

Like to listen instead? We have a podcast!

Photo by Bailey Zindel on Unsplash

Silvester Jacob
Silvester Jacob

Silvester Jacob

Read Next