The Path of Self-Fulfillment: 3 tips

By: Amy Woodside


Over the past two years, I've had the privilege of interviewing many women for OKREALOKREAL is a curation of wisdom distilled from real lives, and is about learning from others to help see yourself more clearly.


Through interviewsadviceevents and mentor circles, we help women figure out their lives. Regardless of age, career path or background, each of these women have carved out their own path in life, and defined what fulfillment means to them. Their versions of fulfillment might look different, but that’s the whole point, right?

To create life on our own terms, to live in a way that is meaningful to us. Whatever fulfillment looks like to you, here are three tips to help you on the path to finding it. 

You will never be ready, get on with it. 

Ready never comes. I know, I know - you need this thing and that other thing and as soon that person gives you some encouragement then you can start. As Joy Bryant says: “If you wait around for the world to validate you, you’ll be waiting a long time.” Or in Jen Sincero’s words: “We run in circles and create drama and participate willingly in the avoidance of awesomeness.”

You can’t take control of your life until you take responsibility for yourself, which includes losing your excuses (and pretty much everything is an excuse). Yes, you have more to learn. But do you know what the best way to learn is? To start. Thinking doesn’t provide clarity, doing does.

Perfect plan or not, whatever you put out into the world will change and evolve - but it needs to exist outside of your head in order to grow. Want to know a trick? Instead of thinking ‘I’m not ready for this’, try saying to yourself ‘this is ready for me’. Everything you want so badly and are too scared to act upon is right in front of you, waiting for you to stop getting in your own way.   

Forget about being fearless and just keep moving. 

Figuring out who you are and choosing to live in line with that is at the core of finding fulfillment. This might mean quitting a job that isn’t right for you, getting out of a relationship that isn’t serving you, starting a business, or simply standing up for yourself.

Making changes in your life requires courage. Fear will pop up in different ways for all of us, but perhaps the most common form is the little voice saying: “You aren’t good enough. Who do you think you are? You’re going to look stupid.” This is when you get to choose. Which would you prefer: the fear of never having thrown yourself fully into your one precious life, or the fear that someone might make fun of you or that you might lose some money?

The funny thing about fear is that it’s often an indication that you’re on the right track. My best decisions have also been my scariest: moving to New York City from New Zealand at 22, quitting jobs, starting a business.

People who do brave things often don’t feel brave at all. They take little steps which lead to bigger steps, often freaking out internally, but with a smile on their face and a good attitude. The difference between people who succeed and people who don’t has nothing to do with fearlessness, and everything to do with perseverance. 

Instinct takes practice.  

This sounds counterintuitive, right? We've all heard 'go with your gut', but it sometimes it can be hard to hear what it's telling us. There’s a lot of noise out there battling for women’s attention, telling us what to do and what not to do, when truly, we have the best guide inside of us—we just need to learn how to listen to it.

Gather information, learn from people’s stories, get advice from others (assuming you are surrounding yourself with good people, which requires a whole other article!), but put it all in your pocket, so to speak.

Assess this stuff before you absorb it, measure it up against your own values. You don’t have to take anything on that doesn’t feel right. Sometimes you truly won’t know which way to go, so you will do the best you can. Sometimes it won’t work out and you will learn from it. This is called being a human being. You will make good decisions and not-so-good decisions, and both will to help you grow in the right direction. But pay attention to yourself as if you know best, because you do.