Fulfillment over happiness
And letting new chapters reveal themselves
Back in the beginning of 2017, all I wanted was to figure out how to be happy. I was waking up every single day anxious and stressed and panicked and overwhelmed and I just wanted to feel good. Because of that vow, I stopped writing for a couple years. I took time off social media. I had been sharing my work online for a decade by that point and I was just…done. Done trying to “make it.” Done being angry with myself I wasn’t further along. Done feeling like no matter what I accomplished, it still wasn’t enough.
So I invited ease in. I made my life simple. I wanted less. Lowered my expectations. Did as little as possible to make what money I needed to survive and let the rest of the day belong to me. I got myself out of debt. I put my previously empty savings account to use.
I had to learn how to stop being so hard on myself. I wanted to wake up with some semblance of peace. My ambition had turned against itself. I may have been burnt out, without having the word for it at the time.
When I invited creativity back into my life in 2019, I still kept my expectations low. I wanted ease to continue. I wanted to feel good. I was hesitant with my ambitions and focused only on being consistent at the work that was still calling to me. I was a little afraid to ask too much of myself. I decided I’d figure out how to be a creative person who was also happy. Someone who doesn’t need struggle in order to make art.
It seemed an impossible ask, but I was determined to figure it out. Through that desire, I developed what would later become my Live with Intention digital course. Essentially a system on how to be productive, creative, and happy. Considering I spent two decades thinking these three things were diametrically opposed and could never overlap in a Venn diagram, this was a revelation for me. I could create consistently and happily? That just seemed absurd until I created the system that actually made it true.
But, we need different systems for different seasons of our life.
For years, I craved ease. I didn’t put too much on my plate. I healed that part of me that couldn’t rest or relax. I prioritized joy. I released a book into the world with no expectations. It was revelatory. It was a happy time.
Now, my priorities and values have seemed to shift without my realizing it. I knew after Radically Content was published that I was stepping into a new era of myself and my creative life, but I didn’t know what lay on the other side of that bridge I had to cross.
It was no longer about ease and happiness and I have questioned whether I took a wrong turn somehow. I’ve been questioning that a lot the past few months. My life used to feel a lot easier. Shouldn’t it feel easier? Shouldn’t this all feel differently?
But then I got an insight recently that clicked everything into place, like the moment you can finally see the picture in those Magic Eye posters.
The old me had a lot of healing to do around pressure and perfectionism. I hadn’t been able to create consistently because I was so worried about being “good enough,” that ephemeral destination that was always just ahead, taunting me. It was paralyzing. So, of course, the answer was to invite joy and play and ease into my creative process. It sparked fruitfulness and consistency. I now never stress about whether I can write on command. It’s just something I know I can do. If I get an idea for a book, there is no part of me that worries if I can execute and finish it. That used to be an unknown. I didn’t trust myself. In my past are so many great ideas left unfinished.
But now I have that skill. I don’t doubt that. I know exactly how to execute and I have set up my life to be extremely nurturing to my creativity.
Which is also why things have felt harder lately. I haven’t pushed myself in years. I had to heal. You can’t push and heal at the same time.
But now, I want to push myself. I am no longer as concerned with ease. I want to see how far my creativity can take me. I want to see how much of my potential I can reach. I want to use this foundation I’ve built for myself to continuously challenge the limits of my artistry.
I no longer feel as concerned with being happy all the time.
Instead, the word that keeps coming to me over and over is: fulfilled.
I want to be creativity and personally fulfilled. I want fulfillment. I want to execute my ideas. I want to bring my ideas to fruition in a constant stream as much as possible. I want to create and create and create and then create some more. I want to get ideas so ambitious they scare me and then rise to the level of them. I want my creative ambitions to be bigger than I think is possible. I want to be afraid.
Not because I have something to prove or because I am overcompensating.
But because I have a calling and I’m ready to finally answer it—all in, nothing held back.
I know I can create with joy. I know I can finish what I start. I know I am relentless when I get an idea. I know I can follow through. I know that I can withstand rejection and disappointment. I know that bad reviews won’t kill me. I know that I am capable, talented, and able to be consistent and disciplined about my dreams.
I don’t know what the outcomes will be, what my work will do in the world, but I do know that I’ll always end up exactly where I’m meant to be.
I may question myself. I may be forced to reckon with my own perceived limitations. I may feel like an imposter sometimes. I may doubt myself.
But even with all that, I know I will still do the work. Even at my worst, I still show up. Even when I doubt, I know the only answer is to take action. I know that if I let my doubt steal my progress, the doubt only grows.
There is only ever one answer: sit down and begin, over and over and over.
I am now ready to take on bigger challenges, to be afraid, ambitious, and all the things I had to let go of to build the foundation I now stand on.
Purpose, calling, fulfillment — this is a different game altogether. I couldn’t have landed here without going through all the steps before it.
Here’s the thing: when you’re committed to growth, your life is cumulative. It all adds up. You start to recognize how much you’ve collected about yourself.
And when you follow your own intuition, you may have no idea where you’re going and you may wonder why your path is so different from everyone else’s, but that’s the sign.
The sign you are living YOUR life. Running YOUR race. Eyes on YOUR paper.
When we let ourselves be led, we end up exactly where we’re meant to be. Now, if only I can remember that in the present moment, instead of being reminded of it in retrospect.
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