Is External Gratification Enough?

We all love to hear a rousing
“job well done”

but what is your cheer between your ears telling you?

Let me introduce you to an interesting client I have been coaching recently, with her own unique story of hard work, triumph, and yet, inner struggle.

She came to Canada from India on her own, became educated, and is now excelling in her position as an LPN at one of our local hospitals. Her patients love her, respect her, and tell her what a great job she does. She gets along well with her managers and co-workers, who also praise her performance. It sounds like a success story, until it turns. 

“But, I am not happy and fulfilled anymore and I do not know what to do. Mom and Dad [told] me that I should be a doctor, or an architect.  Others told me that I should go into computers and be a software designer. The thought of it [made] my stomach churn.  Yet, I didn’t want to disappoint my parents, so nursing seemed to be the logical thing to do.”  

She continued, “[At first,] helping people was great, it fed my extroversion, and knowing that I was affecting other peoples lives made me feel good. I really liked my job.” 

But: “Now…I don’t. What’s wrong with me?” And then, the pit of her stomach seemed to both ask, and answer this question aloud:  “Am I supposed to just show up, do the work, go home, just to do it again tomorrow?”

In reviewing the results of her instinctive drive together, it became clear that she had a bad case of redundancy. Doing the same thing over and over every day wasn’t in her nature. She merely persisted because she got caught in the trap of people pleasing: “People love me! They tell me I’m doing a great job!” and yet found herself not being fulfilled. She lost her joy!

Has this ever happened to you?

You are educated, trained, experienced, and receive external gratification from those around you. It may feel good for a while, but in time, it catches up to the real you. Something just doesn’t feel right. A voice inside says, “Move on. Do something different. Listen to me. I’m dying here!” 

So, now what? (place confusion here) 

Through coaching, we discovered that her natural talent and passion was to help bring people together, to coach them, and to problem solve their differences. A personal experience had ignited a passion within her toward helping people in her culture resolve marital differences. She recognized a need where help was scarce - like it had been for her - and believed she could make a difference. As she spoke about this, the light came back in her eyes, her energy changed, and she showed excitement about a new future that aligned to who she truly was, and what she was meant to do. 

For all of us, there are things that we don’t do well, there are things that we are able to do, there are things that we excel at (place external kudos here), and then - there are our inner selves that speak to us, our truth goose, from where we receive our internal gratification. This is what she discovered; her purpose, her joy, her Goose. 

No external gratification will ever give you those wings to fly.

When on the outside everything looks grand; when people praise you and tell you how awesome you are, yet on the inside it doesn’t feel so grand; listen to that truthful inner voice. Instincts never lie. Let it guide you to joy! Be truly you; find your purpose; and get gratification internally. It’s the best gift you could ever receive, and it’s gift-wrapped from you! 

If you find yourself in this external versus internal dialogue, contact me today.

I would be honoured to help you discover your Goose.

Warren Barry