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What Finding Fulfilment in Your Career Really Means

Author: Pin Cher, Career Coach 


We all know "what" we do for a living, but when was the last time you asked yourself "why" you do what you do? 


Finding your utmost "why" can be the key to a much more productive, engaging, motivating, and fulfilling life at work, as I’ve found out myself in recent years, too.

Before entering university, I really had to think about what ‘useful’ major to study to benefit my future career and achieve my financial stability. 


Almost without hesitation, I chose to study International Management & Business Chinese. 


I believed it would help me to land a rewarding career in the corporate world, reap high financial rewards, and climb up the corporate ladder. 


In other words, I followed the expectations from my parents and society at large.


However, after graduation, I could never bring myself wholeheartedly to believe that pursuing money was meaningful. 


Despite my doubts, I was still just a young, adventurous, and impressionable fresh graduate. I was told that money is the path to happiness and fulfilment, so I planned my career according to it.


person sitting on a lake dock by themselves


Fortunately, life teaches us many things along the way. I was at a crossroads in my career at the beginning of my 30s, and kept having nagging thoughts of “Is that it? Is there all to life?”


I began reading and listening to everything I could get in my hands on - Simon Sinek, Jay Shetty, Eckhart Tolle, and Dr. Joe Dispenza - to get some sort of clarity on my life. 


Have you noticed that people who find their work fulfilling usually have a different energy about them?


Whether it’s the spark in their eyes, genuine joy in their smile, the sense of peace they radiate, or a clear purpose when speaking, they are clearly lit up by what they do and it shows.


In contrast, numerous people seem perpetually “busy” and stressed by their work. 


They appear “successful” with a job that pays well in a corporate environment that others would love to do. 


Their schedule is full, and their days are productive, but yet they don’t seem to be happy and joyful. Maybe you can relate to this?


As a motivational speaker and optimist, Simon Sinek declared, “Working hard for something we don’t care about is called stress. Working hard for something we love is called passion.”


If you’d like to rebalance your achievement with greater fulfilment, this article can you great insights. 


Here are four strategies to support you in experiencing greater fulfilment:


1. Detach your identity from your roles

person with post-its representing social norms and expectations 


In our society, we play many different roles in our lives, whether it’s sibling, partner, daughter, son, manager, leader or employee. 


These roles and associated behaviours are often shaped by rules, obligations, and expectations from others. 


More often than not, they feel like labels that have been thrust upon us.


It’s natural for our identities to become intertwined with our employment, given that most of us spend the majority of time at work. 


If you are a high achiever, it’s especially easy for your sense of “self” to become conflated with the role in your career, so that it becomes the primary way to understand your position relative to others, eg:  “I’m a doctor, manager, entrepreneur, banker, or lawyer”


Ultimately, our brains like to categorize, and upon meeting someone new, the first thing we ask and are curious about is “what do you do?”


The challenge appears when there is no separation between yourself and your work role, so your self-worth becomes tied to the prestige of your job title or your success in your role.


Any so-called failure in your work can lead to a devasting feeling of failure as a human being.


Another dilemma is when your personal or professional roles change (and they inevitably will!).


Regardless of whether this change was of your own free will or not, it can still trigger an identity crisis, confusion, anxiety, and a sense of losing yourself.


But it’s crucial to remember your work is not your worth. You are much more than just your job title.


Measuring your self-worth based on others’ perceptions of you - how high profile, important, or influential they deem you to be – leaves you regularly looking outward for validation and reliant on others you can’t control.


So, who are you, beyond your roles?


To explore this question further, you can:

  • Spend time reflecting on who you are, what your core values and interests are. What matters most to you and how do you want to show up in the world?
  • Actively cultivate interests beyond your professional role. This could be running, travelling, art, or anything else that captures your curiosity. Get engaged with it. Go from thinking about or reading about it to actually doing something with it, whether it’s that class to try something new, volunteering, or getting involved with communities that share your interest.


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2. Bring your authentic self to work

Team collaboration in the office with laughing team members


Have you ever had the feeling of coming to work and pretending to be someone else you are not? 


If coming to work feels like putting on a mask, it’s probably time to change, to a certain degree. 


Being yourself is the best way to form meaningful relationships, which is important to career success and growth, regardless of what field you're employed in.


Research shows that folks with a strong social network have better job performance, feel more fulfilled, and even live longer.


3. Clarify WHY you want instead of WHAT you want


woman in white dress shirt and blue denim jeans writing in a notebook


There is nothing inherently wrong with achievement. But I encourage you to ask yourself:  ‘Why do I want what I want?'


What is your own personal meaning of success and happiness? So many of us are following the benchmark of wealth, status, and power equals success and happiness.


Alternatively, you can get clear on what ‘success’ feels like for you. 


You can take action to generate those feelings in your life now, rather than waiting till you’ve achieved that undefined milestone of ‘ success.’


There’s nothing quite intense as the moment of clarity when you suddenly see what’s really possible for you.


4. Cultivate gratitude.

gold pen on top of Today I Am Grateful book


A shift towards a more appreciative mindset can trigger remarkable changes in your life & career.


One that inspires you to move towards activities that speak most deeply to your heart. 


As studies have shown, gratitude helps you unlock joy, find meaning and fulfilment in your work, increase your self-esteem, make you more optimistic, and enhance your positive emotions.


The key is to be intentional and develop a continuous habit so that you increase your gratitude across four dimensions: intensity, frequency, span, and density.



Pin Cher Portrait


Pin Cher is a millennial career clarity & personal development coach, and founder of Pin Coach


Her passion lies in working with corporate professionals and high performers to achieve even greater success. She helps them unlock their potential and create an intentional, meaningful way of life. 


Having felt lost and stuck in her own career direction in the past, she now shares her experiences & knowledge to help others. 


Pin Cher holds a B.S in International Management & Business Chinese, an MBA from the University of Taiwan and is Jay Shetty Certified Personal Development & Career Coach. She has over 10 years of international work experience in Sales and Project Manager, for companies in Germany , Shanghai, Taiwan and Hong Kong, where she is currently based. 


You can view her free webinar on the "4 Keys to Career Clarity" at her website


You can also get in touch with her on Linkedin, and learn more about her coaching practice here



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Garage Society helps businesses across Asia work better through WorkStyle solutions tailored for them. From entrepreneurs to large corporates, we understand the diverse ways in which people work. 


We focus on getting to know you and your business so we can tailor a better and smarter way for you to get work done. Since 2014, we’ve taken on a community-centric approach to empower our community through people, place and programming.


We all work differently, which is why each Garage workspace is unique in location, design, and community, offering spaces and experiences that fit around you.


Whether it’s hot desks, private offices, or custom spaces for enterprises and MNCs, we’ve got a WorkStyle solution for you.


Interested in a flexible workspace at Garage? Get in touch with us


Note: This article has been edited for length and clarity


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