I had a leadership training in Fergus Falls, MN, last week and I asked a question to the audience:

What ONE word describes the best version of you and how you want to show up in the world?

I’ve probably asked this question to hundreds of audiences yet a gentleman raised his hand and said something I’d never heard before:


Now, be honest, when you hear “satisfied,” what comes to mind?

Lazy? Complacent? Lacking motivation?

I’d be lying if I said my brain didn’t go there when he first said it. It’s so conditioned in our society that you have to stay hungry and always be striving, right?

Deeply curious, I asked him to elaborate on what he meant by “satisfied.”

He went on to explain that he wants to feel satisfied that he gave his best effort. Satisfied that he worked hard AND worked smart. Satisfied that he treated people well. Satisfied in his own skin.

Ah, that’s an interesting perspective and role reversal, isn’t it?

My response to him was twofold:

First, we have to be careful of making blanket if / then statements. In this case it can be easy to think, IF you’re satisfied THEN you’re not driven. That’s simply not the case. At the bare minimum, we need to provide our biased brain with context. From that context comes understanding.

Second, I acknowledged him for vocalizing one of the most difficult things to do – to be high achieving AND content while you’re doing it.

To be honest, I’ve seen so many high achieving people that, no matter what they achieve or accomplish, are never satisfied in their own skin. I’ve struggled with this in my own life as well.

Don’t get me wrong, I firmly believe that one of the greatest human motivators is stacking up small wins and making progress towards a meaningful outcome. But as you read this right now, I hope you’re also able to feel satisfied in your pursuit.

Yes, if you are satisfied then you can still be high achieving.

Keep Outperforming 🙂