The Rolling Stones were wrong. You Can Get Satisfaction.

How satisfied are you? Look at where you are in your career. You may not be in the place you envisioned for yourself a decade ago, and that’s okay. Plans change. Goals change. The question isn’t whether you’ve followed the planned trajectory or not; it’s whether you’re happy in this place you’ve come to today. More importantly: Are you on the right path to go where you want to go? Are you satisfied with where you’re headed? Keep in mind, your overall satisfaction will be directly impacted by how well your circumstances meet both your needs and wants.

What’s a need?

Your needs are the non-negotiable things or circumstances that must be present for you to function and survive—they are your “must-haves.” Whether you have a mortgage or you rent, have a car or take public transportation, have cable or binge on Netflix, you’ve got bills. Having a salary that allows you to pay those bills is a need.

Ok, then, what’s a want?

Your wants are the things that will allow you to enjoy your work—they are your “nice to haves.” Do you think a flexible schedule or the ability to work from home would allow you to better embrace a work-life balance? Then those things could be a want.

It’s personal

Although we all have the same basic needs (e.g. shelter, food, clothing), the rest of the picture is a little less clear. What you consider a want may be someone else’s need and vice versa. There is no magic formula for identifying the “this vs. that.” Take the time and make your personal list.

Now what do I do with this list?

Understanding your needs and your wants is the first step to defining your desired lifescape. They will act as guiding fundamentals, supporting you in creating a fulfilling life path. When you’ve completed your want/need lists, hold your current position up to it. Does today’s career stop meet your needs? Is it satisfying enough of your wants? Is it placing you in a good position to move forward toward something that does? What else will you need to do to place yourself on the career trajectory that will ultimately satisfy you? Take a class? Challenge yourself to grow in a different direction?

Leave some wiggle room

Be prepared to see your lists change over time. What you thought was a want could be a solid need. What you considered a need, may not be all that important after all. Further, the career you thought you were headed toward may morph into a different passion down the line. Something might emerge that better suits your passions and talents while also meeting your needs and wants. Revisit your lists from time to time to assess how relevant they are to you today.

Love Your Life!

Need a hand getting the ball rolling? You’ll find more details on how to create your survival and wish lists, as well as how to apply those lists to the landscape of your life in my upcoming book, “Love Your Life: Cultivating Your Vision and Tending Your Dreams.” Learn more about it and join the launch team here: