Ep 8: Why You Feel Unfulfilled & How To Find Fulfillment

Published on: Apr 20, 2024

As a trauma-informed functional medicine dietitian and holistic mental wellness coach, I’ll share the hallmarks of those who live with a sense of fulfillment—people who balance their health, align their actions with their values, foster enriching relationships, lead themselves with confidence, and sprinkle their days with adventure and play.

In today’s episode:

1:12 The Fulfilled Fork Journey

2:20 Invitation to Dive Deeper

3:08 Understanding Fulfillment

4:44 The Elusive “Luxury” of Fulfillment

5:18 Defining Fulfillment

7:33 The Power of Mindfulness

10:09 5 Traits of Fulfilled People

14:12 Intersecting Fulfillment and Mindfulness

Let’s explore how to align your life with your core values, navigate through the ebbs and flows with grace, and step into the role of the architect of your fulfillment.

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Please note that the following transcript was generated using AI technology. Yes, that means the transcript probably has a few minor mistakes.



Howdy friend. Welcome to Unforked, an unfiltered holistic nutrition and mental wellness podcast for evolving folks that crave a delicious life of fulfillment. Haley, here I am, your host, a trauma-informed functional medicine dietitian, holistic mental wellness coach and the founder of the Fulfilled Fork. On this show, we dish up insights and activations while learning about sustainable mind, body, soul lifestyle practices. It’s sweet, it’s savory and it’ll spice up your life. To stay connected, make sure you sign up for our unforked email list at thefulfilledforkcom. Forward slash links. Let’s dig into the episode. Thefulfilledforkcom. Forward slash links. Let’s dig into the episode. Welcome. Welcome back to the podcast, my friend. If you are new here, also welcome. I am so, so grateful that you are here, no matter if you’ve been listening in or if this is your first episode.


I am absolutely excited to talk today about the five reasons why you feel unfulfilled and how to find fulfillment. I thought it was time to talk about this because, well, we’re here at the fulfilled fork. I chose this business name. Oh my gosh, probably, probably close to nine years ago, far before I ever started the business. I yeah it, I like bought the domain name, all the things. It was a. It was one of those moments where I was sitting on my couch and I thought, oh, I want to have a business. What might it be? And I felt compelled to find a business name. For some weird reason, I decided I really like to look at the meaning of words, and fulfillment came to me, and so I looked it up and contemplated it and here we are listening to the Unforged podcast from me, haley at the Fulfilled Fork. Lots of tongue twisters today, I’m sure.


Anyhow, if you enjoy today’s episode, I want to invite you over to the Unforged newsletter. We are going to be diving deeper into this topic there, including a list of reflection questions for you, so you’ll have the reflection questions written out easy to journal from. I want to make sure they’re accessible to you. So if you would like those reflection questions, please sign up for the newsletter, even if this is far in the future and not when it’s being released. Just know that there is an archive when you sign up for the newsletter and this article will be in there. Wonderful, let’s just dive right into it. Let’s get to it.


Why might you be unfulfilled and how do we find it and what are my views on fulfillment? Even Okay, so fulfilled people aren’t born that way. They do certain things and they become fulfilled as a result, a direct result of doing those things. Living a fulfilling life is a skill that many people don’t have. Yes, I said it. I think that living a fulfilling life is number one a skill and number two a skill that I don’t see being incredibly common in the general population, unless you’re one of the minority here. No one ever told you how to live a fulfilling life when you were young. There wasn’t a class or a teacher in school who sat you down and taught you what it means to have a fulfilling life, to live a fulfilling life and, yeah, just how to make it happen. I know that I sure as shit did not have that experience in my life. I had to figure it out for myself.


So fulfillment and fulfillment in life are elusive topics for most people. They don’t know what it means, especially for themselves. They don’t know how to create it, they think that they could never have it or are afraid of taking responsibility for it because comfort is easier, and most people think that pursuing a life of fulfillment is a luxury rather than a basic mental health need. If you feel called out, it’s okay. There’s space, space for you. If you need to. There’s space, space for you. If you need to pause the episode and come back, feel free. But I want to give it to you like it is, because sugarcoating things and not calling people forward, that’s just not, that’s just not how I want to live, that’s just not a part of my value, my values.


So let’s talk about what fulfillment is first. My definitions of fulfillment that I’m going to talk to you here about in one second are adapted from the Oxford Dictionary definition. So there’s two definitions essentially. So the first definition is to feel a sense of internal satisfaction and wholeness through fully developing one’s abilities, talents or character. So, for example, I feel fulfilled in my career as a registered dietitian and mental wellness coach. The second definition of fulfillment is to achieve or realize, to bring to completion or reality. So an example of this is that I decided to fulfill my need for movement first thing this morning by going for a walk. I help people fulfill their needs in life, like Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, aka physiological safety, love and belonging, esteem and self-actualization, through my work with the Fulfilled Fork. So, on one hand, the word fulfilled describes how you feel in your life because you’re continually making those courageous decisions to grow and live your life according to your highest truth in each moment. That is one definition. The other definition, on the other hand, this word fulfilled describes how you have taken action, or inaction sometimes, to then feel satisfaction and wholeness, so basically, to feel fulfilled in your life. So if you are fulfilling your needs and desires mindfully through the traits of fulfilled people We’ll get to those traits in a second but I want to point out that both definitions of fulfillment so the state of being and the action of fulfillment require that you develop and embody mindfulness.


What is mindfulness? Mindfulness is the skill that brings the intention, so the awareness, the attention, the intention, so the awareness, the attention, so bringing your attention to the present moment, such as your five senses while you’re eating, and perspective to everything in your life. So perspective is basically your attitude to the things in your life, life. So, again, mindfulness is a skill and it brings intention, attention and perspective to everything in your life. Ultimately, mindfulness is what gives you the autonomy, so that sense of control over your behaviors and goals, and it allows you to be fully present in your life without judgment. Without judgment is a huge piece. It’s not to say that we never judge ourselves or shame ourselves or whatever it is, because that is a human thing, it happens, it’s normal to have that happen. But the without judgment piece is a practice. So it is practicing to be aware without judgment. And if your initial reaction to something is to have judgment towards yourself or another person or whatever the situation is, then mindfulness is to notice that judgment and let that judgment be without attaching any significance to it, not attaching a significance that it’s good or bad, right as an example. So without mindfulness as your compass, you might feel like you’re reacting and making decisions in your life without knowing who you are or what you want in the present moment and in the overall context of your life. In the present moment and in the overall context of your life.


Now let’s look at where mindfulness and the traits of fulfilled people intersect. So, number one fulfilled people are connected to their core values and beliefs. If your beliefs are like the glasses through which you see the entire world, your values are going to be the prescription through which your choices and actions are fine-tuned and prioritized. So both your beliefs and your values are fluid and they are flexible throughout your entire lifetime. And this flexibility is because we are always shedding layers of conditioning, we are always stepping into our most authentic self, unless we’re not, but hopefully we are. So in the case of fulfillment, right. So fulfilled people make mindful decisions based on their core values and beliefs.


Number two fulfilled people prioritize and commit to nurturing their health and overall well-being. You cannot feel fulfilled if you are stuck in survival mode or if you’re generally feeling like bleh in your mind, body and spirit. So if, overall, you’re totally in survival mode all the time, or you’re just feeling bleh, then that’s not a state from which you can feel fulfilled. I’ve seen it in clients, I’ve seen it in communities, and I’ve experienced this lack of fulfillment in myself before I found holistic mental wellness. I truly believe that mastering the foundations of holistic mental wellness which I definitely 1000% go deeper into in my coaching programs here at the Fulfilled Fork these mental wellness principles, though, will help you feel fulfilled, as it helped me Like. This is how I helped myself, and I did it through piecemeal. I did it through piecemeal, not knowing that what I was doing was holistic mental wellness. This is what has come about after the fact, after I pieced it all together and figured out holy shit, this is holistic mental wellness. So fulfilled people make mindful decisions.


Fulfilled people mindfully prioritize and commit to nurturing their overall health and well-being. Number three fulfilled people cultivate healthy, meaningful relationships and invest time and energy into maintaining those relationships. Healthy relationships add texture and flavor to your life and they also bring immense satisfaction and joy. So these healthy relationships foster a sense of belonging, purpose, emotional well-being, and this enriches every single aspect of your life. So the intention with building healthy relationships is to cultivate those genuine bonds built on the trust, respect and mutual understanding. Fulfilled people cultivate healthy, meaningful relationships by being mindful of whom they invest time and energy into.


Number four fulfilled people practice self-leadership and honor their authentic selves. When you practice self-leadership, you are becoming the architect of your life and your own fucking best friend. The self-leadership empowers you to make those intentional decisions that honor your authentic self and your life’s vision, versus being stuck in the conditioning and or expectations of everyone around you. So you’re holding yourself accountable, you’re practicing gratitude, celebrating yourself, and you’re trusting your intuition to guide you towards that life of fulfillment, without waiting for external validation. That’s a big one.


Fulfilled people practice mindful self-leadership and honor their authentic selves. Number five fulfilled people inject adventure and play into their lives. So, by nurturing your sense of curiosity and your sense of wonder, you can crack open to those fresh perspectives and a joyful, enriched life. Life is way too fucking short to embrace those opportunities, the challenges, the excitement and the spontaneity. And you understand the fulfillment isn’t just about work and responsibilities, it’s also about the play and the adventure. I don’t know about you, but I sure as shit cannot have a fulfilled life without play. And adventure was really key for me, key Key for my fulfillment and happiness. Fulfilled people mindfully inject adventure and play into their lives. So, with these five different aspects of fulfillment, so these traits of fulfillment, I want you to notice the shift in energy between acting into the fulfillment with and without the lens of the mindfulness. So, for example, we have number two fulfilled people prioritize and commit to nurturing their health and overall well-being. On the contrary, we have fulfilled people mindfully prioritize and commit to nurturing their overall health and well-being. So again, notice the shift in energy between the two sentences.


Without mindfulness, the statements generally feel positive. So that first sentence generally feels positive, but it could absolutely be interpreted by someone as pushing, punishing and or coercing themselves into the above traits, so into the trait of health, through pushing, punishing, coercing, all those things. So this person would take nurturing their overall health and well-being by overexercising, for example. So on the surface to somebody who is untrained it might look like this person is engaging in healthy habits through exercise. But maybe this person is exercising two hours a day like hard, intense exercise, seven days a week. They never give themselves a break. They never give themselves a break. So this behavior of exercise in this case is actually not healthy in the context of this person’s life because of how and why they are exercising. So with the mindfulness, the statements feel very aligned and they also feel very empowering.


So if you are going to mindfully commit and prioritize nurturing your health and overall well-being, you’re going to run those, the actions that you take. You’re going to run it through your value filter and you’re going to engage in healthy habits in a different way. So in a way that’s going to bring you both short-term and long-term satisfaction hopefully both. Sometimes we do without the short-term satisfaction, right, especially when we’re first getting started with an exercise. So I digress. The difference is is that the mindful exercise regimen feels aligned, as opposed to engaging exercise through the lens of that self-punishment, pushing and coercion. So if I’m giving an example of this mindful exercise that same exact person, instead of exercising like two hours a day, super high intensity, seven days a week, they realize that, oh, I’m doing this because I feel like I have to, and maybe they don’t even like the exercise that they’re doing, maybe it literally does not bring them satisfaction in the short term and they realize that in the long term it’s actually harming their health. So instead, this person decides I am going to readjust my exercise regimen. That’s being mindful.


Intention, attention and perspective are abso-fucking-lutely everything. They’re everything here. If you’re here and listening to this, I have a feeling that you desire to strengthen your level of fulfillment in life. If this is you, congratulations, my friend. You are a courageous human. I am so excited that you’re here. I’m so excited that you are open and willing to gain new perspective and question things and grow. It’s absolutely incredible. I am right there with you.


I am always on a path to more fulfillment. It’s not. There’s nothing wrong with that, it is a normal. It is absolutely a normal thing in life to want to feel fulfilled. And the thing is, is that, like I said earlier, we think that fulfillment is this elusive thing that we can never get to. We can never grab, we can never have. But that is so, so, so wrong and if we are thinking about it that way, we I mean, of course, we’re never going to have it right. It’s not ever going to be something that we experience and that sticks around because of our relationship with fulfillment. That sticks around because of our relationship with fulfillment. So cultivating a healthy relationship with fulfillment is absolutely key.


It’s not about being perfect, it’s about alignment and it’s about mindfulness in the moment, being mindful of our choices, our actions, our decisions, being mindful of everything in life. Again, not that it’s perfect and all the time, but at first mindfulness is difficult and then over time, it becomes really, really easy because it’s embodied. You don’t have to think about it anymore, it’s just something that you do. Again, perfection is definitely not something I value, and here on the Unforged podcast, we do not value perfection by any means. This is not one of the things that we are going for here. So it might be beneficial and helpful and eye-opening to you to reflect on those mindfulness traits of the fulfilled people and how the fulfillment and mindfulness intersect in your life.


Maybe there’s areas that you want to strengthen of the five things that we talked about. So being connected to core values and beliefs, nurturing health and well-being, the meaningful relationships, so cultivating those meaningful relationships, practicing self-leadership and therefore honoring your authentic self, and then also injecting that play and adventure into your life. So out of those things, notice if there’s a area you’re desiring to strengthen more and also recognize, is there an area that you can bring more mindfulness into Wonderful? I would absolutely love to hear your thoughts from today’s episode, always open to holding space for you.


If anything comes up during these episodes, feel free to email me. I would have loved to chat with you. Otherwise, I cannot wait to see you on the Unforked newsletter and we will chat on the next episode. Will chat on the next episode. Thank you for listening to Unforged. You can find all resources and links from this episode in the show notes at thefulfilledforkcom forward slash podcast. If you enjoyed the episode, we’d love if you’d send it to a friend and rate and review the show on either Apple Podcasts or Spotify. Then email us a screenshot of your review to howdy at thefulfilledforkcom for a one-time credit to use towards our wellness services at the Fulfilled Fork Chat soon.


Friend, thank you for listening to Unforked. If you enjoyed the episode, we’d love it if you’d send it to a friend and rate and review the show on either Apple Podcasts or Spotify. Then email us a screenshot of your review to howdy@thefulfilledfork.com for a one-time credit to use towards our wellness services. Chat soon.



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Links & Resources –

    Thank you to Chelsea @ladyfolk for cocreating the Unforked podcast/newsletter name and helping me bring The Fulfilled Fork voice to life
    thank you to YOU, the listener, for being here on this journey together.


    With a full heart (but always room for a slice of pizza),

    Haley Schroth, RDN, LD, CPT, RYT, CMWC | Founder & Integrative Mental Health Coach


    P.S. Have a question you’d like Haley to answer in a future Unforked episode?
    Submit your (concise) question here.


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    Howdy! I’m Haley. A registered dietitian nutritionist, yoga teacher, personal trainer, and holistic mental wellness coach on a mission to help you transcend the struggle, stress, and suffering that life can bring. I’ve lived through it and discovered a path to feeling amazing in my mind, body, and soul. Now, I want to help you to live your most fulfilled life too through evidence-based nutrition and lifestyle practices!

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