Life after Manifestation: What to do when you get your desire and are left unsatisfied

by | Jul 1, 2024 | Blog, Mindfulness and Awareness, Next Level Business

Go. Do. Achieve.

Words that drive our western culture. 

For good reason, and yet we are fooled into believing that success with those 3 words is the pinnacle, the top of the mountain. That once we’ve achieved, we’ve arrived. Truth: it’s just the halfway point, there’s more – much more – to being human.

You know that, or at least you feel that, or you wouldn’t be reading this article. 

Our world buzzes with the pursuit of external achievements and the pressure to constantly strive for ‘more’  – the next promotion, 6-figures, then 7-figures, the right, car-house-spouse-vacation, the next acquisition, etc.  While learning to achieve is a truly essential part of our growing up process as human beings, we’ve gotten stuck there.

What does that mean?

In the 1950’s, Dr. Clare Graves created a map of human development (Emergent Cyclical Level of Existence Theory) showing that human existence is characterized by a series of eight levels, each representing a unique set of values, motivations, and ways of thinking. Each level transcending and including the level prior.

His theory influenced many who followed him including Don Beck and Chris Cowan (Spiral Dynamics), Frederic Laloux (Reinventing Organizations), Ken Wilber (A Theory of Everything) and even economist Said Dawlabani who used it to predict the market crash of 2008. Jane Battenburg (Change Within, Change the World) brings up the fact that Dr. Graves’ Value Levels mirror Swiss philosopher Jean Gebser’s work with levels of human consciousness.

This is where it gets both interesting and relevant to us – the successful business person who has climbed the ladder and checked all the boxes – and still feels unsatisfied. The person who knows there is more and is stuck halfway up the mountain with the world telling them they are at the top.

Losing Sight, Gaining Vision

This place of outward success, also called rational-achiever in Ken Wilber’s extension of Dr. Graves’ work is followed by at least 4 more stages of development: plural, integral, holistic and unitive.

This may be the first time you’ve been introduced to this concept. It’s coming from cutting edge thought leaders and it’s not for everyone. Remember that each level transcends and includes the prior levels. That means you have to have a good grasp on high achiever to have an awareness of something beyond it. Most of the world is not yet there.

So what’s next and how do we get there?

Most of us were never given the chance to know ourselves. From the start, we’re conditioned into a competitive, more-is-better, go-go-go world view. We were taught to put aside our gifts and put work into our weaknesses.

Chasing after success and recognition became what life was about, so we played that game, and we played it well (that’s what got you here). Throughout the game, many of us felt something else tugging at us, felt more and more unfulfilled, began searching for purpose, and seeking anything that could make us feel alive.

At some point, our hard won logic kicked in and said, “I know how to be successful, I just need to apply my rational achiever brain to mastering fulfillment.” But that didn’t work so well, because – 

What got you here won’t get you there. 

The good news? You’ve mastered the first half of the levels of human evolution. The even better news? There is more – it just doesn’t look the way you thought it would. You’re stepping into the unknown, a new way of being.

It’s no longer about manifesting (been there done that, new skills time). It’s about uncovering who you truly are and why you are here – on this planet, at this time in history, with these people. 

Begin Within

When it comes to our desires, one of the most important things that our culture misses out on is the importance of the internal dialogue around WHY we desire the things that we do. The lack of internal dialogue becomes most obvious when we encounter resistance. 

Let’s take an example, I want to get up and start working out in the mornings and every morning when my alarm goes off, I hit snooze and sleep through my workout. The same thing happens morning after morning for a week. Obviously there’s a problem, there are also a ton of outward solutions from Atomic Habits’ chunking it to the smallest ‘yes’ to hacking the exercise itself.  We’re going to go past both of those, past all the ‘fixes’, past even the thinking of it as a problem at all.

Let’s start with a few things I might come up with as my ‘high-achiever’ self.

I could respond by asking my husband to make sure that I get up. It might work for a bit. I might also start to get grumpy at my husband, possibly even resentful. I could find a workout buddy, an accountability partner. I could find a time later in the day to workout. I could use a carrot (you get a treat if…) or a stick (you don’t get to … if).

The problem with all of these? I never addressed the real issue – what’s my own internal resistance, what is stopping me from keeping my word to myself? That becomes a very different conversation – one that we are not taught to have. It’s uncomfortable at best, debilitating at worst. Try this exercise with something minor that is bugging or challenging you. 

We’re going to get curious about the what and why behind the resistance. We’re not trying to ‘fix it’, ‘get through it’ or ‘make’ the result happen. It’s no longer about getting the result (you know how to do that – see above), it’s about being in the conversation with life, it’s about growing and moving to the next iteration of you, it’s about the deeper meaning that is calling you.

Start with a small challenge around something that is meaningful to you. Is there a project you’ve been procrastinating on starting, or finishing? Do you want to work out but you keep finding yourself doing anything but that? Is there a hobby you’ve not made time for?

Take a piece of paper and write your challenge at the top. Now draw a vertical line down the middle to split it into two columns. On the left side write down all the outer reasons you can’t do what you want. In the right column, write the word ‘why’ five (or more) times. We’re going to use that to peel the layers.

Here’s my example from above:

Challenge: Working out is important to me and I want to add it into my morning routine, yet I keep snoozing my alarm and sleeping through my scheduled workout time.

Left Column:   

  • I go to sleep too late
  • I don’t have an accountability partner
  • I’m juggling to many things and don’t really have time
  • The class I want to do is at a time I can’t make so I’m less motivated
  • I actually hate the gym
  • I hate going by myself
  • I don’t have the right clothes

Right Column:

Why

I feel better and have more energy when I work out and I really want to lose 10 lbs

Why

It wakes me up and gets my blood flowing and I like myself more when I’m thinner than I am now.

Why

my self image includes ‘healthy’ and I don’t look or feel healthy right now.

Why

I’m not making what’s important to ME a priority. I’m doing all the things I think I’m supposed to do and I come last.

Why

Because that’s what I was taught to do. It’s not acceptable to take care of, or even acknowledge, my own needs or wants. I don’t even know what I really want. When something I do want surfaces, I usually find a way to skirt around it or avoid it.

Why

Showing up for myself is too vulnerable. What if I fail and people laugh? What if I succeed?

As you can see, there’s a stark difference between the two columns. The left column are all things in the outer world to blame and then go about fixing or changing. The right column is about me getting to know me. I learn about the patterns and beliefs that create my entire world view. I create space for real change, change that will impact every part of my life, not just working out. That’s part of what makes it scary, it’s also what makes it so powerful. 

Recognize the Real Purpose of Manifestation

We are actually meant to get to the point where we wonder – is this all there is? That’s when the real fun begins. It’s our opportunity to open another level of evolution and growth. 

When we choose to get curious about our ‘why’ and peel the layers on the limiting beliefs, fears, and doubts that come up (instead of just pushing through them to get to the outer result), profound insights about ourselves and our larger purpose for being start to emerge.

Leadership from this place of curiosity, growth and development creates such synergy and flow that innovation and results usually far outpace prior metrics. Investing the time to develop ourselves, our teams and our values provides clarity of purpose that attracts and aligns us with all the intangibles we most often desperately try to control and figure out. High-achievers are usually too impatient to take this path – even though it’s exponentially more effective.

If you are feeling that pull – the one that’s whispering in your ear ‘there’s more’ – the voice is right, there is. It’s beyond the controlling and beyond the figuring – and what got you here won’t get you there. It’s no longer what you manifest in the outer world that will change you, it’s what you do on the inside as you’re manifesting that will take you to the next level. 

You’ll begin to show up differently, your behavior will change, as will your choices. Moving forward, your thoughts will shift – and it will create a ripple effect that impacts all those around you and reaches far into the world. This is soulful leadership.

Are you ready to become a soulful leader?

In case this is the first time we’re meeting, I’m Maren, an executive life coach, speaker, dancer, and serial entrepreneur empowering you to step into your purpose and live your most fulfilled life.

When you’re ready, here are a few ways I can help regardless of where you are on your journey to self discovery:

Book me to speak at your next event and inspire your team of high achievers to step into their purpose, master their mindset, amplify their impact, and find fulfillment.

Join the Dance with Life Program: Uncover your unique gifts and experience a more fulfilling way of success with my Dance with Life program. I’ve helped dozens of high achievers transform their lives. Learn how you can join this transformative journey.

Download my free guide – “Spinning Life in Your Favor”: Access three simple steps you can take TODAY to start dancing with life instead of slogging through it.

Listen to The Soulful Leader Podcast: Tune in to the Soulful Leader Podcast every Tuesday for inspiration, tools, and actionable tips for personal and professional growth.

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