Several decades ago, I began studying goal setting as if my life depended on it. I was committed to learning anything and everything I could about how to set goals and "have it all". I was certain that having it all would bring me a very deep level of happiness. My motivation was the fact that in my twenties I had reached a point where my greatest goal was to merely get through another day. With many of my childhood dreams shattered, my life consisted of going to a job I despised, being newly divorced left with no apparent way to support myself, and living from day to day wondering if this was it.

More than three decades ago, all I wanted to do was survive the harsh realities life had put in front of me. And survive I did. I barely got by each day, feeling like the world was against me and wondering why all the lucky breaks happened to others but not to me. I nurtured the belief about how tough life was and as a result never got any breaks. So much in fact that I lost my assembly-line job with the inability to get another. I became more disillusioned with each passing day and felt stuck with no way out.

That is until a small miracle happened. (Reflecting on that day 30 years ago, I would say it was more of a big miracle disguised as something small).

I found a book that changed my life forever - The Magic of Believing by Clyde Bristol. From the first page to the last, I was captivated by what I read. Written in 1948, the information is as powerful today as the day the book was written.

In essence, the author wrote that we create our reality by what we think and believe. Feeling as if I had found the holy grail of knowledge, I was fascinated that I had never heard this before. Or if I had heard it, I had never paid attention to it.

Amazingly, as I applied what I read, a few small things shifted. The shift was enough to encourage me to learn more about the power of thought.

Because I didn't have any disposable income at that time, I found one of my favorite hangouts to be the local library. I read anything and everything I could get my hands on to do with changing the circumstances of my life. There was no shortage of information on setting goals, reaching achievement, accepting "believe and you will achieve" and other such topics.

As much as I had no desire to do much of anything prior to the discovery of The Magic of Believing, I now had a thirst that no amount of reading, learning or searching could quench. I was fascinated with what I heard about "What you can believe, you can achieve."

Now my quest was to turn my life around, acquire whatever I wanted on a material level in order that I would be fulfilled. Little did I realize the lessons life had in store. I would learn that fulfillment was not about acquisition but rather something completely different. You see, there were many times I acquired just what I thought would be the "golden ticket" to happiness. Although some things did bring me a sense of satisfaction, often it would be short-lived.

So what was the answer? When would that deep sense of fulfillment be mine? Having placed so much emphasis on acquisitions, awards, and outward recognition (and having achieved a great deal) I wondered why there were times when, regardless of the outward trappings, a deep level of fulfillment would often evade me.

Over more than a 30-year journey of discovery, my experience and definition of fulfillment has morphed more than once from something superficial to something that words cannot begin to express. Something that one comes to "know" rather than define with words. Yet, words are often all there is to convey to another what the experience is.

Happiness and fulfillment had very little to do with what was manifested on the outside. There is no doubt whatsoever that happiness is an inside job. Granted, there are outward things that do invoke feelings of joy, but it is something that manifests from the inside out, rather than from the outside in.

Ironically, when we are on a quest for the deepest level of fulfillment, life will give us exactly what we need. It may appear as if it has nothing to do with what we want, yet when we give ourselves permission to step back, observe all that has occurred, and recognize the gift in even the most difficult situations, we realize we have been given exactly what was needed in order to reach the deepest level of appreciation, fulfillment and joy life has to offer.

Yet, it takes more than simply knowing this. It takes surrender and willingness to allow life to unfold in such a way that we are given the opportunity to become who we are meant to be. It takes a willingness to know that often we just don't know all there is to know.

This is counterintuitive to much of what many people are selling as the "key to happiness." How ironic is this? For years we can search for "the knowledge" only to discover the greatest knowledge is that we just don't know all there is to know.

It is in surrendering to this fact we are in a position to know more. What actually happens is we become okay with letting go of the need to do, know and be everything. We simply move in the space of being in concert with what is. We reach a place of showing up to the miracle of what each day has in store.

It has been said that a miracle is a shift in perception. It is in the ability to recognize the shift where the greatest miracle resides - the miracle of who we are meant to be.

Make no mistake, there will be experiences in our day-to-day living that at times may seem more than we are equipped to handle. Yet, when we move in the space of appreciation for what is in front of us, life holds amazing miracles - miracles that no amount of money can buy; miracles that create the tapestry of our lives; miracles that take us to the deepest place of surrender that makes life have more depth than we ever dreamed possible; miracles that allow us to love in ways we never dreamed we would or could; miracles that allow us to become the person we are truly meant to be.

It is in the surrender to something beyond what we can see, feel or touch that all we had hoped for will manifest.

Author's Bio: 

Discover success insights from experts around the globe who are out there making a difference and making a great living in the process. Kathleen Gage interviews the best of the best with Power Up for Profits Podcast.