We tend to place a high premium on feeling happy. And experiencing happiness is important to our health and wellbeing. After all, being sad or even depressed, is not a good way to move through life. But if we focus on always feeling happy, are we missing out on something better and more fulfilling? In short, are we trading happiness for fulfillment and not getting either? Let’s find out.

In a 2015 article from the Harvard Business Review, experts shared that “focusing on happiness can actually make us feel less happy.” Why’s that? That’s because happiness isn’t a stable thing. Instead, it’s fleeting and based on external factors, which are out of your control, a lot of the times.

Therefore, when you try to find a career or life situation that will make you happy”, you might end up with just the opposite. So, what should you focus on instead? According to social worker and coach, Brad Waters: fulfillment.

Waters says that “fulfillment is the new happiness…that sense of contentedness that stems from achievement and contribution.” So, instead of trying to figure out what will make you happy, ask these soul-searching questions:

Will this choice fulfill me?

Will I cherish this experience?

Does this decision help me to fulfill my goal / purpose?

Maybe your decision won’t make you feel “happy”, but chances are it’s a decision that gives you meaningful and fulfilling work. Not because you feel bubbly all the time. But because you’re doing work that matters to you. Plus, you’re making an impact not only in your life, but also in the lives of your clients.