What Do You Want?
Yes it’s an obvious question today, but there is a reason for me asking it. You see, if I had a penny for every time someone said to me, “Dion, I don’t want this, I don’t want that, but I just don’t know what I do want,” I’d be a rich woman! So in thinking about this I’ve come up with three really big things that are usually the root cause of why people say “I don’t know what I want.”
1: you don’t understand the options
Imagine you go into a restaurant and the menu is in a different language. You don’t understand what the words mean and you don’t understand the foods because you’ve never come across them before. So when the waiter comes and asks you what you want, you don’t know.
2: there’s some kind of blockage
Think of it as an interruption in internal communication. Who’s going to know what you want if you don’t? Truthfully – no one. So when people say they don’t know what they want, it’s not strictly the truth. You know what you want, you just don’t realise it. Your heart is having trouble communicating with your mind. It’s like you can’t hear yourself.
On many occasions this can happen simply because there is too much going on in your life – too much noise and clutter. And sometimes we can suppress whatever it is we want. We’re stopping whatever it is we want from coming into our conscious minds because there would be other implications if it did. We’re pretty clever as human beings – we protect ourselves from things we might find challenging, or difficult, or that might upset the apple cart.
3: you know what you want, but you’re not saying it to the outside world
I remember a client once who was working for her husband. She was an executive in his company and she worked as his assistant, his right hand girl. And she hated it. She knew where she would love to be, but she kept saying, “I don’t know what I want, I don’t know what the problem is here.”
In fact she did know what the problem was, but she didn’t want to say it because she didn’t want to upset her husband. She didn’t want to reveal her true desires because she would feel like a traitor. Sometimes we do this – we suppress what we know we want because of some explanation we have about why we shouldn’t speak up.
I’ve had clients say to me “Is it okay to want that?” or “people might think I’m above my station” or “people might ask why you want something like that?”
So what do YOU want?
If you don’t know what it is you want, re-read the three suggestions above and see if one of them applies to you. You need to reconnect with whatever it is you do want, because you DO know – you just have to talk to yourself and understand your options.
So how do you do that? Firstly I’d suggest you get some help. Get a coach, a mentor, somebody you can have conversations with who is skilled enough to bring out your true desires and to hold up a mirror so you can really see what you’re saying.
My other tip for finding out what you want is to think in themes rather than roles. Oftentimes people think in terms of job titles. But you don’t have to do this: you don’t even have to think in terms of industries. Just think about the themes a little more.
Here are some examples:
- I want to work full time
- I want to work part time
- I want to work with people
- I want to work and travel
These will allow you to start building a picture. You can find a job title to suit that picture a bit later on. This is really important, because oftentimes we limit ourselves by trying to think of job titles we understand, even if those jobs don’t really suit us.
There is one final thing I want to mention here that is incredibly important. Don’t dismiss anything you come up with, no matter how it sounds. Just get it out and acknowledge it. Don’t let yourself say “who am I to want that?” Believe me: you’ve got the right to want it. Just write it down and acknowledge it – that’s the first step. You’ve got nothing to lose by admitting it to yourself. When you hear yourself: when you get in contact with what you truly want, you can make an informed decision about how to move forward with it.
So start asking yourself what you want and start looking for clues about your true desires in life. Good luck!