As the New Year approaches, many of us think about intentions we want to set or resolutions we want to make. Maybe they involve your health, your family, or your finances. Either way, it touches on the greater and more difficult question:
What do I really want out of my life?
When I ask this question to my clients, I usually get a few types of answers:
- Silence or “I don’t know”
- A fuzzy version of what they want
- A dialed down version of their true aspirations.
Why the lack of clarity in responses? Two big reasons:
- Since we are used to playing small, the question can be overwhelming.
- It shifts the question from an external problem to an internal one. So instead of "what do I want to do about my annoying job?" or "how do I find the right guy?" It forces us to look at our imagined possibilities. It shifts our focus and stops our complaining dead in its tracks because the solution to the problem is now on us. Yup, it's our responsibility.
So how do you break down this question into something more manageable?
By figuring out what you want 25% more at a time.
Let’s take an example. Let’s say I’m working with a client named Jess who wants to find a better work-life balance. The conversation might go something like this:
Amita: If you could improve your work-life balance and have it look any way you wanted, what would it look like?
Jess: I’d get home from work at a reasonable time, I’d have time for my friends, and I’d have time to pursue my hobbies.
Amita: I hear you identifying 3 key things: Time for work, time for friends, and time for you. But what if you were to go bigger? What if you were to forget all the “rules” about time and balance and create whatever you wanted? What if we were to turn it up even by 25%?
Jess: Hmm, I’d want all the above. Plus, I’d want to not feel guilty about missing anything. I’d also want to work at home more.
Amita: Ok, so I’m hearing that in addition to those three things, you’d want an internal change, the sense that you’d be doing enough in all areas of your life. And you’d work at home to some degree. Now what if we were to turn the dial up again by 25% and get even more expansive? What would that “too good to be true” life look like?
Jess: I’d have a job where I wouldn’t have to be in an office at all. I’d also have more time in nature and time to travel with my friends. I’d have more time to do the things that make me feel centered like yoga a few times per week and more home-cooked meals. I’d feel like work and my own hobbies were equally important and I’d have time and energy for both.
Now, we’re getting to the core of it!
Her authentic life that she truly wants is starting to emerge. We are developing a real vision that can guide her choices.
We might turn the dial up a few more times, as each time something new is revealed.
For many of us, the truth is obscured from our vision as we deem what we want to be impractical, selfish, or impossible, or in some way – not okay.
It takes time to peel back the layers and get to the core of what we really want.
The time to start is now.
So pick one area of your life and ask yourself, “What do I really want?”
What do you see?
Keep turning up the dial by 25% until you see the too-good-to-be-real truth.
Thoughts about its impossibility may rush in. That’s okay, just note them and put them aside. It isn’t time to worry about how you’ll make that happen yet. It’s time to know your dream and just sit with it. Live with it and feel it. When you know what you want, things will start to happen and the “how” will unfold. Don’t worry about the action steps just yet. Just be open, patient, and allow yourself the gift of possibilities.
What do you want out of life? How did you figure out your dreams? Leave me a note in the Comments Section below!