What do you want?
Think about it a moment. Close your eyes. Think about it again.
I ask women this question all of the time and there is one answer that always surfaces: “I don’t know.”
I know why I get that response. It’s born of years and years of not allowing ourselves to ask the question, let alone actually allow ourselves to think about, plan for or grasp what we really want. Why even bother? As caregivers, moms, wives, daughters and employees, we’re so busy figuring out and implanting what everybody else wants that often there isn’t enough time or mental bandwidth for our needs. Does this sound familiar? It’s 10 p.m. and you’re finishing your work report and checking your child’s English homework after making lunches and throwing in a load of laundry. What do you want? It can feel like too much to even add you to the list, so slowly we let our wishes, desires and dreams go. Do this long enough and you can actually become disconnected from your wants and the “wanter” can be left broken.
The truth? Deep down, you do want something and you know exactly what it is. Write a book. Open a store. Ditch that job. Find a new relationship. Move to a new city. Find a new way of thinking. Discover a new way of being. Maybe a few of those are on your list. Or maybe you just want more of what you already have. You may want joy in your work, more intimacy in your relationship or more peace in your life.
The first step in figuring out what you want is to slow down enough to connect to these latent wants and desires for yourself. Dismiss the idea that focusing on it is a waste of time. Erase this sentence from your mind — I mean how would that possibly ever happen anyway, right? The idea of having a job you love, a partner who completely gets you, running your own business, or feeling peaceful in the midst of everyday chaos may seem impossible. But what if you replaced that word “impossible” with “a goal that will require some work.” Instead of denying yourself the dream, why not think about it and figure out a few concrete steps that can be put into motion now.
One note: Erase someday from your vocab, too. No one gets what they want by scheduling it for someday — once I have more time, money, energy, space, the kids are older….
The next step is to push past fear. I hear it all the time, and live in and out of it myself. What is really keeping you (us) stuck in “I don’t know” is fear. You might even be afraid of asking what you want. If you know then you might have to actually do something about it. Or you’ll have to ask yourself: What if I do know and I don’t do something about it? There is also the fear of doing something about it and then it doesn’t work out. Then what? Fear of the unknown keeps us complacent in our box – a safe, comfy, box. And over time we can make the box so pretty and enticing that it slowly becomes like a gilded cage, where we become powerless to our fears, and our wants.
It does not have to be so scary to break free from this cage created by our “I don’t knows.” It can actually be really fun, exciting and empowering! What helps make it a little less scary,is clarity, and the realization that you don’t need to have it all figured out at once. You only need to get clear about your next step.
So if you are ready to break free of the “I don’t know trap” and get clear about what you want and starting making real progress towards it, please consider joining me at the next DAREChange Workshop on 2/17. You will walk away with confidence and clarity around the next step you need to take.
“I don’t know” will be replace by “I know.” That is the beginning.
We hope you will join us!