Tuesday, October 4, 2011

What We Want

One of the hardest things in coaching, whether I am coaching myself, or someone else, is getting to what we really want. You would not think that would be so hard, but it is.

Part of is it because we are programmed by society, by our church, by our families, by those we love, to want certain things. For the most part, I don't think that programming is meant to be a bad thing, but at some point, if we really want to be happy, we have to separate out what others want for us or of us, and dig down to what we really want for ourselves. What motivates us? What inspires us? What do we want so much we would work and change and grow for it? What energizes us?

People's influence on what we want is profound. It began when we were children, and continues throughout life. People want things for us. They want things from us. They see us differently than we see ourselves, sometimes without motive, sometimes with their own motives, We've all know the parents who wanted their kids to become a doctor or a football player because they never achieved that. Or the spouse who wants their husband or wife to achieve "X" because they feel that achievement reflects on them, or the people who want to be seen as "Y" for their kids. None of these may completely erase our own desires, but they do tend to tangle them up in a messy web of what we want and what others want.

The woman I love recently had to have a tumor removed from her spinal cord. It was benign, but as it grew, it put pressure on the cord and caused her great pain. Eventually, it would have put so much pressure on it that she would not have been able to walk. After the operation to remove the tumor, the doctor was describing what he did, how he removed the tumor and in the process, had to untangle parts of it from the nerves themselves. "The danger" he said "is that you have to be very careful in the untangling, so you don't damage the nerve and harm something important." She came through the operation just fine, but the lesson holds - when you think you know what you want, you first have to slowly separate what you want from what others have told you you want. It's a delicate thing.

I can tell you, from my own experience, and from talking to many other people, what you want is probably not what you think you want. That has been my experience, both with myself, and with others. We think we want something simple - like more money, or a more creative life. But as you probe, you start to find what they really want. Why more money? To have more saved, to have more options in life, to have more things, more travel, because it makes you feel safe? Find the reason for what you think you want, and options open up. Perhaps options that suit you better. But the process is not a quick one. It takes a little time, and it takes honesty with one's self.

It can be frustrating because most people just want to "get on with it.". But separating out what you really want is the first step, and the most important one, to reaching a fulfilled life. You see, we could charge into the doing of things to get what we think we want, only to find we're still not in that place of joy and energized life we want for ourselves. But if we take the time up front to be certain and clear about what is important, then we are more likely to achieve it and be happy with what we have achieved.  In fact, most of the people who choose a life coach do so not from a place of failure, but from a place of success, where they seem to have accomplished so much.

And they have, But they have not accomplished what THEY wanted, at their core. That's our job one, to sift through our wants, and find the diamond that is what we really want, separate from what everyone else wants for us.

I was once told that Toyota has a six layer set of questions they ask when they want to do something. They are asked what they want to do? Then why they want to do it. Then why is that, and why again and again, until they get to the real underlying problem or issue. And once they get to the underlying issue, then are best prepared to find and fix the real issue.

So think about that as you launch out. How much of what you want is yours? It's the first and most important question.


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