If asked the question “so what do you actually want?” most of us feel that we really ought to be able to answer, but can’t. Coach Susie Kendall looks at how to find what you really want.
If asked the question “so what do you actually want?” most of us feel that we really ought to be able to answer, but can’t. We might be able to rattle off a load of stuff off the top of our head, but few could come up with a clear, confident, deliberately constructed answer.
We are so busy just getting through all our jobs that we rarely, if ever, stop to work out if we’re heading in the right direction. And trying to work out what we actually want can be surprisingly difficult and overwhelming. But wouldn’t it be great if we could?
The important thing is to get beyond the “Prada handbag, a huge house and a really nice boss” type response to see what lies beneath. To discover what lies within our hearts rather than what comes off the top of our heads.
So I want to focus in this article on creating the right head space in order to work out what you want. To raise awareness of the fog that often clouds our true thoughts and desires and how to clear it to make space for our own, personal vision of what we want our lives to be like.
Both consciously and subconsciously, a lot of us spend a lot of our time wishing we had certain things, wishing we were someone else, or doing something else or being somewhere else. We are aware of what we think we desire but there are so many constantly changing messages going around in our heads that we don’t really know what, deep in our core, we really want for ourselves, in our lives.
In Alain de Botton’s book, ‘Status Anxiety’ he identifies, historically, what has happened to us as a Western society to make us believe that so much is possible, and to desire so much. Up until the 17th century, there was no way of ‘moving up in the world’. If you were born poor with no chance for education and ‘betterment’, then that was your lot. By the 20th century we were living in the land of opportunity, in which we are all able to believe that anything is possible.
Now this is all fantastic, and aren’t we lucky? Yes and no – as de Botton suggests that this world of possibility has encouraged us setting our expectations too high with resulting dissatisfaction with what we’ve got and disappointment for not managing to achieve all those things we are made to believe we can.
The root of much of this dissatisfaction is that we tend to look outside to identify what we want, rather than inside. We see other people who we consider to be the same as us having more, and although we sometimes feel inspired, we often feel envious, inadequate, frustrated and fed-up.
If only we could live by Carl Jung’s words of wisdom: “Who looks outside, dreams; who looks inside, awakes”. If we work out who we are as individuals and what we want for ourselves based on our own unique set of values, we have the route to fulfilment.
All this implies that some of us may be looking in the wrong place to work out what we want. If we could only get to know ourselves a little better – what makes us tick, and what would make us tick louder….
So our starting point is to focus on ourselves and our own lives. Acknowledge that you are a unique individual and only you know what you want.
And here’s the good news:
– You do know the answer
– It is never too late to do something about it, and
– No-one is judging you.
So then it’s all about continuing to create the right headspace. Think about how many external messages you are bombarded with on a daily basis. From our computers, billboards, the television and from other people. And how many of those are trying to get us to do something or think something for their own benefit? And how often do we fall for it?
How much does this distract us from focusing on what is right for us? How much does it distort what we think we want for ourselves?
Now I don’t mean to be a miserable old cynic, but the point is that we need to silence external stimulus as much as possible in order to be able to focus deeply on who we are and therefore what we truly want.
Think about what stops you having clarity of thought and prevents you thinking for yourself. What does your fog consist of? Is it certain people, your Blackberry, Facebook, magazines, the television?
What do you need to do to create the silence you need to reflect on the life you want to lead? When can you do this? When will you do this?
Allowing your mind to filter in only personal thoughts, where you get to know yourself and your desires in intimate detail, creates the environment for you to build the vision of your future with everything that you want in it.
Susie Kendall is a former solicitor who retrained as a coach. For more information, visit www.youblossom.co.uk, and see Susie’s blog. Susie is currently writing a book ‘Singing on the School Run’, a coaching book to help mums to retain a sense of their own identity and to stay confident in those difficult early years of motherhood.