One of the most difficult questions I was ever asked was, What do you want?
It was difficult to answer because at the time I felt lost. I froze in place, brain churned to mush, and I had no answer — not even an excuse.
Those four words alone could stop a person dead in their tracks and have them rethinking their life, work, etc. Those four words need to be answered wholeheartedly, and as soon as possible.
If you have trouble answering it — no worries — you will figure it out eventually. To get started, here are some thoughts to consider:
Why you need to answer it
In a relationship, one person may ask the other, What do you want? This isn’t for any ominous reasons; it’s probably to understand what the other person really wants out of the relationship. Communication is a valuable asset, and asking the other person what it is they want is the start to knowing where the relationship could be heading. Lack of communication creates a world of problems.
It’s equally important to ask yourself, What do I want? (or in your own head, What do you want?).
More specifically, What do you want out of this life? What do you want to accomplish in one year? Maybe five?
With this thought in mind, you can visualize the road that needs to be traveled in order to achieve what it is you ultimately want. You can begin to differentiate what’s important to your progress and what is, in essence, just a distraction.
A sure-fire way to get started is to set small goals: identify what you want and how you will achieve it.
So… what do you want?
Do you want to graduate college in four years? Drive a lamborghini? Be your own boss? Open a restaurant?
Don’t feel pressured to answer this question right away; in fact, your answer might change from time to time. Why? Because you will learn new skills, acquire knowledge, and new opportunities might influence you to have a change of heart.
When you do, however, answer this daunting question, the next step is to understand the steps that help you achieve that goal. If my answer was to become a great writer, self-publish multiple best-selling books, and build my blog to 10,000 readers in five years, then I must focus on the actions that yield true value, and that’s by constantly writing, reading, and connecting with others.
Think of it as a ladder. Each rung is a goal, a step forward to your ultimate goal. How do you climb ladders? Do you skip a step? Never — that’s how you slip and fall. Instead, when people climb ladders, they take their time. They go slowly; most importantly, they try to never look down (and if they do, that fear usually pushes them upward).
When you identify what it is you want, the only thing that’s required of you is to initiate.
Have the end in mind
Always remind yourself what it is you exactly want.
Do you want this new relationship to go a step further? Do you want this new opportunity to lead to something bigger? Do you want this new contact to be a potential mentor or customer or friend?
Having your desired outcome in mind, you then begin to have an idea of the decisions that are most relevant to progressing forward.
Once a week, I sit down and practice self-analysis; I evaluate everything I did, said, and didn’t do. Did my actions bring me closer to my goals? When did I procrastinate and why? What could I do differently? What did I miss?
Ask yourself these questions. Reflect back on your week and evaluate your progress. Become aware of yourself in those moments so that for the next time you are better prepared.
No matter what, always ask yourself what it is you want, and then focus on the necessary steps to help you achieve that desired outcome (without harming yourself or others, of course.)
Note: When you go out to do what your heart desires, there will be people who simply don’t understand what it is you’re doing. Why? Because they, too, couldn’t answer the question that you once had no answer to. For those that support you, keep them close. For those that criticize, judge, or undermine you in anyway: get rid of ‘em … fast.
Did you ever face this question and have trouble answering it? How did you find the solution? Share your stories and insights in the comments below, I’d love to hear them.