The Four Powerful Steps to Discover What You Really Want
READING TIME: 6 MINUTES
If I only knew what I wanted, it would be easy;
I don’t know what I want, but I do know what I don’t want;
I really don’t know what my goals are;
I just want to be happy!
You probably thought about or said at least one of these sentences at some point in your life. However, to be happy and work on achieving your goals, you need to figure out what you really want.
Surely, you are aware that knowing the right people can sometimes get you far in life. But, the most important person you really need to get to know is YOU.
I know, it’s easier said than done. However, there are some steps you can take to help you start your journey toward knowing yourself and your inner being.
Step #1. Interview with yourself: In reality, deep down, you probably have some hidden truths and fears. You fear change and the unknown because safety is more convenient than following your dreams. You see change as some kind of loss, even though it's sometimes necessary to get you where you need to be.
There's also the fear of being judged and criticized by others. Because of this fear, you can't see things clearly, and you're not doing what you love and feel inspired by.
So, it’s time to put the fear to rest, take an honest look at your life and career, and ask the right questions to get the answers you’re searching for:
What’s working for me, and what isn’t?
What fills me with positive energy, and what drains me?
What do I want my life to look like?
What kind of people do I want to surround myself with?
Step #2. Listen to your ‘gut feeling:’ You’ve probably experienced that pit in your stomach when you feel something isn’t right. This is because our gut is deeply connected to our brain. It contains the same neurons that our brain consists of and is often referred to as ‘our second brain.’
This explains the peculiar feeling of emptiness or butterflies in our stomach when feeling sad or excited. It's your gut's response from an extremely intelligent context. The body is telling you what feels good to you and what doesn't; what liberates you and what suffocates you. So, remove all the distractions and reconnect to your body. Listen to the messages it sends you and your ‘gut instinct.’
Applying this to your professional life, you can create job lists to test your gut. List all the jobs you’ve been eyeing and then read each one of them individually. Pay attention to that initial reaction when a certain job pops up because the truth about what you really need and crave for usually lies inside that first instinct.
Similarly, you can create a ‘joy journal’ and record all the moments and events that bring you most joy. Begin by writing down just a couple of moments each day, and at the end of a month, look back at them and notice if there are any trends or patterns in what fulfills you. Those things that repeat a lot are the things you should do more of in your life and career.
Step #3. Assess your current situation and possibilities: Just as a doctor first needs to make the diagnosis to prescribe the right therapy, it's important to see where you are now in relation to where you want to be. To assess your current state and possibilities, you can utilize some interesting online tools, like The Wheel of Life.
The wheel of life balance is a great exercise that helps you establish your current strengths and weaknesses, and therefore, prioritize your goals. Don’t be hard on yourself if you score low in some areas as it doesn’t reflect your past or your future; it only provides a snapshot of your current situation.
This is how it works. First, draw a large circle and split it into eight pieces, which will represent the key areas or categories of your life. Seeing the circle's center as zero and the outer edge as ten, split each piece into a number-line, knot to ten. You can dedicate each piece to one key area of your life - some suggestions would be:
- Family and friends - how much time do you spend with your family & friends? have you lost contact with them? how’s your work-life balance?
- Finance - how happy are you with your current financial situation?
- Career - do you like your current job and is there something you would like to change?
- Romance - are you looking for love or wish to improve your current relationship?
- Personal growth - when was the last time you did something to grow your mind, like read a new book or attend a course?
- Fun and recreation - how often do you go out, have fun and laugh, or do something relaxing?
- Health - how is your diet?; are you bursting with energy or lethargic? do you exercise regularly?
- Home - how happy are you with your current living arrangements or your local community?
Now, it's time to be honest and rate yourself in each category, zero being low satisfaction, and ten being completely satisfied. Think deeply and carefully about your scores and reflect on how satisfied you are with these areas of your life. After rating yourself, connect the dots on your Wheel of Life chart and see how balanced your life is. This should help you determine which area you would like to improve and serve you as a marker for future goals and aspirations.
Step #4. Take action: Once you identify your current reality in life and establish your priorities, you can take the first steps toward realizing them. It's easy to sit comfortably at home, fill out the colorful charts, write journals, and make lists. Although it's a vital groundwork, it won't mean anything if you don't actually stand up and try to walk the path you set for yourself.
Take action and baby steps each day toward building the goals you intensely crave. It can mean applying for a job you've been contemplating or enrolling in the course that will help you build the skills for that job. Don't strive for perfectionism as it's the action's worst enemy. Perfectionism is nothing more than a mask we put on when we're terrified of failure. So, ask yourself: Would you rather go out there, face your fears and do something even imperfectly, or stay under your security blanket and do nothing at all?
The journey won't be easy, it's the path that only the bravest take. Do your best to work on your dreams and remind yourself to never give up.
You've got to find your own songs, because nobody but you knows what you want to sing.
- Jimmy Bowen.
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