When You Don’t Know What You Want

• Beginning with the end in mind,

• End point visualization,

• Vision.

These essentials of planning, goal setting, and project design depend on being able to say what you want, and there’s the rub. What if you don’t know what you really, really want?

Choice is an issue

When there are only a few choices it’s easier to commit. When you can see dozens of possibilities with more showing up all the time, it can create a stall and retreat scenario.

Tools for tracking what you want (vision hunting tips)

1. Be aware of when you are happy. Happiness provides a marker. Make a note, write it down when you feel it, or write about the moments of happiness at the end of each day.

2. Metta, or loving kindness, is a Theravadan meditation practice, and often begins with the phrases, “May I be happy. May I be peaceful. May I be free of suffering.” Acknowledging and affirming these basic human desires, for happiness, peace, and freedom from suffering, grounds us, let’s us sigh and settle into ourselves and helps to concentrate the mind.

When I ask, “what do I want” from this place, one that feels deeper in my heart, and quieter, the answers I receive are more concrete and immediate, and the actions I need to take are close to me.

3. Have patience with the process. Various answers may float to the surface as you hold the question in your heart. “What do I really want?” As answers come to you, ask, “Is this it?” When you feel it’s a yes, write it down.

If you have a friend or a partner you may want to work on this together. First decide who will ask and who will respond. Then one person asks the question, “What do you want?” and records the responder’s answers in the responder’s notebook. Do this for at least five minutes.

As a further step you can ask your partner to slowly read your responses back to you. Listen to each one and let it sink in. When you are done, take a moment and circle or highlight the answers that most struck you when you heard them. Then perform the same questioning and reading service for you partner.

After you have both had a turn, share what struck you most, or how you felt when being asked “What do you want?”, or what came up as you heard your answers.

The answers you received are like those dried sponge animals that you drop into water to see fully. Right now they are dry. To “water” an answer, reflect on it over several days and write about it in your journal. Once you have done this with the answers that had the most meaning for you, it’s likely you will know what you want, what you really, really want.

Join the conversation: Is it easy or hard for you to know what you want? How do you find out what you really want?


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