Most People Don’t Know What They Want

I was standing in a long line at my local coffee shop. I love this place. If you looked up the word “hotspot” in the dictionary, you’d see a picture of it. Everyone in front of me was on their phone. Heads down, tapping away. I watched each of them step up to the counter, put down their phone and look at the barista.

The barista greeted them politely and asked each of them the same, simple, much-anticipated question: What do you want?

Their response? “Umm, let’s see…” as they looked up at the menu for the first time since they got in line.

Every. Single. One. Of. Them.

I’m not being judgmental. I’ve been one of those people in line. One of those people who have all the time in the world to think about what I want. One of those people who is glancing around at every distraction the world throws at me. One of those people who stammers, sputters and tries to buy time when I’m finally faced with the question: What do you want?

Of course, I stopped talking about buying coffee at some point in the last paragraph and allowed this experience to become the true-to-life metaphor that it is. Most of us don’t really know what we want. But we walk around under the impression that we do only because we’ve slowly compiled a list of all of the things we don’t want.

Rather than spend each day headed in the direction of what we want, we spend our time trying to avoid all of the things we know we don’t want and simply hope things get better.

That being said, a more suitable title for this post might have been, Most People Simply Hope Things Get Better. A better job. A better relationship. A better financial situation. A better sense of well-being. Better defines our ambition.

But aiming toward better is about as clear as telling someone that you’ll be there soon. It lacks context. It’s hard to plan around. And no one is really accountable for anything. Aiming toward better doesn’t dismiss you from your need to identify what it is you really want.

If we sat down here in my local coffeeshop and I asked you, “What do you want?” Would you look off into the distance and try to string together pieces of a wish list or the hopes that other people have for you or a heartfelt longing for world peace? Would you simply say you want things to be better? Or would you be able to articulate, with clarity, what you want in the next six months, year, even three years?

I often wonder how many people are frustrated or depressed with life, not because they’re unable to achieve what they’re working toward, but because they’ve never taken the time to define what it is they want. You can spend your time avoiding all of the things you don’t want or you can invest your time in pursuing those things you do want. If you choose the latter, it will require three things:

  1. You have to DECIDE.
  2. You have to be DELIBERATE.
  3. You have to DISCIPLINE yourself.

If you are someone who struggles in any of these areas (and we all do to some extent), the most powerful tool you can use to guarantee greater success is to hire a personal coach. A personal coach can help you get clear, motivated and see results in all three of these areas.

If you’re unsure about hiring a coach, ask yourself this question: How much time am I wasting hoping things will get better rather than investing my time pursuing those things I really want? A personal coach can give you the tools and support to substantially tip the odds in your favor.

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