When I ask this question, most of my clients have NO idea to start with, except “Not this.”
That’s fine! Start there. Knowing what you DON’T want is the start of identifying what you DO want.
The idea of “wanting” something is often accompanied by self-judgement, self-censorship, and shame.
But unless we get clear on what we actually want in life, we will never know how to invest our time, what we need to change, and how to move ourselves toward the life/thing we want.
I believe it’s OK to want what we want. I also think it’s our responsibility to own our desires/wants, and take action to bring them into existence.
In this episode I explore the kinds of things stopping us from understanding what we want, plus an exercise to help you figure out what you DO want.
If you missed it in the last episode, Grab “the”The Thrive List” PDF and template here, including links to all 10 Episodes in my Thrive Series from early 2022.
And you can book a Breakthrough Coaching Session with me here:
With love and gratitude,
WORK WITH ME – Israel Smith – Life Coach for Men
I help successful high-achieving men (like YOU!) enjoy a happier, more fulfilling, purposeful life.
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Welcome to the Illuminating Lives podcast. I’m Israel Smith mindset and performance coach for successful high achievers. Just like you, we want more meaning and purpose in your life without the stress, burnout and overwork. I’ll share how you can make simple changes to your mindset, habits and choices to stop those racing thoughts or angry outbursts and create more time, more energy, more balance, and a lighter, calmer head and heart.
This podcast is for you. If you’re ready to learn how to thrive in our uncertain world. Prioritize your own well-being and mental health. Improve your relationships with your partner and kids. Rediscover some fun, and just get back on track to living your best life every day. I’m stoked that you’re here.
Welcome back to the Illuminating Lives podcast. It’s Israel. Hi, how are you? It is your first time tuning in. Welcome to the party. It’s lovely to have you here and thank you for tuning in. Here’s an important question I want to start with tonight. What do you want genuinely? What do you want? Do you even know? Is this a question that you don’t want to ask yourself because you’re afraid of the answer?
Or is it a question you’re very familiar with and have a really good answer for? I don’t know. And I make no judgment either way. I’m just curious because it occurred to me during the week as I was reflecting on a couple of clients I’ve worked with lately, that understanding what we want isn’t a given. It’s not always guaranteed.
People don’t always have a clear grasp of exactly what they want, and there’s a whole bunch of reasons for that that I wanted to unpack a little bit in this episode. So to start with, there’s nothing wrong with not knowing what you want. There’s this is a lot of reasons why we might end up there, but I don’t want you to feel like, Oh, I don’t know what I want.
That’s bad. It’s not bad. It just is what it is. Right? But here’s the thing. If you’re looking to improve life, if you want to make life better, you need to have some idea of what you want to make different whereabouts in your life. You want to change things. So if your starting point is I don’t know what I do want, but I don’t want this.
That’s right. All right. It’s totally valid to start with, but you don’t want and work on a sort of exclusion basis. But the reason this is important, too, before I sort of dig into the finer points in my own personal experience, the more clear I am about exactly what I want, the more aligned I am with what I’m here to do, the better decisions I make, and the more my life begins to really, truly flow, the more things start to all just work.
If I know what I’m after, if I know where I’m going, if I know what I’m aiming for, then I can start to weigh up. Is this course of action going to take me closer to what I want or further away from what I want? Say, if you’re running your own small business and you don’t really know what you want out of that business and someone comes to you with an opportunity, how are you going to weigh up whether it’s the right course of action?
There’s a little bit of sort of shiny object syndrome caught up in that, too. You know, That looks like it. That’s interesting. Or maybe I should try this or maybe this thing will be the next big thing. But the question of what do we want? If we can get super, crystal clear on that, that will help us make better decisions in life, better decisions in business, and move ourselves forward away from the.
I don’t want this, but also towards the will. That’s what I want. So here are some of the things that I want you to reflect on. When you were growing up or even as an adult, is it safe? Has it been safe for you to want something? Because that’s often a barrier that gets in the way. People don’t necessarily feel safe to want things because expressing wants or desires has led in the past to them some sort of reprisal, like some sort of punishment or some sort of disappointment or I don’t even know what right.
But I want you to understand it is actually safe for you to want things. It’s literally your innermost self expressing a desire. And that’s okay. Most days I want chocolate and it is safe for me to want that. But for some of us, we want a happier life or a better relationship or a less stressful work environment. And we have a belief that if we ask for those things or if we set out for those things, that won’t be a safe course of action for us, we would be under threat.
We would be at risk in the vast majority of situations. I don’t believe that to be the case. So I want to reassure you that if that’s one of the things that’s been getting in your way about having wants, you are safe. It is safe for you to want something for yourself. Second thing I want you to reflect on is are you in the practice of being really honest with yourself?
Now, if you’ve listened to my Thrive series, I go into this in step seven, which is Brave Conversations. And the thing about Brave conversations is that they start with number one, they start with us. So if we are willing to go into a brave conversation with ourselves and get out of denial or get out of self-deception, I suppose then that might also be something we can do to get clearer to what it is that we actually want.
So if you’re wanting something but you haven’t been honest with yourself about that desire, then that might be one of the barriers as well. Finally, something my coach has said to me in the past when I’ve been going through this exact same kind of exploration, it’s okay to want what you want. We don’t have to bring judgment to this.
If I want to walk down the street wearing striped pants, riding a unicycle, it’s okay to want that. If I want to make surfboards, if I want to go surfing, if I want to, whatever, it’s okay for me to want those things. That’s a fine and dandy way of expressing what is in my heart or in my soul.
It’s okay to want stuff. So in a way, this sort of talks to self-censorship, blocking what you might want because there’s some preconceived judgment or preconceived censorship or some sort of idea that it’s not okay for you to want things. It is absolutely fine. Now they’re sort of the main things. Now here are some other things that get in the way of people understanding, like maybe you understanding what it is you want.
Maybe you are judging yourself. Maybe there is fear associated with your desire. So you want something, but you’re afraid of the outcome. Maybe you’re afraid of the change associated with wanting that thing, in which case I recommend you listen to my last episode. How to Handle Change Like a Legend. Maybe there’s shame, maybe there’s guilt. Maybe there’s some of these heavy things associated with your own desire or your own want, and that’s very normal as well, right?
There’s a universal human experience, so there’s nothing wrong with experiencing shame or experience seeing guilt. But where it doesn’t serve you is when those sorts of things get completely swept under the rug or kept in the closet or whatever, like ignored. When we don’t process or when we don’t acknowledge and deal with our shame or our guilt, that’s when it can start to turn malignant erotic can start to come back and hurt us.
So I feel like there’s a lot of things I’ve spoken about there, which are what’s getting in the way of you having clarity around what you want. So it kind of follows in terms of logic that the way to get clearer on what you want is to put aside all those things. Imagine you have a great big blank canvas for your life from this moment forward that is separate to and not influenced by anything at all that has happened in your life in the past.
Imagine that for a minute. Imagine that pristine white canvas, or if you prefer, like going to like an office works or a stationery supplies place or an art supplies place and just getting a big fat art journal with massive, beautiful textured paper, blank pages and a whole chunk of different colored markers and pencils and things. That is your opportunity.
Create what you want for your life. And nothing that has happened to you in the past needs to have any bearing on that. Nothing that anyone has ever said to you, nothing that you have ever said to yourself, none of your previous successes, none of your previous failures, imagine that all of that has been completely separated from this present moment that you are looking at this what notebook or blank canvas or whatever is empty vessel for your desire, and then to start to create, start to think, What do I really want from my life?
And if that’s too overwhelming and too scary, maybe start with a slightly smaller question. What am I curious about? What fascinates me or what interests me? What is fun for me? And those sorts of things are the kinds of questions to help you get to know yourself better. How do I want to live? Who do I want to live with?
Who do I want to share my life with? Do I want to be in a relationship? Do I not want to be in a relationship? Do I want to have a network of friends? What kind of sports or activities do I want to get involved in? Like if we start to take an inventory of our life, all of these different things work, relationships, play activities, all of this kind of stuff, you really have the chance and the freedom at any moment to ignore the past and simply create from a blank canvas.
It’s the power of the present moment. We cannot get on a plane and go back to the past. We can’t revisit it, we can’t change it. It doesn’t exist anymore. It’s gone. And so we can actually choose to create, fresh from this very moment, that’s how we begin to answer for ourselves the question of What do you want?
And I’m telling you, this may come really easily to you. This may take a while. If you’ve been one of those people who have had a shame or a safety or a censorship related issue about expressing what it is you want in your life, then I completely recommend that this is worth slowly dipping into and exploring above all, through this process, I want you to manage your own emotional and mental state.
And if this feels overwhelming or if this feels like a tough question to say this is too loaded or too triggering, then go gently, be kind to yourself, take rest, take sleep, take time. But I promise you, if you are unhappy with anything in your life right now or a lot of things in your life, I’m not sure where things are at for you.
But whatever your situation is, if there are any things in your life and the aspects to your life that you want to improve and change, it’s vital that you know what you want for that area of your life. And probably, I would say vital that you know more than just I don’t want this. So this whole episode is to help you start to tap into that and start to unlock that.
I do have a caveat on this, right? So I’ve said a few times, it’s okay to want what you want as inhabitants of this planet. We all have a responsibility to kind of social contract with all the other inhabitants of this planet. And even if we don’t go to like the global scale, but we’ve got like a micro community scale, if I want a really, really nice TV, my neighbor has one.
I just go and take it. That breaks the social contract, right? If I want anything that harms another person, then I would get curious about what is at the root of that desire. Is there an emotional wound? Is there some trauma that I need to get some support with or get some, you know, counseling or, you know, treatment of?
And I would also add that if you find yourself wanting, you know, amazing, profound wealth far beyond and above, what would let you live a comfortable life. Like if you want to be an Avon mask or Jeff Bezos or a Bill Gates or Warren Buffett or whatever?
First of all, I don’t have a problem with you wanting that. But I will say this. When we when our desires veer off into extreme thinking or extreme territories like that, I would start to get very curious. Personally about what is underlying that or what is driving that. Are there some again, some some trauma or some wounding or some sort of belief systems in there that are not helpful and not serving you?
I don’t know. Maybe there are. So I want to kind of wrap this up and keep this simple and concise. It’s okay to want what you want. You don’t need to sense yourself. You don’t need to shame or guilt or fear yourself into not wanting things. And I would say as long as your desires or your wants are compatible with the social contract in your community where you live.
I would also say if there’s a whole grade or power element there, then perhaps that’s indicative of a slightly deeper wound or something that you perhaps need to address through some counseling or some coaching. And finally, I’ll say that whatever it is you want in your life or wherever there are elements of your life, aspects of your life that are not grooving the way you want them to.
Creating a safe environment. Creating a an opportunity for your nervous system to be soothed and regulated and creating, I suppose, a space for yourself to explore from that kind of blank canvas perspective. How do you want to live? How do you want to work? What do you truly, deeply want that is going to help you get to the place where you can start to make better, more informed decisions about what you want, about where your life is heading, and about what actions you need to take.
Now I’m sending you this podcast episode with so much love because I know that for a lot of people, to be really honest with ourselves and to be really frank about exactly what we’re going after in our life can be a bit daunting and can be a little bit forlorn. And that’s okay. I will also add that if this is something that you want to explore more deeply and you feel like you don’t have the tools, give me a call or send me an email or a DM via socials, I’m available and I think this is the perfect thing that I could facilitate a conversation with you in that safe, regulated nervous system.
Blank Canvas Environment. In a breakthrough coaching session. And a breakthrough coaching session is literally about taking the single biggest challenge in your life right now and helping you have a breakthrough around it. That’s what I’m here to do as your coach. That is how I am here to help in this situation regarding what you want. So I encourage you to reach out.
There’s an opportunity to click on a link through the show notes to go straight to my breakthrough coaching session page. If this is something you want to tackle and you want to get some assistance from someone who can help facilitate this and help guide you through a bit of a process here, let’s do it. Have an amazing week.
I’m sending lots of love and lots of gratitude and I will see you on the next episode.
Thank you so much for joining me on this episode. Since you’re still listening, you’re probably the kind of person who loves to get the most out of everything in life. So let’s have a conversation about that. I want to invite you to book in a 30 minute clarity session with me where we can talk about what you want, what’s in the way, and what the next steps look like.
Plus, we can also have a chat about how I work and if we’re the right fit to work together. So take a minute now jump over to my website at Israel Smith dot com slash coach me and grab a spot on my calendar. Let me help you get the most out of your life, your work and your relationships in the first place to start is with a clarity session.
That’s Israel Smith dot com slash coach me I look forward to hearing from you soon.