When I was a guest on the “Peter Walsh Show,” a woman called in because she was making no progress on a book project. I didn’t offer her strategies for getting down to work. Instead, I suggested that maybe she didn’t really want to write a book.
I wasn’t trying to take the wind out of her sails. I was pointing out that there’s a difference between wanting something and thinking you “should” want something. As a coach, I see the damage that is done when we uncritically swallow the “should’s” of our culture. We take on goals and choices that aren’t truly our own. (Thankfully, one of the gifts of middle age is the willingness–the imperative–to shed what’s not ours and embrace that which is, no matter what others think.)
I’m remembering that coaching moment because, as I’m reading Creative Visualization by Shakti Gawain this Saturday afternoon, I discover an excellent tool for discerning the difference between “want” and “should.”
Gawain suggests three elements that predict the success of creative visualization. In other words, these are the three ingredients for an authentic goal (not a “should” goal):
1. Desire. Ask yourself, “Do I truly, in my heart, desire to live this outcome?”
2. Belief. Ask yourself, “Do I believe that this goal is possible for me?”
3. Acceptance. Ask yourself, “Am I willing to have this?”
Once you discern whether the book–or the degree, or the relationship, or the promotion–is what you really want, your energy toward it will expand. And if you realize it’s not what you really want, you are freed to follow your true bliss.
(Want to keep in touch? Click here to subscribe to my blog, and you’ll also get the bonus Coaching Starter Kit.)