5 suggestions for when you don’t know what you want

A lot of you reached out to me after last week’s article on What to do when you don’t know what you want

Seems it struck a chord. Nice to know you’re not alone, huh?

Let’s very briefly recap the key lessons from that article:

  1. You might be making things harder than they need to be by believing you should know what you want or that your current (and temporary) lack of passion means something.

If you believe this, you are wrong. As it turns out, you should not always know what you want and being clueless means nothing except that you are currently (and temporarily) clueless.

  1. You have full permission to do nothing but the bare minimum. Do what it takes to keep you and any offspring or pets alive. And of course, do anything that genuinely feels good.

Any more than that and you’re just showing off.

To take things a bit further, I’d like to share a couple super easy but amazingly helpful exercises you can use as a guide you when you have no direction.

  1. One thing Michele (the leader of my mastermind group) does is have people complete the sentence: “I want….” 20 times. Unedited. No thinking… just stream-of-consciousness-no one-will-see-this-whatever-comes-up style.

Twenty times, and then when you’re done, look for patterns. Themes. Clusters.

I did this a few weeks ago and every single one of my 20 items revolved around sleep, rest, napping, or doing less. I spot a theme.

Other times I’ve done this or when I’ve assigned it to clients, more creative, active things come up, like “I want to scale a mountain” or “I want another baby” or “I want to start a book club”.

Once you’ve found the patterns in your responses (remember, no thinking until after you have your 20 sentences), ask yourself: What’s the first thing I need to do to make these happen?

Then, do that.

  1. Another way of doing this is to simply ask yourself, “What do I really want?” and dig deep until you arrive at something that makes you utterly giddy.

Sometimes that means you its really far-fetched, like “to start an adventure travel business in South America” or “to marry a billionaire”. Fine. The far-fetchedness is irrelevant…what matters is the giddy part.

It probably goes without saying that we’re talking about what you want here, not what you should do, what someone else wants of you, what would look good on your resume, or what you can do.

Once you have it, ask yourself: Are my actions supporting this? If not, where is the disconnect?

For example, if you want to marry a billionaire you need to at least be dating guys who have a job. If you’re not even dating, you’re not exactly on your way to marrying a billionaire.

Look at how you spend your time and make sure it lines up with what you really want. (thanks again, Michele).

  1. Here are a few additional, honorable mention questions:

What would feel delicious right now? (This question takes you straight to your pleasure source).

What feels like freedom right now? (This one takes you straight past the expectations and external stuff and into what is right for YOU).

(I think both of these are Martha’s. Since I’m crediting people and all.)

And Michael Neill’s exercise of sitting your ass in a chair and not moving until you feel really, truly drawn to do something.

There. Now in between breathing and feeding the cat and waiting, you have something to do this week.

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