As a coach I spend a lot of time working with clients to help them determine their desired outcomes. ‘What do you want ? ‘ seems like a perfectly reasonable question but it is surprising how often the answer proves to be elusive.
But the question cannot be avoided as having an end goal that you are happy with is essential for any personal or business planning process. If you find yourself struggling to work out what you want try one or all of the following to move you forward :
1. Work out what you DON’T want, and in this way gain insights as to what a desired end state might look like. It can sometimes be easier to identify outcomes that you want to avoid as a starting point.
2. ‘Just decide’ and see how it feels. You can see this as a ‘pretend’ decision ! Repeat as often as necessary for different possible outcomes until you find yourself becoming comfortable with a particular end state, which then becomes your planning objective.
3. What advice would you give someone else in the same situation. This mental framing can bring more objectively and clarity to your decision making. Have you noticed how much easier it can be to advise someone else than to find answers to your own questions!
4. Decide on an interim goal. If you are undecided, at least make a decision on the next step so that you are not permanently ‘stuck’ in a state of inaction. For example, decide to complete some more research.
5. Let go. Give yourself permission to defer a decision for now. Removing the pressure to decide may give your unconscious mind the space it needs to think more clearly and creatively.
6. Hire a coach ! Hearing yourself talk through a situation with an independent professional who can also help you frame the questions you need to ask, can be just what you need for deciding ‘what you want’.
If you are struggling with the ‘What do you want ?’ don’t beat yourself up. Remember that some decisions, especially those with life changing consequences, should not be rushed and require a lot of discussion and reflection.