Remember all those times you wished for something different?
You wished your job was different, or your home was different, or you just wished your life in general was different. You didn’t know what you wanted, you only knew that what you had wasn’t working, and wasn’t what you wanted.
I remember those times. In fact, I still fall victim to that way of feeling now and then!
Wishing and feeling like that doesn’t get us where we want to be. Can you guess why?
If you’re thinking it’s because there wasn’t a plan in sight, that’s partially right.
But before that is one really huge step!
We didn’t clarify what it was we DID want.
We can’t plan if we don’t know what we’re planning for. Makes sense, right?
The one major issue each and every client I’ve worked with had in common was that they didn’t know what they wanted.
The knew they weren’t happy.
They knew they felt lost.
They knew that although their lives seemed to be fine, there was something missing, and they couldn’t figure out what it was they wanted.
Does that resonate with you? I know I use to feel that way at times.
It’s so much easier to know what we don’t want. It’s usually something we have in our lives right now and it’s making us miserable or unhappy, therefore it’s easy to identify.
We also tend to fixate on the negatives instead of the positives. While there may be some pretty awesome things going on in our lives, it’s the crappy stuff we dwell on and wish would change.
So, let’s figure out how to do that.
Look at what you want to change. For example, let’s say your job is draining you and you absolutely dread going into work every day.
What’s draining you? What is it you dread?
Is it the work itself? Does it no longer appeal to you?
Is it the people you work with? If the people were different but the work was the same, would you enjoy it more?
Are there simply certain circumstances of the job that have you dreaming of a different one?
Once you identify the source of the negative feelings, determine if you can change it.
If you love the company but not the work, can you ask for a different position? Can you make the work more interesting somehow?
If you love the work but not the people, is there another company that’s similar who you could work for?
If there are just a few circumstances that if changed, would make all the difference, is there someone you can go to and ask about them?
If it’s everything, the work and the people, what work would you rather be doing? And with what type of people? What personalities?
This brings us back to the topic of this post. We know what we don’t want, that’s easy to figure out. But what do we want instead?
Continuing with the example above, if it’s a whole different job you wished you had, what type of job would it be?
What role would you be in?
What type of industry would it be?
Is the reach local or global?
Are you energized by others or do you prefer to work alone?
Do you like deadlines?
Do you like research?
Do you like being hands-on, front-line, doing the nitty-gritty?
Are you an ‘ideas’ person?
Do you like to help people?
Do you like to create things?
Do you like to part of change, making a difference?
There are so many questions to ask yourself until you discover what it is you really want.
This step will be so much more effective if you enlist the help of a good friend, or in this example, a career counsellor. The more input you have, the more clarity you’ll receive.
Another approach to take is to look at what you want to change, and just ask yourself why. It could quite simply be the opposite of what you have now.
For example, if it’s your home you’re not in love with.
Knowing what you don’t like about your home will tell you what you do want in a home. Start with a list of everything you wish you could change, and the result will be the description of the perfect home for you.
Don’t like the noisy and nosey neighbours? You need somewhere with more space around you.
Don’t like the busyness of the area? You need somewhere off the beaten path, a little more remote perhaps.
You’re crowded and tripping over everything all the time? You either need to purge or you need a bigger home.
If you’re spending too much time with housework and home maintenance chores, maybe you need to find something smaller.
It may not be quite this simple, but it could be a really good starting point to figuring out what it is you do want.
Try using these scenarios for whatever it is in your life you wish you could change.
Instead of only wishing something was different, get really super clear on what it is you truly want.
And then it’s time to plan!