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Developing your meaning for what you want to achieve

Often someone will say to me that they want something and I know they probably don’t understand the deep reason for wanting it. For example: ‘I want to be rich’ doesn’t really explain what the person really wants. What’s the purpose behind ‘being rich'?Learning what those deep reasons are can often create the urgency to achieve it OR discover a new direction.How often have you wanted to obtain or achieve something, and then achieved it only to discover it wasn’t really what you wanted? Sometimes we may want something, but when it happens it doesn’t give us the feelings, or the satisfaction, or the happiness we had been hoping for.How do you determine what you really want?I don’t ask ‘why’ often; when people are asked this they usually start answering by saying ‘because…’ This creates a blame type answer where you are justifying your reason, or an answer that is embedded in the past. For example, I may ask you, ‘Why do you want a pay rise?’ You may say, ‘because I have been in this role for three years and I think I deserve it.’On the other hand, I could ask ‘For what purpose do you want a pay rise?’ You may say, ‘so that I feel I am rewarded fairly for the work I do.’By starting your answer with ‘so that I …’ you are focussing your thinking on your future. A simple, and often profound, exercise is to dig a little deeper into why you want to obtain, achieve, or do something. Spend some time to really develop an understanding of ‘why’ or ‘for what purpose?’When we do this it’s like seeing the lights come on – it suddenly becomes clear.If you are looking to be promoted, understanding the ‘why’ and the deep reasons for wanting a promotion can create a clear direction to achieve that.I once spent an hour with a client, Jane, just asking her the purpose behind her goal. I kept asking ‘for what purpose?’ to really understand her deeper and higher purpose.While Jane initially found it frustrating to keep answering the same question, she became speechless when she realised her goal was driven by a sense of guilt for something that had happened in her life previously – her future focus had been to alleviate that guilt. Once she realised that, her goal didn’t change, but it meant she could release that guilt and focus on where she wanted to go.My questions are:

  • What is it you want to achieve and why do you want to achieve that?
  • Use the question ‘For what purpose do I want to achieve that?’  Take that answer and ask the question again and then again. Make sure you start each answer with ‘so that…’

Let me know how you go!


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