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What Do You Want Instead?

As I've worked with clients throughout my career as a coach, I've noticed that it's usually pretty easy for most people to give voice to their dissatisfaction. It's not a difficult thing to define that you're overweight, in debt, or that your relationship isn't working. While painful, those realities are generally pretty obvious. What I've seen people have a more challenging time with is the process of giving voice to the alternative circumstances they seek.

The most common response I've received from clients when asked, "What do you want instead?" is "I don't know." That thought may have already crossed your mind, but I promise you, you do know. You know what you want instead; you just haven't taken a moment to expressly define it.

You cannot hit a target you don't define. Unless and until you specifically describe the day-to-day reality you want to experience, you have little chance of making that vision happen. Conversely, once you define what you want, you have the power to begin creating those circumstances in your life.

What stops most people from taking this all important step? In my experience, it's fear. What if you give voice to what you want, and then you aren't capable of pulling it off? It might be easier to just settle and live with the status quo. Worse still; what if you describe what you want, go for it, make it happen, and then you have too much responsibility? Again, it might be easier to just settle and accept your current circumstances.

You're right. It might be easier, but it won't be fulfilling. It won't give you passion. It won't excite and energize you. You certainly won't make a contribution or have an impact. Instead you'll just settle into the masses of society that I refer to as the walking dead; stumbling your way through each day, just focused on survival. Is that what you want? I don't think it is, or you wouldn't be reading this book.

You are too good to settle.

Let's take your life back. I'm going to ask you to specifically define what you want in each area of your life. Today, I want you to get the big picture.

As you give voice to the alternatives you seek, I invite you to be specific. When you specifically define what you want you are absolutely, accurately, and clearly stating the reality you seek. If you've noted that you are dissatisfied with your health because you're overweight and have no energy, stating that what you want instead is to be at your ideal weight and have energy is not good enough. Instead, I want you to imagine what ideal health and high energy would look like; then describe that in detail.

There are two techniques you can use to help you access this definitive picture. You can either recall a time when you had that reality in your life, or you can model someone who is living with the circumstances you long for.

Using our example, if at one point in your life you were at your ideal weight with optimal energy; describe that. How much did you weigh? Was it easy for you to get out of bed every morning? Did you feel good about your body? What did you like about your level of vigor? What did you appreciate about your body? If you've had it before, you can create it again.

On the other hand, if you've never been at your ideal weight, think about someone you admire who is. What do you like about their physique? Are they toned? Do they have a great deal of vitality? Does their skin glow? If they can do it, so can you.

Today, I want you to use these two techniques to clearly define what you want in each area of your life.