What Do You Want ?

What I really want to do is ….get out of this town, this job, this debt….but

I heard this twice today, not that much different from any other day, except today it was from two different, very bright 30 somethings. Really? You’ve got the world by the tail and you’re letting that stop you?

As much as I’m blown away by people who actually do the work to get what they want, I’m saddened by the majority that just can’t commit.

I suspect in most cases the real problem isn’t the inability or an unwillingness to do the work, it’s the failure to clearly see the dream.

“What I really want” is too lightly spoken and in the heart of the speaker, they know it. It is not what they really want; it is something, anything to distract them from where they are right now.

Like most of us, they have no clue what they really want. They only know that they are not satisfied with what they have.

On the surface, it would seem easy to answer the questions:

What do I (we) want?


What is most important to me (us)?


Is the way we live in alignment with the first two answers?

but it’s not.

It takes a lot of time and effort to discover what is important to us- it’s world’s easier to let the marketers tell us what we want.

Start with why. Why do you want out of that job or that debt? Why did you get in?

If you are thinking, If Only, about your situation, your not looking deep enough. If only I had a better job, more money, less debt, could wear my skinny jeans, etc.- life would be grand. Bullshit. Someday, you are going to find yourself in your dream job with disposable income and a completely new list of If Onlys.


Continue on to examining where you are. What works and what doesn’t work about your current situation? What can you do to fix the part that doesn’t work?

Do this with the knowledge that the pull is always strongest to stay where you are. No matter how uncomfortable, unreasonable and future-killing your present situation; you will be compelled to find a bazillion reasons you cannot change it, at least not now – right up until you get the urge to bolt.

Don’t Bolt. Our first reaction when we have finally had enough but don’t want to ask the hard questions of ourselves is to bolt, to quit, to walk away without a plan.

Not smart. Sit with it. If leaving is the right thing, leave to go somewhere better. Leave with a much clearer picture of who you are and what you want.

4 thoughts on “What Do You Want ?”

  1. You are correct…it is asking yourself the hard question – what do you want? Most of us are confused about what we want, myself included. I still find myself skewing my wants by what I was or had – which was formed mainly by circumstance and other peoples wants, not mine. I am slowly peeling away the layers of pseudo wants in attempting to arrive at the real me and my dreams. Taking everything without using knee-jerk reactions is very hard. Sleeping on it helps, being patient helps, seeking advice from trusted others helps. Deciding what you want and planning for it is difficult, but I suspect, well worth the effort.

    1. Very Well said Anne. It is very difficult to differentiate what we really want from what we’ve been told we should want. Congratulations on you progress !

  2. However you define my actions last year I have no doubt they were absolutely appropriate. Did I “bolt?” I did have a plan, one I fully expected led to considerable happiness and a better me. To some extent it worked. Sure, it’s disheartening that not everything went as envisioned, but what things in life do?
    True, I did leave my career without much of a plan, but, in a way, that was the point. I finally came to the realization that my job shouldn’t define me any more than the marketers. I recognized my job was becoming a considerable burden and negative influence. The reasons for that development were varied: less than ideal personal decisions, events outside my control, “bad luck.” Their only relevance, then and now, is as historical footnotes from which I take many lessons.
    I have never lost confidence in my abilities and I know I will be successful in any career path. But I’m not quite ready to return to 40+ hour work weeks. I find myself at another major life crossroads, and I choose to spend some time living first.
    I’m honestly proud of myself for taking a chance for once. That doesn’t come easy for me.

    1. Change is impossible without a willingness to accept risk. Many advised me to ease into my new career while holding on to my old job. I knew it would never happen; the good parts of the old job took all the energy and creativity I could muster. The bad parts sucked the joy and enthusiasm right out of me. The only way for me to start the new was to lose the old.

      Perhaps it was similar for you.

      I salute your willingness to take risks and question expectations. With continued effort, I am certain you will find meaningful work that does not require you to choose between a life and a career.

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