What Do You Want?

One question that drives the engine of motivation is “What do I want?”

If asked with self-awareness and not driven by a self-absorbed ego, it can lead to some our most productive and adventurous actions. If neglected, can be a source of deep frustration and the basis of an unfulfilled life.

Here are some ways that illustrate how this question can lead to a change of direction in our lives.

 Want #1. “I don’t know what I want. But I know what I don’t want.”

Your gut and all your wise friends keep asking you “Why on earth are you in this situation/relationship. It’s not good for you?”

Many friendships and intimate relationships are based in a large part on mutual illusions. We come to believe one thing but we actually have the opposite.

We are either blind or in denial about the actual reality. Then one day we wake up and say, “What am I doing here?” The realization that we are looking for fool’s gold can be the beginning of a change.

Conclusion: Get over the illusion and move on

Want #2. “I want more than just work in my life.”

Climbing the corporate ladder is not the core aspiration of all people. He is a SVP in a large healthcare industry and was tapped by his boss as a possible successor. While flattered that the boss would think so highly of him he declined an offer for promotion that would involve the relocation of his family. He told me “I told the boss, my work needs to follow my family and not the other way round!”

So when I asked him, “What do you want?” he replied, “To grow personally and professionally where I am and remain in a location near my extended family (aging parents).”

Conclusion. Follow the direction of your inner compass.

 Want # 3. “To be passionate and challenged in one’s life.”

Here was a case of the right person in the wrong position. She was the rising star in a large transportation company. She was an innovative and needed to explore new worlds and also needed (and was qualified to) lead her own company. However, the reality was that she was dying the death by a thousand cuts in a corporate culture that was more about maintaining the status quo rather than looking for new innovative frontiers.

Conclusion: Do not ignore the importance and power of your passions.

Fulfilling the wants of your true self requires both awareness and courage. The first involves the willingness to be ruthlessly honest.  Courage implies that you make a decision even when you cannot fully predict the outcome of that decision.

Is it not time to know what you want and go after it?

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About cedricj

I am a licensed psychologist and management consultant and have always been intrigued by how leaders can inspire people in their organizations. The bottom line is that people are not always motivated by material rewards, the use of the carrot or the stick, fear and intimidation,and command and control, Five human needs inspire and drive us. Kristine S MacKain, Ph.D and myself describe these inspirational forces in our book "What Inspirational Leaders Do" (Kindle 2008)
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