Now truthfully I’m a little apprehensive sharing this with you.
If you’re anything like I was (and still am a little bit), your first response might be:
‘Bullsh*t! It’ll never happen. Life is just not that easy, at least not for me’.
I get it.
Life can often be incredibly difficult and we all experience overwhelming challenges at times. And as a white, straight, male with a privileged education I know that if you change any one of those characteristics, society is stacked heavily against you.
And yet, all I can say is I have seen this work for me and others in ways I can’t fully explain.
It starts with a simple idea that should be straightforward:
You can only get what you want when you know what you want.
Right away though you might spot the main obstacle - wanting.
We’ve spent so much energy of late slamming people for being ‘entitled’ that I think we’ve thrown the baby out with the bath water. There’s a big difference between feeling authentic ‘desire’ and feeling arrogantly ‘deserving’. And don’t go too far attacking the latter or you’ll end up feeling disgustingly un-deserving. Usually with an authoritative internal voice of criticism calling us ‘selfish’, ‘greedy’ or ‘unworthy’.
But all of this pales in comparison to the biggest barrier I’ve encountered.
Most of us feel a bit self-conscious or embarrassed about wanting what we want. How silly we are to still want to be a (insert the dream you gave up when moving from adolescence to adulthood). And for many of us, it can deepen into shame, regret and guilt and we feel wrong to want.
For me balance is key.
Finding a way to allow self-judgements to flow through you while cultivating a joyful enthusiasm for those things you know will enrich your life.
And if you can get that far and actually write down what you want, there’s one more obstacle.
I can’t tell you how hard I find this!
It’s only human to jump straight into planning and problem solving once we’ve got clear about what we want. It’s all I can do to stop myself opening a spreadsheet and creating a project management template complete with tasks, sub tasks and timeline of milestones and deadlines!
And sure there’s a time and place for this structured and rational approach to getting what we want. In fact I think that’s part of the magic. Once these written wants have fully settled it can literally be rewarding to set about your to do list with some sense of prioritisation.
But give your wants a little love first.
If you’re like me you’ve probably just navigated quite a stormy world of half-forgotten dreams, a crowd of inner voices exclaiming ‘oh for god’s sake, grow up!’ and possibly a little sadness at how much time you might feel you’ve already wasted.
Rather than see your precious desires mapped out like an architect's blueprint to be meticulously followed, see them as seeds in the garden of your soul. Your job for now is to nourish them and marvel at how they blossom.
One thing that works for me is day dreaming - letting myself feel what it will be like to be living the life I’ve just imagined.
What is my work day like?
What types of people do I know?
What are we talking about?
What am I doing in my free time?
What am I feeling?
Peaceful? Relaxed? Content? Happy?
I find gaps in my every day to tune into my desires - in the shower, brushing my teeth, at red traffic lights.
And then I let things unfold.
Sometimes it’s catching the waves of inspiration and motivation to make things happen.
At other times it’s sitting back and noticing a new awareness and receptiveness to opportunities that may have been missed in the usual busyness.
Or it’s a seemingly random conversation with someone who can ‘coincidentally’ help you take another step forward.
After a while the strong focus on working out what you want starts to fade. The flowers are blooming. You barely remember how the garden used to be anything but bursting with life. And you think ‘where did it all go so right?’
Then you stumble across an old piece of paper tucked away in a drawer. And you see your current life written down by an older version of you. And you think ‘oh yeah, I wrote it all down!’
And you go looking for a new piece of paper…
And if you feel I can help you work out what you want, let's talk.