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What Do You Really Want Out of Life? How to Gain Clarity
Gaining clarity about your purpose in life can endow you with superpowers. This mental exercise is not an easy one, however. Life coaches use techniques such as placing you in imaginary scenarios and asking you existential questions. By answering these questions, you may discover what you really want out of life.
Defining our life goals is anything but simple for many of us.
Knowing what you want in life is perhaps the most important prerequisite of eventually getting what you want. And we all know what we want, don’t we? Fame, fortune, riches, family, success.
“The big thing is that you know what you want.” – Earl Nightingale
Why Gaining Clarity is Not Easy
Unfortunately, defining what we want is not that simple. Worn-out generalizations mean nothing in this respect. Many of us get so tied up in the grind of everyday life, always striving to meet the expectations of others, that we lose sight of what we want.
Thinking about others and providing for their needs is part of life. Through this process, however, we tend to identify with the needs and wants of those for whom we provide, eventually foregoing our wants altogether.
Solutions to Gaining Clarity
Leadership and life coaches aim to turn their clients into better versions of themselves through introspection and progressive improvement. Objective-wise, leadership coaching, and life coaching converge. Some of their common objectives are:
- Gaining clarity about what clients want from life/leadership
- Establishing commitment
- Setting up a plan to achieve the goals
- Identifying the obstacles
- Tracking progress and maintaining accountability throughout the process
In my leadership development books, I have always stressed the importance of creating a compelling map of a leader’s strengths and weaknesses as a starting point for coaching. This diagnosis process is all about gaining clarity regarding one’s current status and future goals.
Asking Yourself Some Questions
The quickest way to re-establish contact with your aspirations and wants is to ask yourself some cleverly formulated questions. In some ways, through these questions, you aim to paint yourself into a corner intellectually and psychologically, so you can come up with genuine, valuable answers under pressure.
Before you begin the exercise, imagine that you only have a few years, rather than decades, left to act toward reaching your goals. Also, dispose of any thoughts concerning material limitations or practicality and focus solely on the theoretical side of your answers.
- What do you consider to be the greatest accomplishment of your life?
- What have you enjoyed doing the most in life?
- If you could not fail, what is the one thing that you would do right now?
- You have just gained access to limitless material resources. What do you do?
- Surely you know people who inspire you. What qualities do you appreciate the most in them?
- What makes you happy?
Boil down your answers to only the bits about the actions you would take to further your happiness. You now have a decent outline of what you can do to become a better, happier person.
Some of the actions that will take you closer to achieving your life goals and happiness are doubtlessly daunting. Do not tackle such actions directly. Initiate smaller steps instead that take you closer to your goals.
If you want to build a phenomenal physique, start by cleaning up your diet, then your sleep schedule. Set some easily achievable goals at first, and turn these actions into habits. Remember, excellence is a habit, not a one-time act.
You are, indeed, what you repeatedly do.
If your goal is setting up a charity, start by making donations and perhaps donating some of your time to a worthwhile cause.
Facing the Truth
To gain clarity about your purpose, you have to accept some fundamental truths about yourself. You cannot commit to the process of improving yourself without establishing these truths as your starting point.
Learning and accepting the truth about your purpose allows you to achieve clarity. It is also an emotionally taxing and scary exercise for many, as it involves pushing past your comfort zone while perhaps invalidating much of what you have achieved thus far.
To pursue your purpose, you may have to abandon your career and other thus far reliable reference points in your life. The proposition is, however, that it is all worth it.
Are you looking for clarity in leadership? Does your purpose align with that of your organization? Read my books and blog posts to answer those questions.