What If You Don’t Really Want What You Think You Want?

How can you tell if you really want somethingThis is for those of you out there who are contemplating some change, be it big, little, or something in between.

It’s about the secret reason why you might still be in contemplating mode (instead of moving-forward mode).

I’m not talking about the dime-a-dozen doubts that will invariably show up. Such as: What if it doesn’t work out? What if you mess up and lose something—respect, confidence, money? What if you’re not any good at it? What if it ends up being a waste of time?

These are all variations on garden-variety resistance—which is generally produced by your ego in an effort to try and keep you “safe.”

But there’s one reason that runs a little deeper. It’s this: “What if I get what I want and I don’t like it?” This is bigger, because it doesn’t mean that you’re listening to your ego. It means you’re not trusting your gut.

And while listening to your ego and believing all the dumb little lies it pumps out isn’t exactly great for you and your progress, it happens. (For more about how to work with doubt, see The Bad News: Fear Happens. The Good News: You Are Bigger Than the Fear and When the Doubt Shows Up.) All you need to do is notice you’re doing it, forgive yourself for doing it, and get back to what you intended to do.

But when you’re not trusting your gut, that’s a bigger ball of wax. This is you not showing up for yourself. This is kind of a big deal.  The doubts du jour will come and go, but that mistrust will stick around until you decide to foster that relationship.

Remember, it’s not about the thing itself.

If there is some change you want to make that you feel genuinely excited and inspired by, that is true to who you are and the bigger picture of what you want to do with your time here on Earth, there is some gift waiting for you in the journey toward it.

And, that gift may not be the thing itself.

When I first started my coaching practice, I had been resisting the idea for 18 months. I had all kinds of great reasons—coaching has a bad reputation and people will think I’m weird; I’ve never done it before so what if I really stink up the place; what if I sink a lot of time and money into a training program and don’t get any clients and end up having wasted a bunch of time with nothing to show for it? I ran through them all, I tell you. My ego was busy churning out the doubts!

Underlying them all was the question of, “What if I don’t really like it?”

After lots of work with my own coach and some nudges from the universe (in the form of a continuing recession that kept making it harder to continue earning a living by writing for magazines), I finally got up the gumption to launch what I thought was the perfect version of a coaching practice for me, given my background and expertise.

I created a program where I’d get on the phone with you for 15 minutes every day for 10 days and hold you accountable to doing some form of mind-body practice that day. I priced it really, really low and got 10 sign-ups after with just a couple of emails. I was in business!

As soon as I started having those calls, I saw three things:

  1. I loved working with people one-on-one and helping them get what they want
  2. Nobody really wanted to talk about how to do their mind-body practice, including me—everyone wanted to talk about deeper things, like why they felt guilty taking time for themselves, or the fight they had with their husband, or how they felt guilty about really only wanting to play solitaire on their computer
  3. I really wanted to deepen my skills and find a training program, stat

I thought I wanted this small, particular thing (coaching people on doing their mind-body practice), but I learned I really wanted something bigger (a coaching practice that helps people hear what’s true for them and go do those things—whatever they may be). And I gave myself the chance to experience a taste of what that desire actually felt like. And that taste was the special sauce I needed to start moving forward with confidence.

The worst-case scenario in creating something new isn’t that you fail, game over. It’s that you get a glimpse of what you truly do what. You get clarity about where to head next. And you get to check something off your list, which is just as important.

Not really so worst-case after all, right?

A couple things to keep in mind:

  • Every no gets you closer to a yes. Closing a door always increases your power, even if you haven’t quite arrived at the next door yet.
  • There is no such thing as “too late.” This has been the trickiest piece to work with for me, personally, because I have an impatient streak that I am continuing to learn how to work with. J But my idea of timing and your idea of timing really have no bearing on the universe’s idea of timing. Sometimes things take longer than you want. But I can assure you, there is always a loving reason for this, and it generally is that you need to learn something or heal something so that you can be the person you need to be in order to contain the good things that are headed your way.
  • You don’t need to worry about the specific results. Keep moving forward and checking in with yourself and the results will take care of themselves. Stay focused on your business—your beliefs, your actions, your energy level. Don’t get pulled in to other people’s business—whatever dramas are going on around you. And let Life take care of its business—which are the specifics of exactly what happens and when.

What are you not making progress toward? Or what have you learned about making big changes that you weren’t sure you truly wanted? I’d love to hear about it in the comments below.

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