4 Techniques To Determine What You Truly Want in Life

Today is Day Two of 10 Tips in 10 Days, and I’m sharing tips on avoiding burnout, but maintaining clarity while building a business.

Yesterday we talked about taking 100% responsibility for your life. Today is step two – deciding what you want.

In a commencement speech, Denzel Washington said, “You only live once, so do what you feel passionate about. Take chances. Don’t be afraid to fail.”

I made the leap into entrepreneurship when I was 23 because I had a computer instructor who told me, “You know, Rob, I missed the first year-and-a-half of my daughter’s life.” That struck me so much that I said, well, that’s definitely not what I want.

So what do I want?

What I want is to be able to have a life where I can spend as much time as I like with my children. For me, that path was entrepreneurship.

When I started my second business, Atlantic Dominion Solutions, a web development firm, I wanted to build the type of company that people wanted to work for, that they had a great time at. I really valued the people that worked there.

Each of these times I decided what it was that I really wanted.

So, how do you know what you want? That’s a great question!

I find a lot of people, as they’ve gone through life and gathered experiences, cover over what the experience is with other people’s stories, taking on the beliefs and stories of other people. And what you wanted all along gets covered over by all of this other crap. And so our job is to then remove all of this stuff to get to the heart of it, our heart, our awesome core, to figure out what it is that we really want.

So how do you do that?

There are a couple of exercises I suggest.

Technique #1: Irritations and Tolerations List

If you are really having a hard time with this and coming up with what it is you want, start with what you don’t want. A technique to do this is creating an Irritations and Tolerations list. What is it that irritates you, and that you are tolerating in your life? And then pick the opposite. So what you want is obviously not that, because it’s annoying. So pick the opposite.

Technique #2: 101 Goals List

Another technique for this is called the 101 Goals List. Take a piece of paper, Evernote, or whatever, and start writing out your goals. Write 101 of them. That can be very challenging. I can say for myself, I’ve gotten to about 50-something with my goals, not yet at 101, but as I continue to think of stuff I want to do and have and experience in my life, I will add to that list.

Technique #3: The “I Want” List

Something I have a lot of my coaching clients do is create an “I Want” list. Just start writing a list of what it is you want. You might start with the things that people would call superficial, like, “I want a nice house. “I want a car.” Maybe a specific kind of car. “I want a specific yearly income.” Or maybe a specific monthly income if you’re an entrepreneur and you look at your finances month to month. “I want a specific monthly income, “I want this, this, this, and I just want these things.”

Take yourself out of the space of judgment about oh my god, what will other people think? You do not have to share this with anyone else. Just start writing down what it is you want.

Technique #4: The Three Most Important Questions

The final technique I’ll share with you is something I learned from Vishen Lakhiani, the founder of Mindvalley, an excellent company. He has something called the three most important questions. He asks these questions of every employee that comes on, they write them out, and then put them up on a board with their picture. In this way, everyone gets to know who everyone is, and what is really important to them.

The three questions are this:

  1. What do you want to experience in life?
  2. How do you want to grow and develop yourself?
  3. How do you want to contribute to the world?

If you’re doing this at home, or you’re at work and you’re going to do this, give yourself 90 seconds to answer each one of these questions. Only give yourself 90 seconds, because after 90 seconds, your thinking brain will kick in. What your gut is telling you, the first thing that comes to mind, is the right answer to the question. So don’t give your head enough time to start monkeying with you, and to say, “Oh no, you can’t have that.” Or, “You can’t experience that.” Or, “You will never be that type of person.”

Don’t give your mind that time to do that. Don’t give it a space in which to do that. Just give yourself 90 seconds to answer each of the questions. Set a timer on your phone and answer the questions.

That’s Today’s Tip

So tip two of avoiding burnout and maintaining clarity while building a business is deciding what you want. Clear away the stuff and get to the heart of what you really want in life, business, relationships, whatever aspect at this point is most important to you.

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