How to get clear on what you REALLY want

A common obstacle when deciding on a new career direction (by choice or by circumstance) is not being clear about what you REALLY want.


Most of us can articulate what we don’t want:


What we’re not ready to put up with any more.

What we’re no longer willing to tolerate.

The kind of people that we don’t want to surround ourselves with.

The nature of stress we’ve grown tired of and no longer want to have as part of our lives.


In our fast paced lives, with multiple opportunities that present themselves – it’s easy to get caught up in the latest fad / approach or something that sounds interesting but could be a waste of time and energy investment if you’re not clear on the outcomes you’re working towards.

I recently attended a workshop that sold itself on becoming a better speaker. Given I want to pursue this more actively as part of my work – it felt like a good time investment.


The workshop was quite different to the expectations the advert created, and whilst there was merit in parts of the day – I found most of it way off the track I would want to follow.


Two scenarios in particular reminded me about the power of having personal clarity:


Part of the day’s pitch was to share a stage with Al Pacino to build your personal brand. Now whilst I think Pacino is a great actor – I doubt one photo with him will instantly rockstar or mega-launch my coaching brand. Any sensible person can see through that as gimmicky marketing.


The second scenario was the team sharing how much they travel as a result of their speaking gigs – an average of 42 cities in 6 months. I love exploring new places and I have lists of places and things I want to do. However, 42 cities in that period of time sounds like a lot of 1Above, jetlag and overwhelm for me.


When we’re reviewing and considering how to shape our careers to gain more purpose and meaning from them – experiments are a vital aspect of “testing the water” before committing.


You’ll have your own examples for what may have sounded like a great idea on the outset – but when you dig into – you realise it’s not fit with your definition of success and what you want to create for yourself.


To get clear on your definition of success, use these tips I share with my clients:


  • Start with free writing what “career success” looks like for you. Not typing into a laptop! Handwriting is a complex, cognitive process and forces our brains to slow down and consider the big picture as we direct the pen’s movement with thought.
  • Don’t judge the thoughts that come up – free writing is about letting whatever is in your mind tumble out and viewing that without censorship.
  • Dig under the initial obvious factors that will come up – ie – a decent paycheck to buy the car / house, a title for status etc. This may take some time as we need to get past our societal and cultural conditioning of what other’s version of success vs your own
  • Look at your writing and circle what lights you up vs what feels heavy, tiring or draining. You’ve got it – we’re going to focus on the light!
  • Think about people you know or job roles that have elements of the aspects that light you up. Reach out to them for a phone call or a coffee to ask them about their roles, how their career has shaped and match that back to your version of success


Give yourself full permission to play with this!


When we approach this from the view of ‘play and experiment’, it feels less like potential ‘failure’ as you’re discovering what are the anchors and non-negotiables you WANT to have more of in your career.


I’d love to hear what this opened up for you. If you’d like support to shift your career closer to your definition of success, book a free call with me here and we’ll explore how to get you started!



ShareShare on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Pin on PinterestShare on LinkedIn