But then she slumped back in her chair. Her energy suddenly changed, and there was a silence. I waited. “The only problem is I feel a bit down about it, and I can’t understand it. I’ve got what I said I wanted, the money is flowing in, my time is booked up for the next month or so, so why do I feel a bit deflated?”
Why indeed? You’d think deflation would be the last thing she’d be experiencing. But I’ve found that if people are not clear about what the thing they want is going to bring them, then when they achieve their goals, while there may be a momentary burst of pleasure and a sense of achievement, this often doesn’t last, and it takes only a short while before it becomes a bit meaningless and they’re onto the next goal.
If you recognize this, then complete the chart below. Ask yourself the question: What do I want in my business? If you’re drawing a blank, then fill in the following sentence: ‘If only I had ________, then everything would be all right”.
The left hand column is labelled “symbols” to represent the things people often focus on in their business. Complete the chart on the left hand side with some of the things you know you want. Tell the truth – which might not be what you think it is! Notice what you focus on most in your life, those things you say you want or want more of, and put them in the left hand column. I’ve put some examples in already.
To be known as an expert in my field|
Admin help/more staff|
Opportunity to travel|
More free time|
A best-selling book|
A waiting list of clients|
Having got your list, spend a little time reflecting on the question, “what experience am I looking for?”, ie if I only had lots more clients, a best-selling book, bigger house, etc, what would I then be experiencing?”
For instance, most people with whom I’ve worked have said they want more money. They usually know what they want to do with that money, too. “It’ll enable me to move house, pay off my loan, develop the business etc”. But if I ask them to think again, and ponder the experience they think having more money would give them, different answers emerge.
“If I had more money, then that would. . .make me feel safe and secure; bring me peace of mind; give me a sense of power or accomplishment; bring a sense of ease into my day; make me feel satisfied I was doing what I said I wanted to do” and so on.
So now go to the right hand side of the chart, and complete it, asking yourself, “What experience do I think these things will give me?” Words that you might discover will pop up could be freedom, success, fun, happiness, joy, ease, relaxation, security, stimulation, love.
The reason this is important to think about before you move wholeheartedly into focusing on your goals is because if you’re not clear about the experience you want, then it’s just too easy to get the ‘thing’ you said you wanted, but miss out on the ‘experience’ that you thought the thing would bring you.
Hence the numerous people in the business world who are very wealthy but who don’t have the experiences that you would think money would bring. Howard Hughes is a classic example of someone who had lots of cash but not much freedom, security or peace of mind.
The client above thought she wanted lots more clients, and the money they would bring, but hadn’t fully understood the impact this would have – because she hadn’t taken the time to realize she was focusing solely on the symbols of what she wanted.
It’s possible of course to have plenty of the experiential side of this, ie the freedom, security, and peace of mind but not much money – Mother Teresa comes to mind here.
But if you’re in business, probably you want both! And it is possible, but not by focusing on the ‘thing’ you want. Rather choose to admit to yourself the real reason you want the ‘thing’ and focus on that instead. Easier said than done, maybe, but it does work. Just bear in mind the following:
We never want anything for any reason other than how we think we’ll feel when we get it.
Imagine that if you thought that having more money, or a best-selling book, or more clients would bring you stress, curtailment of freedom, pressures, anxiety and panic attacks? You wouldn’t want those things then, would you?
So how do you produce that which you really want?
Choose to focus your thoughts, your feelings and your actions on the experience that you want. Sounds simple, and like much of this inner way of working, it is – but not necessarily easy to put into consistent practice. For example, say you’ve identified you want more money, and you think that will bring you a sense of ease, of lightheartedness, relaxation and hope. Choose to keep your thoughts ones of ease, lightheartedness, relaxation, and hope. Let yourself do things that bring these experiences into your life. Invite in feelings of ease and hope.
I’ve found that when I focus on the symbols on the left hand side of the chart that the things in themselves don’t necessarily produce the experiences I wanted, just like the client at the beginning of this article. When I’ve focused on more money, it hasn’t made me more secure or free. But focusing on producing freedom and a sense of security despite money challenges has made it much easier to be creative in terms of material wealth, not to mention that I get to have what I said I wanted right now in the moment!
So being clear about what you really want is a vital first step in creating it. Then your task is to keep yourself focused on this. And I’ll look at that in next week’s article!