How to Know What You Really Want in Your Business

My new client was pouring her heart out to me. Her eyes were shining as she described how she had achieved the goal she had set herself. “I wanted ten more client hours in my week, consistently filled, and look, here’s my appointment book!” She showed me a week in her diary, with all her appointments slots filled.

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.

[table width_col_1=”60%”]


To be known as an expert in my field|

More money|

Bigger house|

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!

12 thoughts on “How to Know What You Really Want in Your Business

  1. I enjoyed doing this exercise, it made me think a little out side the box. I came up with FREEDOM
    LOVE – to others in need.

    Look forward to next month.
    X Teresa

    • Wonderful Teresa. It puts quite another perspective on it all, doesn’t it? Thanks for sharing your qualities with us

  2. Once again Jane,thanks for a great article.
    For me it’s a new way to look at John Dimartini’s approach to values and how we find ways of fulfilling our values but not necessarily in a way we recognise. I’ve used this with some clients to help them see how their current behaviour fulfills these values on one level but also conflicts with them at the same time. I like very much your way of thinking about it and setting it out.
    I look forward to your next post.

    • Thanks Jane – this article was inspired by reading something else ages ago, and I remembered how valuable it had been to me. Lovely that you’re sharing it with your clients too, lucky them!

  3. I found this EXTREMELY helpful. I am just about to begin again, creating a new project out of a totally free space and keen to avoid the pitfalls of the past where I have created many experiences I did not want – eg lousy bosses, moaning co-workers, difficult clients, stress and anxiety, no sense of time for myself, heaps of admin and accounts to do but insufficient income, no support. I am really clear that I am NOW much more focussed on the vlaues that matter to me and the qualities I want in my life than I am about creating specific outcomes.

    • Fantastic Judith. I hope the new project, born from a different place, will bring you much more of what you really do want. Great news!

  4. A good exercise, Jane, thanks. Full on between wee grand-daiughter and ailing aged mother at present, so can’t really apply it, but will keep for future reference!

  5. ‘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?’ – I laughed out loud when I read this, and had to read it again. It’s so self-evident, yet so overlooked! Thank you for reminding me about this Jane. Food for thought –
    Rose x

  6. Great timing Jane as I’m asking myself exactly this kind of question at the moment.
    I’m also excited to see how I can read the same article very differently on separate occasions. It’s all cyclical isn’t it?

  7. Jane what good timing as I feel like <i am starting over again as recently moved to set up a retreat centre still here in Spain working alongside my coaching practice and been reflecting on what it is I desire. A shift has happend for me tonight, and its helped me have that light bulb moment on focusing on end result of how it is <i want to feel and live my life. in much appreciation for spelling this out – I have greatly benefitted, my gratitude Maggie

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