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  • Writer's pictureDavid Stamation

The First Step Toward Identifying Your Wants and Desires

A client of mine was developing a 5-Year Plan and sought my assistance. I devised weekly questions and writing exercises tailored to her profile. These exercises spanned 5-6 weeks, aiming to identify crucial aspects in her plan.


However, her planning momentum slowed midway through the process. Upon revisiting the endeavor, we delved into the reasons behind her pause. To pinpoint the underlying issue, I posed three questions.


  • Are you hesitant to commit due to fear of failure?

  • Do you doubt your ability to attain it? Is it because you feel undeserving?

  • Are you uncertain about your wants? Do you struggle to articulate what you truly want?



She promptly responded; I don’t know what I want. Now we had a starting point for deeper exploration. It's difficult to create a plan without clarity on your desires. And if you do proceed without naming what you want, then it's likely a plan crafted to please others (social conformity) rather than yourself. The key is to develop a plan rooted in your heart and intuition. This is where winning plans come from.


In my 7+ years of coaching clients, I've found that knowing what we want is one of the toughest questions to answer. It becomes doubly challenging when we remove material possessions from the equation. When we strip away the desire for cars, boats, and luxury homes, we're left with deeper aspirations related to health, wellness, and relationships. This shift in perspective forces us to consider what truly matters beyond material wealth and status symbols.


Coaching Tip

Begin by creating a comprehensive list of everything you don't want. Let your imagination run wild and don't hold back. For example: I don’t want to die young. I don’t want to be alone. I don’t want to work excessively hard.


Keep going until you've exhausted all the negative aspects you wish to avoid. This list serves as a starting point for identifying what you truly desire. Read this earlier blog on additional tools to get clear on what you want.



Got the List, Now What?

Now, it's time to transform each item on your list into positive I want... statements. This process requires patience and persistence. For instance:


I don’t want to die young can become "I want to prioritize my health so that I can enjoy a long life with my spouse and children.”

I don’t want to be alone can transform into "I want to strengthen my relationships with my children.”


By reframing your negative statements into positive desires, you can outline actionable steps to achieve the life you truly want.


Your List

Allocate 15 minutes this week to compile a list of everything you don't want in your life. Let yourself freely express these desires without reservation. Once you have your list, invest time in converting each item into what you do want instead. Some will come easily, while others may feel scary or uncomfortable – this is normal. This exercise serves as a crucial step in gaining clarity on your desires and goals, paving the way for meaningful progress.


The Power of Executive Coaching

In my coaching practice, this series of exercises has been employed with both Executive and Personal coaching, yielding equally powerful results. If there's a specific outcome you've been aiming for but have struggled to initiate or accomplish, coaching might be the missing piece. Executive Life Coaching accelerates the way to achieving your goals. If not now, when? remains one of my favorite bumper stickers ever.

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