Personal Growth 101–Know What You Want

Photo by Josh Levin

Photo by Josh Levin

This is going to seem like a no brainer, but it’s amazing to me how many guys out there have no idea what they want. What about you?

If someone asks you “What do you really want?” What is your response?

In the first session I always ask the men I coach “What do you want?”  Typically they think they know. After they describe it to me, I reflect back this fuzzy, vague picture back to them. They are often unclear whether it’s their short term vision or long term vision.

I ask, “Is that really your ideal?” Wow, is that all you want, seriously?

I have mentioned this in a few prior posts about finding your purpose and a recent post about lasting change.

So here is a simple technique to help you get very, very clear (I go into more detail in coaching someone).

The basic flow is this…

Screen shot 2010-01-15 at 1.42.24 PMStep 1. Identify where you are. Hard to know what is next when you don’t even know who you are or where you are. Get your “self-knowledge” on.

Step 2. Get clear. The key here is to get very, very clear. The universe likes clarity. The more crystal clear you are, the more you are in touch with what you want and the more likely it is to happen.

I like to suggest a short term want list and a long term want list. In one year, I want…

In 15 years, I want…

I also suggest to do this process from a place that would have you very fulfilled and at peace internally. Don’t list “stuff” that makes your ego happy.

Step 3. Feel it and envision it. Think about waking up tomorrow morning and everything you wanted suddenly appeared. Everything. What would your day look like? What would you be doing? Where would you be working? Who else is in the picture? Wife? Kids? Close friends? A team? Or is it just you in solitude? Are you self-employed? Do you work in a community? Get as detailed as possible. Close your eyes, envision it, and feel it. Imagine having it. What does that feel like in your body? What emotional quality is there?

Step 4. Get it out. I suggest making a list of everything you want in great detail. Paint it, draw it, sing it, and even use a vision board.

Step 5. Share it. The more you “put it out there” the more likely it is to happen. Share it with close friends, your partner, or your men’s group. Get some honest feedback.

Step 6. Look at what is in the way. Not the potential road blocks that your mind creates about how impossible it will be, but the more subtle ways you will likely sabotage getting it. See diagram below…

Screen shot 2010-01-15 at 1.42.02 PMStep 7. Get help. I don’t care who you are, you will not be able to do this part alone so get some accountability and support. Blocks and Blind spots can only be uncovered through feedback from a therapist, a coach, a shaman, a psychic, or a men’s group.

Step 8. Choose. Once you are clear and once you see the map in front of you, make a decision to go for it or not. Choice = power. Otherwise, you end up like most unhappy people who let life sort of happen to them. Passive = No power.

if you do decide to go for it, make a commitment to do “whatever it takes at whatever the cost” to get there!

Make a commitment to not be a bystander to your own life. Seriously.

Rock it. It’s your life and you have only one (as far as you can tell, right?).


  • Dr Rod Berger

    Reply Reply January 15, 2010

    I enjoyed this post very much. Step 5, to me, is the most important component….so many men struggle to share due to fears of shame and inferiority.
    Dr. Rod
    [email protected]

  • Duff_McDuffee

    Reply Reply January 18, 2010

    While I don't know if the universe likes clarity or if the universe is totally indifferent to our intentions, I do know that clarifying one's outcomes is one of the most basic and underutilized thinking tools for effective personal change. “Clarity is power,” as Tony Robbins oversimplifies it.

    These steps are solid overall, with some minor room for debate. I personally recommend keeping private goals private unless you need the help of someone, or unless you have the additional goal (conscious or unconscious) of developing social power/credibility by making and keeping public promises, and by displaying your badassness in accomplishing challenging goals. This is a major reason people do triathlons, for example–so they can have bragging rights! “Dude–you did the Ironman?! Holy ****!”

    Sharing your goals with others also has multiple potential drawbacks, depending on when and how you do it. You can receive criticism when you can't integrate it yet, like exposing your seedling to a thunderstorm–best to keep it in the greenhouse until the roots are strong enough. If you fail to achieve your goal you damage your credibility and trust with others in addition to yourself. Sharing your goal is like doubling down–greater risk, greater potential reward too. Like a stage magician, the best goal-achievers only share private goals that they are extremely confident they will achieve but that look impressive to others. I don't necessarily recommend this, but I do suggest keeping the bigger risks private unless they are goals that include others' participation.

    You mentioned sharing with people you are intimate with and not say posting it on your blog or telling strangers, but I've found that all the potential drawbacks still apply.

    Step 7 isn't necessarily true. One can work through many inner blocks privately. But yes, proper support, well-timed, can be extremely helpful in discovering and dissolving obstacles to achieving one's outcomes.

    I'd also add that achievement “whatever the cost” can be deadly–as we've seen in the James Arthur Ray sweat lodge deaths. Do a careful cost-benefit analysis, account for hazards and dangers, and then proceed full-bore…patiently and persistently.

  • SpidaHunter

    Reply Reply January 19, 2010

    Thanks for some solid and easy to follow steps, regardless of where someone is, they can take this and move on it!! Awesome stuff!!

  • Jayson

    Reply Reply January 19, 2010

    Great ponts Duff. Thanks for your wisdom!

    “whatever the cost” I suppose to some folks that might mean “at the expense of others” but that is not how i intended it here.

  • simonlawry

    Reply Reply January 27, 2010

    I've been doing a lot of work on myself, and have come to realise that this has been the part of my life that has been missing for so long. I feel as it is the key to moving forward with passion. I've found Jonathon Mead's free ebook on the 7 keys to finding your passion (find at awesome, and really gave me some clarity about what it is that I want. It also gave me some clarity on what is important to me. Thanks for this Jay!

  • Owen Marcus

    Reply Reply December 4, 2010

    I was looking for an article to refer men to about getting clear on what you want. This is a good one. I agree, in my groups and with clients I always keep coming back to “what do you want?” Sometimes the big breakthrough is discovering what they really want.

  • Owen Marcus

    Reply Reply December 5, 2010

    I was looking for an article to refer men to about getting clear on what you want. This is a good one. I agree, in my groups and with clients I always keep coming back to “what do you want?” Sometimes the big breakthrough is discovering what they really want.

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