February 22, 2023
min read

You Already Know What You Want.

2 Questions To Help You Put It Into Words

I once knew a girl who was always jumping from one goal to another. When she was in high school she wanted to be a politician, then a historian, then a mathematician. In university, she wanted to be an actuary, then a writer, then a UI/UX designer. Now she wants to be a marketer.

She never settled on one idea for long. It seemed like she changed career aspirations 5 times a year.

That girl was me.

Looking from the outside, it all seems ridiculous. It seemed like I had no idea what I was doing or where I was going. My parents were worried I would spend my life jumping from one thing to another, but never settling on anything.

But from the inside, each step felt closer to where I wanted to go. I had a clear vision of what I wanted my life and my work to be like. I just had to find the career that would give it to me. From the inside, it didn’t feel like I was jumping from one thing to another, it felt like I was jumping closer to where I should be. But I could never articulate it. I could never put into words exactly what I was looking for from my work and my life… I just felt something was right or wrong.

Sometimes we really just can’t figure out what we want. But other times, arguably most times, we know what we want deep down. We just can’t put it into words.

These two questions have helped me do just that:

What does your life look like in 5 years?

We all have some kind of image of what our lives look like in 5 years that we can’t slap a simple label on. It can’t be boiled down to just “rich” or “have a family”. It’s more complex and detailed than that. Get down to the nitty gritty details.

What kind of environment do you wake up to? Is it a nice penthouse suite you live alone in or a suburban home with screaming kids? Is it on the plane on the way to your next meeting or in a bungalow in South America?

Who do you spend your time with? Is it your business partner, your spouse or your friends? How much time do you spend with your parents? Or are you alone in a foreign country meeting strangers?

How much money do you have? What do you spend most of your money on?

Where do you live and what kind of food do you eat? Describe what a typical day would look like and the plans you would have in a year.

We all have a vision of what our life will look like in 5 years and all we’re doing right now is trying to turn that vision into reality. Putting it into words and describing it in detail helps us figure out what opportunities and choices will best help us do just that.

If I gave you $1 million right now, what would you do with it?

The last question helped you put what you want into words. This question is all about helping you put what you want into action. Your answer will help determine what you should be putting your time, money, and energy into.

Would you use it to pay off your debt? Then you know deep down, your debt is holding you back from pursuing other opportunities. You need to free yourself of it so you can move to the next stage in your life. It also tells you that you should be doing all you can right now to pay it off whether it’s by working two jobs or cutting your spending.

Would you use it to buy a house and settle down? Maybe you want a family and you’re tired of the jet-setting life. You’re ready for the next stage of your life and that tells you that you should be spending your time and your money to get you there. That might mean changing the people you spend time with, saving money to support your new family, or taking less risky opportunities so you’ll have stability.

Would you use it to buy a round-the-world ticket and spend it all in a year of travel? Then you know you want, no need, to explore. You’re not going to be content staying where you are now and doing what you’ve been doing all along. You’re looking for change and adventure. So find a way to make that happen. Work remotely or quit your job if you can. Negotiate more travel time or find a way to work as you go.

Would you invest it into taking courses at a local university? Self-growth is your priority right now then. It tells you that you’re still looking for answers and still hungry to know more. Then spend your time and your money on learning whether it’s by borrowing books from the library, taking online courses, or starting a semester at a university. All your energy should be focused on building more skills and learning new things.

We all, deep down, know what we want. It’s just a matter of putting it into words, then into action.


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