The very first skills lab where I was coached by a fellow student, one of the go-to questions we always ask is “what would having that do for you?” It’s usually in response to a discussion about a goal you have, a want, a desire that you’re trying to fulfill.
What would having that do for you?
It’s a funny question, because I think many of us could answer it once.
When I was in my mid-twenties, I wanted to lose weight, and I did. I lost 70 lbs. If you asked me as I was losing weight what weight loss would do for me, my honest hope was probably that it would mean I could shop at normal stores, that I could be less worried about chairs breaking or that I might finally get a boyfriend.
So what would having those things do for me?
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I don’t think I was conscious of the time of what was hiding a few layers below. If you’d prodded at me a few more times with that question, I might finally have gotten to the root of it. I’d have felt more confident. I’d have felt that it was okay to like myself… maybe even love myself, though that felt like a stretch in my early twenties. I’d have said that it would make me feel deserving of someone else’s love.
So what did my epic weight loss really boil down to? My desperate need for love, both from myself and from a significant other.
Usually, if you peel back the layers of our goals, what we really want is not a ‘thing’ as such, but it’s a feeling that we’re desperately craving, even if we don’t recognize it on the surface.
Wanting that promotion? Maybe you’re craving recognition or financial stability. Lusting after that three bedroom home? Maybe you’re after a sense of normalcy and security you may not have had growing up. Eager to start your own business? Perhaps you desperately desire control over your own life.
You see how it’s not actually the thing? It’s not the promotion, the house, the weight loss, the business… it’s the feeling that having that will give to us.
So why is it important to know what the root of our goal is? Can it not just be enough to know what the surface level goal is, to achieve that and call it a day? Maybe… for some people. But for most of us, we all have a list of things we want. Things that we have self-identified as important to us. It’s not until you peel back the layers, though, that you realize the level of importance each of those goals has for you.
My coach recently had me write my top three goals. The former-Victoria, the pre-coaching training and experience Victoria, would have guessed that a certain one would have floated to the top. I mean, it’s been on my list of goals longer than any of the other items. And yet… and yet it wasn’t the one that held the most intensity in terms of those deeper layers.
I wasn’t craving that feeling as deeply, as viscerally as I was craving the feeling of making a difference, of that natural high. My top goal, at this point of time, is to launch my coaching business. I’m almost certified, then by the end of my maternity leave I hope to launch my coaching business part time in addition to my current job. I want to get my feet wet, build my skills, then maybe one day it’ll become my full time gig.
Nine times out of ten, when I finish a session with my practice clients, I end on a natural high. I could have gone into the session feeling grumpy and unwell (I am six months pregnant, after all), but I end those sessions feeling energized, full of vitality and fulfilled in a way that I haven’t experienced for a long time. That’s the feeling that I crave. Like an addict, I want more of it.
The other goals, they’re great, and I’ll achieve them in due course, but they aren’t calling to my innate being the way that launching this business is.
So I ask you, what are your top goals? If you were to write down a list of goals for yourself, accomplishments that you want to achieve, which three work their way to the top of that list? And then, when you identify those three… which feels the most pressing? Ask yourself what having that thing, that goal, that accomplishment will do for you? Verbalize your answer, even if it’s aloud to yourself. Then ask that question again, and again, and again, until you get to the core of that goal.
Human beings have strong emotions for a reason. Use that emotion that you’re craving to drive you, to drive change, to drive action. It needs to be strong enough, passionate enough, important enough that you’re willing to put one foot in front of the other and take the steps necessary to get what you want.
The path isn’t easy and at times it can be covered in shards of glass, but if you’re crystal clear on the emotion that you want to feel, it will help you to put one bloody foot in front of the other.