There’s that saying out there which I’m sure you’ve heard:
If you don’t know where you’re going, you’re going to end up somewhere else.
This quote has a few different incarnations, and yet the point is the same in all of them:
Know what you want.
We’ve talked about this before. And the subject can be challenging because how are we to find out what it is that we want?
How to be sure?
Are you tired of saying: I don’t know?
I’m not here to tell you this is easy. What I will tell you is that there is a process that will lead you to new answers, if you choose to follow it.
The process begins with asking yourself these three questions, originally shared by James Clear in a blog post from way back in 2012:
What type of person do you want to become?
I remember having a conversation at work some years ago about a leader in our organization, and remarking that he was the type of person I expected to have his clothes laid out the night before. He is always dressed neatly and professionally, and his wardrobe items harmonize across the days of the week. I noticed this, and it caused me to believe that he is a very organized and thoughtful person who likely has a system to his shopping and dressing. What type of person did that make him in my mind? Organized, methodical, professional.
How does the way you present yourself come across?
What kind of person do you know yourself to be and how would you like that to show up to the rest of the world?
Can you see the power in how this question is worded?
What type of person do you want to become.
It’s about your identity. James Clear refers to this as the bullseye method. Going after what’s really, specifically important, which is who you choose to be.
What type of values do you want to stand for?
Again this is about your identity. Who are you? Do you stand for honesty? Integrity? Kindness? We all want to think and say that we do, yet how often do we evaluate ourselves on these things and incorporate them into our world?
(Did you notice that the word value is embedded in the word evaluate?)
If the people around you were to receive an anonymous poll asking what values they believe you stand for, what do you suspect they would answer? How are you showing up to the others in your world?
Have you asked them?
What actions do you want to become your habits?
This question is excellent because it doesn’t directly force you to choose a specific profession, course of study, or who you’re going to marry. Yet the answers to this question will lead you to the answers of subsequent and more specific inquiries. (And conveniently, back to the question of what type of person you want to become.)
Do you want to be in the habit of keeping your word to others?
Do you want to be in the habit of exercising regularly?
Do you want to be in the habit of complimenting others daily?
Do you want to be in the habit of checking your phone 52 times per day?
Do you want to be in the habit of staying up late and going to work fatigued?
Do you want to be in the habit of talking more than inquiring and listening?
Our habits are a living illustration of our values and the foundation of the person we become.
Once you decide what type of person you want to be, and what values you choose to stand for, the way to making that happen is through your habits.
Bonus question: What have you always wanted for yourself?
Think back to different points in your life: childhood, adolescence, young adulthood. What themes do you discover? What did you want to be, do and have at these various points in time?
We all change over the years, and yet there are also parts of us which deepen and become more true over time. For me, one example has been writing.
What’s one example for you?
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