Having what you want is hard work. And the more you want, the more work you’re going to have to put in. We know this, of course (I hope). We know that giving a minimum effort, or not changing our poor habits, or letting ourselves of the hook with our commitments does not bring us what we want. Think about all the things you’ve said you wanted over the past few years? Do you have them? If the answer is no, I would challenge you to understand that it’s not because it’s not meant for you to have those things. It is most likely because all you have done is wanted them. You may have tossed around in your head a few ideas as to how you were going to achieve them. But you were never really willing to commit yourself to the actual hard work it was going to take.
I’m no exception. There have been plenty of things in my life that I have talked about wanting – wanting to do, wanting to have, or wanting to achieve. But I can admit with a bit of reticence that, in the past, it has been on too rare occasion that I was actually able to manifest what I truly wanted. Especially if having what I wanted required me to do something I strongly disliked doing, like getting up early in the morning (I still struggle mightily with this one), or having to give up something I liked a great deal, like margaritas and cheeseburgers (again, a struggle). I was wanting, but I was not willing. These days, I won’t even talk about wanting anything unless I think long and hard about whether or not I’m really willing to do what it takes to have it.
It is the nature of my business that I listen to women talk about wanting to change their circumstances. It is also the nature of my business that I empower women to believe that they can have anything they want. Unfortunately, there are so many women wanting all types of things who, when they step out into the world, seem unwilling do whatever it takes to have what they want. There are women working at jobs that make them unhappy. They want to leave to do something more fulfilling, but when it comes right down to it they’re not willing to make a move. Some women are overweight and struggling with their health. They want to prolong their lives, but when it comes right down to it they’re not willing to change their habits. Some women are in unhealthy relationships and being treated poorly. They want a chance to possibly find and experience true love with someone else, but they’re not willing to leave. And there are women who have all kinds of dreams they want to achieve, that they believe will change their lives for the better. But when it comes right down to it they’re not willing to take any risks. And these are just a few examples. Does any of this sound familiar to you?
Look, I know being willing is not always as easy as it sounds. Changing habits, taking risks, giving things up, having faith in things unseen, albeit necessary to achieve your goals, is not easy. We’re comfortable doing things the way we’ve always done them, being with whom we’ve always been with, and conducting our lives the way we’ve always conducted them, even if what we’re doing is not taking our lives in the direction we want them to go. And, believe it or not, even though the lure of our desires is sometimes disconcerting there is something safe, and comfortable, and predictable about not putting ourselves out there, not changing, not taking risks – being able to look at our dreams through the window without ever having to actually walk through the door toward them, that we actually crave. To think about what it would actually take to achieve our goals, and to ask ourselves if we’re willing to go there, is not easy. I get it and am not trying make light of anything by saying we’re not willing to change. But what I want you to understand is that being willing is not always about doing it quickly, and it’s not always about doing it on your own. Sometimes being willing to do whatever it takes means understanding your aversion to risk, and making a plan that you feel comfortable carrying out at your own pace. And sometimes being willing to do whatever it takes means knowing you cannot do it on your own, and being willing to get the help and support you need. Whether it’s a career coach that helps you craft an exit strategy, enlisting friends or Weight Watchers to help you lose weight, hiring a coach or counselor to help you build up your self esteem, or purchasing a book that helps you understand how to achieve your dreams, help can come in many forms once you accept that you need it.
You may think it’s harmless to continually talk about what you want while never actually being willing to do whatever it takes to reach the goal you put out there for yourself. You may think it’s harmless to have a dream that just stays out there unpursued. But it isn’t. Have you ever noticed that the longer you talk about wanting something that you don’t put the necessary effort toward, the more difficult it seems to actually attain it, or the further away you seem to get from that actual goal? Let me ask you something; if someone cries wolf over and over again, how likely are you to continue to believe them? This is the same thing that happens when we continually break commitments to ourselves by talking about what we want without ever putting forth the necessary effort to have it. After not being willing to do whatever it takes to achieve the goal we’re going after, time and time again, we’re less likely to believe ourselves. It’s hard to be fired up and willing when you don’t even believe yourself. Thus, not only is it more difficult to go after what you want, but you’re even less likely to put forth the necessary effort because you don’t believe yourself.
I want to leave you with this thought: Wanting is a toxic state. It is state of feeling incomplete, dissatisfied, and powerless. It is a constant state of feeling as though you are not doing enough, and of knowing you could be and should be doing more. It is a state of knowing that something else, or someone else, or someplace else, would make you happier and more fulfilled. Wanting, especially without being willing, is like being stuck in quicksand, sinking and unable to pull yourself out as you drift deeper and deeper into a life of playing it safe, keeping the status quo, and living a life less than what your gifts and capabilities dictate. And this state can lead to hopelessness, helplessness, and ultimately disappointment and regret. Yet, wanting is an unnecessary end state. We choose to spend our lives wanting by choosing to be unwilling. But you can change the end-state whenever you want to. At any moment you can choose to be willing.
There is something about life that makes it an amazing journey for those who can tap into the universal truth that ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE! You can be, do, have, and create anything you want, as soon as you are willing to do whatever it takes. When you stop wanting, and become willing, the floodgates will open and waves of opportunity and support will come your way. When you stop settling for what is immediate and hunker down for the haul, you will find a life awaiting you that is beyond your wildest dreams!
Coach Kathy Wilson