What do you want? This is often a question that is more easily asked than answered.
If you are like most people, you know what you don’t want, more than what you do want. When an individual or team is first asked this question in our workshops, it is not unusual to get a “deer in the headlights” look—there’s an empty stare. Why? Because our problem-focused world, and problem-focused minds, are skilled at focusing on what we don’t want and don’t like.
This just may be the most important question you will ever ask yourself, another person, or a team. Answering it activates the shift from a Problem to an Outcome Orientation.
When entrenched in the problem-focused Victim Orientation, it is common to look at what you don’t like because they are “problems” you are facing. This keeps you entrenched in the Dreaded Drama Triangle (DDT) as you feel like a Victim to the problem(s).
Equally true, if you focus on all that is wrong in your life, anxious and heavy feelings emerge, which drains your creative time and energy. If, however, you focus on what you really want, positive emotions will arise. It is positive emotions that give you energy to take one Baby Step at a time and begin manifesting what you want in your life and work.
Asking yourself, “What do I want?” as you reflect on your relationships with co-workers, work projects, and your family will help you practice asking it of yourself when facing the larger questions in life. This all-important “shift” helps you move toward the Creator role that is foundational to TED* (* The Empowerment Dynamic)®.
This is also an important question to ask others, individually or as a group (i.e., “What do you want?” or “What do we want?”).
Many people answer that what they want is to just have the problem go away. They will engage in various reactive behaviors, be they “fight, flight, freeze, or appease.” But here’s the thing: wanting the problem to go away is still focusing on what you don’t want!
An “I want” statement includes what you care about, is aspirational, and omits any reference to what you don’t want (your complaint). Answering it in outcome-oriented language taps into your passion—the Inner State of the Creator Orientation.
Additional questions such as “What do I care about?” or “What is important to me?” also support your Creator mindset. It may take time to identify, clarify, and practice speaking to outcomes and what you want. It can feel unfamiliar, even awkward. With practice it becomes a transformational way to live.
Here are some questions to ask yourself in order to shift from a problem focus to what you really want:
- “If the problem that is currently staring me in the face was suddenly solved, what would it allow me to do, be, or have?”
- “What would I want to do, be, or have if I knew I could not fail?”
- “If I had my desired outcome, how would I know it? What would it look like, what would I say, see, or feel? What would I hear others say?”
- “If what I want was suddenly to manifest, would I take it? Would I say ‘yes!’?”
It is an incredible experience to go inside yourself and say “yes!” to what you want. When you are able to answer the question, “What do I want?” you will be living more consistently as a Creator focused on outcomes that have heart and meaning for your life and work.
Next week we will continue with this powerful question and offer samples of how a dialogue may sound when in conversation with others.