Often we have dreams of success without understanding the motivation behind those dreams; we don’t know why we want them because they’re often not our own dreams. Rather, they’re success-goals we have created as a result of being conditioned to think we should want what we’ve been taught to want.
For example, in many entrepreneurial circles, breaking 6 figures is a major dream — a success landmark. This is why a lot of marketing focuses on that dream, preying on people with lines like, “I’ll teach you how to earn 6 figures in 6 months.” (which is total BS)
And if you’re reading this thinking, “I’m an entrepreneur and I want 6 figures,” then my question to you is: Do you even know why you want it?
Do you want it because you hear about it so often that it feels like what you should want, or is there a precise reason for it? And what exactly does it look like to have 6-figures?
Often we want things and we don’t know why we want them.
Here’s another example:
You’re in a yoga pose, let’s say butterfly pose: you’re sitting on the ground with the soles of your feet together, hinging forward from the hips, bringing your forehead towards the ground. You force and push and so badly want to get your forehead to touch the ground — yet you don’t even know why you want it.
That example I first heard from one of my favourite teachers, Bryan Kest, of Power Yoga in Santa Monica California. And it’s a brilliant metaphor for life:
Because we’re forcing and hurting ourselves trying to achieve some landmark, and we don’t even know why we want it.
And the thing is: we won’t be any healthier or happier by getting our forehead to the ground. I mean, sure, if it happens, we may have a moment of ego-happiness that we achieved it, but that moment is quickly lost, and worse — we’ll feel deflated when we realize that we went through all that, and we’re not any happier.
And then we get confronted with the question: what do we want? And what will bring us happiness?
So often we want things without ever considering the motivation behind those desires.
So here’s what I recommend:
Get a clear picture of what it means to you if you did land 6-figures in income or accomplished some physical goal. Go beyond the surface and get clear on what you really want and why.
Let’s take the 6 figure example:
Does 6-figures represent more freedom or less stress? Does it mean that your business is in a stable position or that you get to live in your dream home?
For example, you might be striving for a dream home in a snazzy neighbourhood, but do you know why you want that?
Do you want it to prove to others that you’ve “made it,” or is there something about that environment that makes you feel good on the inside/on a soul level?
As you can see — this game of getting clear on what you want and why, can go through several layers as you move towards deeper clarity.
Here’s an example:
- Random Goal: “I want 6 figures”
- More Specific Goal: “I want it so I can have a dream home and take a nice vacation”
- Deeper Goal: “That dream home makes me feel connected and helps me create my best work. And being able to take vacations helps revive my spirit”
- Deeper Understanding: “Well, I’m starting to see that I feel just as connected living in the nearby town where houses are half the price. I guess I’m seeing that what I really want is to be able to afford a home where I feel connected and peaceful so that I can create in peace and do work I enjoy”
- A New Perspective: “I guess my goal has nothing to do with 6-figures after all…”
The power of this game is it helps give you clarity about what you really want.
Let’s turn this all upside down for a moment:
When was the last time you felt amazing? Where no matter how much money was in your bank account or how fit you were, you were satisfied and happy? It’s a feeling of completeness that comes from the inside and nothing on the outside could disrupt it.
I’ll give an example from my own life: When I’m out in nature, there have been many times when I stopped dead in my tracks flooded with gratitude and the empowering knowledge that, “If I had a million dollars, nothing would change right now. I wouldn’t be wearing anything different, I wouldn’t be feeling or thinking anything different.”
Those are the moments of ultimate success – the moments that highlight for us what we really want, and show us what it means to live our dream life from the inside right now.
Think about what you want from the inside, how you want to feel, what it means to you to have something, and from there — work outwards.
Eckhart Tolle really puts it nicely: “If you get the inside right, the outside will fall into place”
And that’s what it’s all about. Instead of running after the 6 figures or the full expression of a yoga pose, think about what you actually want and why you want it.
Often what you’ll come to see is that anything that’s missing can become complete by working on the inside first.
So if you think you want 6 figures so that you can have a stable business and live in a nice home where you can feel free and peaceful — focus on feeling free and peaceful. From there what you really want will become evident.
Because a change in external circumstance doesn’t always fix things – as Biggie taught, “The more money we come across the more problems we see.” Not that that is necessarily true, but it can become true if you don’t get the inside right.
Many people with 6-figure+ incomes have more stress and less freedom than someone living off 15K a year (and if your jaw dropped thinking that’s way below the poverty line by North American standards, read this for inspiration.
In any case, if you only focus on the outside without taking the time to get clear and understand why you want what you want, you can end up getting yourself in a worse mess than you started with.
Instead of chasing things blindly, chase with purpose.
Understand why you want what you want from the inside, then take conscious action to help the outside result unfold.
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