Instead of asking my clients what they want (because they don’t really know) I instead ask, “what do you enjoy?”
“Want” is a loaded question and oftentimes isn’t rooted in reality. I want my debt to go away. I want all the crap in my house to disappear and it be designed professionally. I want to be able to run and workout when I want to. I want my business to run itself without putting work into it. I want to make enough money so my husband can stay home and make me dinner every night :-p I want a lot of things. And like I said, they’re not really rooted in reality. And if I keep focusing on what I want and not getting it, I get frustrated, upset and sad pretty quickly.
Asking yourself what you want is too overwhelming because when your brain hears the word “want” it goes to certain pathways in the brain that have developed a close relationship with the word “want.” Your brain might go to these ridiculous things I just mentioned above or maybe your amazon wish list, because that memory is closely related to you list for Santa when you were a kid and thumbing through the JC penney catalog and circling all the things you want. Its rooted in the memory of seeing an ad on TV and saying, “mom I WANT that.” Which is now just seeing it on TV or the internet and buying it with your credit card. Those are the pathways that are lit up when you hear WANT. Not really constructive toward building a happy, purposeful, fulfilling life, now is it?
Now think about the word ENJOY.
Notice what happens to your body when you hear or say that work in your head. Where does it go?
My body relaxes a little when I hear that word. It also immediately goes to the outdoors. A sunrise, the woods, sky, clouds, trees, green…. It goes to people and laughing and fun social situations…. I notice a half smile (for all your DBT nerds out there) on my face. I feel a sense of calm energy in my body with slight anticipation and delight.
Wow, what a different experience than the word want. Weird.
Like I said, it’s because those two words have different associations in our brain going all the way back to childhood.
So I want to share this “secret” with you.
Instead of asking yourself what you want, ask yourself what you enjoy.
Not, “What do I want out of life?”
But, “What do I enjoy?”
What puts a half smile on my face?
What makes my body feel good?
What makes my mind feel relaxed and at ease?
These are the questions that will help you work on building your life toward one of happiness and fulfillment. Not what you want but what you ENJOY!
If you enjoy flowers spend less than $10 for a bouquet and they last two weeks. That’s less than $5 a week on something you enjoy. You might find you like flowers so much you start to make your own flower arrangements, or you might pick up a hobby of planting flowers in the spring and learning more about plants, arrangements, gardens, landscaping etc.
This is how something you enjoy can turn into a hobby…. And even eventually a job if that’s what you desire.
Hobbies are important, in my opinion. They’re not just something to pick up in your spare time, they are an essential part of our being, our day to day, our passion and what makes life more enjoyable.
If you’re finding yourself at a loss for what you would even like to do for a hobby use this advice. Like I said, first substitue want with enjoy…
What do I enjoy?
Answer the question and do that thing (even if it’s small and silly). Just a small step will do. Don’t go to step 10. You likely won’t get anywhere. Stay small.
Cultivate what you enjoy and watch it grow.
You may become more involved in it, or you might be satisfied at the small step.
Doing something for yourself, something you enjoy, is a great step you can take toward taking care of yourself. Your body and your mind will thank you for listening.
If you try this out, I’d love to hear about your experience in the comments.
Thanks for reading.