What do you want?

What do you want? Or, “what would you like?” if you are at the grocery store or being waited on by a clerk or customer service person.

You hear this question all day long for the little things: food orders, coffee orders, curtain colours, vacation plans…

But how often do you ask yourself this question as it pertains to the bigger pictures? Your health, your relationships, your love life, your career…?

Do you let yourself answer? No doubt you’ve thought about it in your head, analyzing and dreaming. Can you voice this answer out loud?

Seems like such a little question, “What do you want?” Yet its implications are huge. And it takes courage to face it and really answer it with honesty.

Case in point: I was out with a group of friends last year for a casual Saturday night of drinks and chatting and got to talking with one about career plans. This friend, a very good friend – smart, articulate, kind – was at a crossroads in his life. Many different options kept popping up that he was fluctuating back and forth between: everything from sales to education to overseas work and business analysis.

I could feel the unsettled disruptions in his energy and asked him that simple question, “But, what do you want to do?”

The way my friend looked at me, I might as well have said, “But why can’t you become a unicorn?” 

My friend was so incredulous that I could ask such a thing. With a bit of condescension in his smile and disbelief in his tone (I didn’t take offence) he said, “Oh come on, Robine, you can’t ask me a question like that! You have to be more specific.”

Well, actually that’s as specific as it gets. Gently, very gently, I asked it again, the same question. I told my friend to just take a moment and consider what he wanted – and he didn’t have to tell me what it was, I don’t exist in this equation.

The question is, what would you do as a career if money was taken care of – if there were a limitless fund supplying your salary and you could do anything, what would this career look like? AHHH… now this finally got the light bulb on and, thankfully, erased the defensiveness starting to appear on his face.

When I was asked this question years ago by an old boyfriend I was also stopped cold. My mind went blank. What do I want? What DO I want? At the time, I really didn’t know and I really couldn’t say. I also felt quite silly that I had no answer. I had secret hopes but they were buried so deep back then it was very hard to voice them to another person, even one I trusted.

But I kept at it, asking myself again and again in private and out loud, “What do you want, Robine?” And the answer did come – and what do you know, it got stronger and eventually became reality.

So today I’m here to say, it’s ok if you ask this question and are not ready to answer it yet. It’s perfectly fine if you don’t know. Keep looking, have courage and keep asking. The answer is within you, in your energy, and it will come to your conscious awareness if you let it.

A friend sent me this parable today that fits with this theme perfectly:

In a Native American parable, the Creator gathers all the animals and says: “I want to hide something from humans until they are ready for it – the realization that they create their own reality – ”

“Give it to me. I’ll fly it to the moon,” says the eagle. 

“No, one day soon they will go there and find it.”

“How about the bottom of the ocean?” asks the salmon. 

“No, they will find it there too.”

“I will bury it in the great plains,” says the buffalo. 

“They will soon dig and find it there.”

“Put it inside them,” says the wise grandmother mole. 

“Done,” says the Creator. 

“It is the last place they will look.”

— Native American Legend (“The Eagles Have landed” – Apollo Moon Mission)