What do you want?
From your life, your relationships, your work, or anything else. What are your truest desires?
It is so common for people to say “I don’t know” when asked what they want. If this is you, it’s time to get to work.
When you discover what your deepest desires are and you begin honoring those desires, your life changes tremendously for the better.
In this episode, learn why knowing what you want is so important, how to figure out what you want, and how to get in the habit of honoring your wants.
It’s in the process of following your desires that you become the person you want to be. Not in the achievements of those things, but in the process.
What you will discover
- Why it’s so important to know what you want.
- What a Want Match in a relationship is.
- The difference between an artificial desire and a true desire.
- How to use timeframes to understand what you want.
- How people pleasing denies your own desires.
Featured on the show
You are listening to The Life Coach School Podcast with Brooke Castillo, episode 474.
Welcome to The Life Coach School Podcast, where it’s all about real clients, real problems and real coaching. And now your host, Master Coach Instructor, Brooke Castillo.
Hi gorgeous friends. How are you all doing? I am doing amazing. I just got back from playing pickleball and having lunch and watching basketball. It’s the perfect day.
And I wanted to record this podcast because I’ve been thinking so much about wants lately. One of the reasons why I’ve been thinking a lot about this lately is because of my own life. I’ve talked a lot about navigating my own life on this podcast and how the way that I navigate my own life is what I end up teaching.
I learn it for myself and then I end up teaching it in hopes that it will help you navigate your life if I’m able to have some success. One of my beliefs that I learned really early on as a life coach was that our desires are the maps to our destiny. I really do believe that.
I do believe that if we pay attention to our truest desires - and I’m going to talk a little bit about what that actually means in a minute - but if we navigate our lives according to our truest desires, we will live the life we are meant to live.
And that doesn’t mean our life will always be easy, it doesn’t mean just because we’re going after our desires and our wants that it will be enjoyable. But it will give us the opportunity to grow and evolve, not just ourselves but by doing it with ourselves we will in our small way evolve humankind. I really do believe this.
And I believe that every single person has something to offer through their life well lived, and that doesn’t mean that you have to impact thousands of people, it doesn’t mean that you have to make a huge contribution to millions of people. It just means that your life is a contribution by the way that you live it.
And so for me personally, especially recently throughout this year, I’ve been trying to figure out what it is I want now. And one of the reasons why I think this has been kind of a baffling question to me in many ways is that so many of my wants, so many of my desires, so many of the things that I’ve dreamt about have come true. And in ways that are beyond my expectation. Like, come on with this life, with these people, with this success, with this enjoyment.
And so finding out and understanding what I want has become more challenging because the things that I’ve always wanted my whole life I don’t want anymore because I have them. And it doesn’t mean that I don’t want to have them because I do. It’s just I don’t want to be working towards them anymore because I don’t need to be working towards them anymore.
And the other piece of this that makes it challenging for me specifically is that I have so many more options now. I have way more money than I’ve ever had, so the opportunity and the options are pretty much endless. And I have more freedom in terms of where I can go and what I can do because my children are no longer living at home with me.
So they’re living very independent lives, and so I have a lot more options and a lot more choices. And because of the way that my work is, much less demanding now that I have a team running everything, it’s opened up the door in a way that it’s never been open before. So there are so many wants and so many options.
And often when I talk to other people, I talk to many of my students and many of my friends, and even just acquaintances, and I ask them what they want, they say that they don’t know. And they say that they don’t know in a way that is concerning to me, as if it doesn’t really matter what I want.
And I feel like what we want is very serious business. When I am trying to figure out what I want and I’m having this conversation with my boyfriend or with my friends, trying to really narrow down what it is that I want and they don’t take that conversation seriously, they’re like, “Well, it doesn’t really matter, just enjoy the moment,” that sort of thing, it’s the same kind of feeling.
I’m like, “No, no, y’all, what we want is very important to pay attention to, to figure out, to navigate, to understand. It is not something that we should take lightly at all.” And one of my missions in life has been to help young people, especially young girls open up their viewpoint of what they could want.
And it kind of makes it a little bit more complicated, it makes it a little bit more overwhelming, a little bit more challenging to decide what we want when we have more options like I was just referring to before. But it also makes our life so much more exciting and so much more vast and so much more opportunistic. There are so many more things that we could create and do in our one lifetime.
And so when I pose the question to myself, when you pose this question to yourself and you come back with an I don’t know, I want you to take that very, very, very seriously. That is not an acceptable answer. It is your job to find out and to know what it is that you want.
And I’m not only talking about big things. I’m talking about little things. I’m talking about daily things. I’m talking about hourly things, and I’m talking about lifetime things. I’m talking about honoring your own wants.
And I’ll make an argument for why this is important. I think it’s impossible to live the fullest expression of yourself if you don’t honor your own wants. I have seen through my practice and through my school and through all the coaching that I’ve done, way too many people either accepting I don’t know and not caring enough about what they want, or denying what they want for what someone else wants for them, or what someone else thinks would be best for them.
And I want to do what I can in this world to stop that. One example of why it’s so important to know what you want would be in a relationship. One of the concepts that I teach in relationship is the Want Match. And it’s understanding what you want in a relationship, what someone else wants in a relationship, and making sure there’s enough Want Matches within that relationship that you’re compatible.
And if you don’t know what you want, or if they don’t know what they want, you can end up in a situation where neither one of you are living the full expression of who you could actually be, and you can end up building a lot of resentment in a relationship where you’re not understanding what you want and therefore unable to honor what you want.
One of the distinctions that we need to make when it comes to doing the work of finding out and honoring what you want is to separate out the difference between an artificial desire and a true desire. And I cover this in depth in my Overeating masterclass and in my Overdrinking masterclass within the Get Coached program, but I will summarize it here.
Your biology is created in a way for you to honor what it is that you need immediately. And it’s through a neurotransmitter inside of your brain called dopamine. And if you think about the brilliance of how desire is created in the brain for short-term satisfaction, you can see why we stayed alive through what must have been treacherous life circumstances.
And I honor and celebrate and love that we have neurotransmitters in our brain that keep us alive by generating desire for immediate needs that we actually have always needed to survive. But as our prefrontal cortex has developed, and as our society has become more modernized, honoring those types of immediate desires is actually very detrimental to our deepest desires.
So understanding the difference between what you want right now this second and what you want long term is very important in terms of living an actualized life and not a life that is running on what was designed for us to survive.
For example, wanting to eat 10 cookies right now because that’s what you “truly” desire is an artificial desire that is generated by a neurotransmitter in your brain that doesn’t understand that there’s plenty of food to go around and concentrated sugar is overstimulating your brain to want more of it.
And so again, if you want more details about hormones and neurotransmitters and how they affect you giving in to compulsive and near desires at the sake of and at the expense of long-term desires, please make sure you study that material within my programs because it has changed my life completely and it can change thousands of your lives if you haven’t understood that yet.
But once you understand the difference between well, what I want right now is to quit my job and never work again, what I want right now is to hit the snooze button, to eat all the candy in the house, to take a bunch of drugs, to sit around all day and watch pornography, whatever it is that your immediate desire is can be chalked up to most of the time, if it’s at your expense, to an artificial desire that’s based on a neurotransmitter designed for survival.
So one of the ways that you can understand the difference between a true desire that you want to honor is timeframes. So you can ask yourself, is this what I want right now? Is this what I’m going to want tomorrow? Will I want to have done this tomorrow? Will I want to have done this in a year? Will I want to have done this in three years?
Notice that what you want maybe tomorrow is to feel healthy and not hungover and to still have a job and to feel like you got all your work done and made a contribution to your life, versus right now, you just want to lay around and watch Netflix.
So by asking yourself, time is a really good way of clearing that up because immediate desires are usually based on the survival mechanism in your lower end brain. Your prefrontal cortex is the only part of your brain that can think into the future and make decisions for the future. It is your highest functioning part of your brain and it is the part you want to live your life by.
By making decisions ahead of time and then honoring those decisions in the moment, you will get the highest quality of life, in my opinion. So when you separate out your desires, when you know what your wants are, you can make decisions about your life, about your partners, about your relationships, about who you spend time with in a way that will guide you and honor you specifically.
And I believe that your life, your desires, your brain needs to be honored in order for the world to be complete. I think sometimes people feel wrongly that if they sacrifice their long-term desires, their highest-level desires, that they’re somehow making someone else’s life better. And I personally completely disagree with this.
I do not think that’s an unselfish thing to do. I think in the big picture, it’s the selfish thing to do. If you deny who you are, the world misses out on you. And you are here for a reason. And the reason you’re here is to not push all your desires away for other people. I promise you, that is not the point of your life.
If everybody honored and respected their desires, they would honor and respect everyone else’s desires, and humanity would be at the highest level, in my opinion. We wouldn’t have so much resentment, we wouldn’t have so much anger, we wouldn’t have so much rage, we wouldn’t have so much unconscious degradation of humanity.
So when you understand your true desires, you have a direction. You know how to make decisions, you know how to set your goals, and you know how to honor them, and you don’t need an explanation other than you want it. And what you want matters. What you want long term for yourself matters to humanity for sure. That can end up being your contribution.
When you are people pleasing, which is honoring someone else’s desire over your desire because you artificially think that what you desire is their approval, you end up lying about what is true for you, and you end up lying to the other person and you end up denying what could be the highest level of reality.
And so for me, for many decades of my life, I would do things that other people wanted me to do at the expense of what I really wanted to do. And these were long-term desires. I gave up what was true for me because of what I thought someone else wanted me to do.
And the truth is if you ask most people, short term, artificially, they want you to behave in the way they want you to behave so they can feel better. But if you really ask someone who cares about you, “Do you want me to honor my long-term desires,” nine times out of 10 they will say yes.
When you find out what you really want and you pay attention to it, your life will be challenged. You will have a more challenging life. It is much more challenging to understand your long-term deepest desire and to live your life in accordance with that than it is not to.
And this is why many people probably don’t even pay attention or acknowledge their own desires. I think sometimes our way of avoiding that challenge is to deem our desires unrealistic, or to worry about what other people will think, or to worry about the disruption that it would cause to our own lives and to other people’s lives if we were to really live the life that we were meant to and want to live.
And I just want to invite you to do it anyway. I want to invite you to believe in the concept that what you want, your truest non-artificial desire, is the whole point of your life. And if you tuck yourself into some socialized version of what everyone else is doing and what you think everyone else thinks you should do, you’ll miss out on evolving all of us, truly.
Because I think when you look at the most amazing creations, the most amazing movements, the most amazing opportunities that humanity has had, it didn’t come from people who were seeking the unchallenging thing to do, who were honoring their own desire for comfort. I think that they were digging deep to understand who they were and what they wanted and going after it at the expense of some of other people’s opinions, and at the expense of comfort.
So if you want a little bit of help on how to start this process with yourself, I want you to check out the podcast that I just did called The Future Store and allow yourself to make a list of your truest, deepest, maybe even most secret desires. What if you could go after those? What if you could have those? What if you could honor those desires?
And what if in a year, all the people who were upset about you wanting to go after that were over it and were glad that you did it? This has happened to me so many times in my life. I have to overcome the temporary disruption of my life in order to have the longest-term desires that I want.
And for some of you it may help to think about 10 years down the road or 20 years down the road. When the dust settles, are you willing to kick up some dust, create some drama temporarily in order to have the longest-term desire in your life?
Now, some of you may come back and say, “Well, I try to imagine what I want and I try to think about The Future Store and I try to think about what it is that I would want for my life if I could have anything and nothing actually comes to my mind.”
And if you’re one of those people where you’ve really gotten stuck in that process, I want to acknowledge to you that you’re not paying enough attention to yourself. You’re not tuned in to your body enough. You’re not thinking enough about your own life and your own desire and I want to encourage you to change that.
But if that’s where you are right now, one of the things that can help is to make a list of everything you know you don’t want. And that can include things you have in your life right now, and that can include things that you’ve had in your past, but it can also include things that you don’t want to have in your future no matter what.
And when you make that list of things that you don’t want, you simply go through and write down the list of what is its opposite. If you don’t want this thing, what is the exact opposite of that thing? That becomes your new desire. Your new long-term genuine desire.
And what I want to leave you with that will make many of you uncomfortable is that you are entitled and invited to try on and to test out as many desires, as many wants as you want. Because too many of you are holding back what you want to try out, what you want to explore, what you want to have because you’re afraid that maybe once you get it, you won’t want it, or it’s not the right want to have, or the right direction.
And I want to tell you that in the process, this is so important, in the process of following your desires, following your wants, following your heart, it is in that process that you become the person that you are meant to be. It is not in the achieving of those things. It is not in the accumulation of those wants. It is in the process of pursuing what it is you want that you become the person that you are meant to be, and that is true whether you get those things or not.
This is one of the most important messages that I can give to anyone who is my student, who is my friend, who is my loved one. Go after what you want. Find out what it is and go after it. Not because you’ll achieve it and then you’ll be satisfied but because in the process you’ll become more of who you are.
Have a beautiful week everyone. Go find out what your wants are. Talk to you later. Bye-bye.
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