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A Simple Question to Ask About the Thing You Say You Want

It was unsettling to realize I didn't know how to define the thing I claimed to want.

During a recent conversation, I was talking about how I want more trust in my life. I want to trust others enough to let them really see me. I want to trust myself enough to know I’m worth being seen and that even if others don’t like what they see in me I’ll still be ok.

The wise friend I was talking with asked me a simple, yet brilliant question—What does trust mean to you?

You know what? I didn’t know how to answer. I started sentences without knowing how to finish them, stammering a few fragments of ideas. Eventually, I found my way to the beginning of an answer, but it was unsettling to realize I didn’t know how to define the thing I claimed to want. I kept saying I wanted more trust in my life without ever getting clear about what that would really look like.

We do that sometimes, don’t we? We feel the longing and know we want something more for our lives. We latch onto an idea or concept that we think will bring us more of what we’re looking for without getting specific about what it actually means.

What is it that you want more of in your life? Maybe you long for a sense of purpose, stability, or peace. Maybe it’s balance or courage. Maybe you crave connection, success, or confidence.

How clearly could you tell me what that really means to you? How will you know when you have it? How do you know what needs to change to bring more of it into your life?

I’m still exploring what trust means to me. I hope you’ll join me with whatever concept you’ve chosen.

What does _________ mean to you?

Now, I’m not just talking about a dictionary definition, although feel free to consult one. A dictionary or thesaurus can be a helpful place to start exploring meaning (I use mine often), but the key words in this question are to you.

Sometimes articulating what we mean feels challenging, especially when the thing we’re trying to define feels big and out of reach. It can be helpful to explore from different angles first. Fill in the blank with something you want more of in your life. Here are a few questions to help you get started:

  • Why do you want more _________?

  • What is currently missing from your life or what are you enduring?

  • What will be added to or released from your life when you have more _________?

  • How do you think, act, speak, feel when you perceive a lack of _________?

  • How will you think, act, speak, feel differently when you have more _________?

  • What do you think gets in the way of you having more _________ in your life?

  • How are you willing to change in order to have more _________?

  • What messages about _________ have you received from other people or social structures?

  • Think of someone who has _________. What about them indicates to you that they have ________?

  • What is something you can do to add a tiny bit more _________ to your life today?

It’s so much harder to get what we want when we only have vague ideas about what that is. The more specifically we examine what the things we say we want really mean to us and how we expect them to change our lives, the more clearly we can see the steps needed to get there.

I’d love to know…what do you want more of in your life? What does that mean to you? What did it feel like to explore that more deeply? Leave a comment below or send me an email to share your thoughts.