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Do you know what you want?

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I have spent my whole life studying, living and teaching the principles successful people follow to achieve their goals and create the lives of their dreams. And one thing I’ve learned is that most people fail at achieving true success because they haven’t clearly defined what success means for them. After all, if you don’t know what you’re looking for, it’s almost impossible to find it.

So here’s a question I’d like you to think about: How do you define success? If your answer is something such as “making a ton of money” or “having a big house and fancy car” or “owning a multimillion dollar company,” you’re thinking way too small. Success isn’t about what you have; it’s about how you feel.

If you wake up every morning excited to find out what the day holds in store, then you’re truly successful. If your heart overflows with joy because of the loving relationships in your life, then you’re truly successful. If you’re living your life in alignment with your highest beliefs and making a positive difference in the world, then you’re truly successful.

Are you working toward your own definition of success or someone else’s? Inside of you is a tiny seed of the person you were meant to become. Unfortunately, as you were growing up, you may have buried this seed in response to your parents, teachers, coaches and other adult role models.

Think of all the times you were told:

    • “You can’t have everything you want.”
    • “Stop being so selfish!”
    • “Can’t you think of anyone but yourself?”

After many years of listening to these kinds of sanctions, most of us lose touch with the desires of our hearts and get stuck trying to figure out what other people want us to do. We learn how to act in order to receive their approval. We go to medical school because that’s what Dad wanted for us. We get married to please our mothers. We get a “real job” instead of pursuing a career in the arts.

So how do you get back to what you really want and reconnect with your true passion without fear, shame or inhibition? Start small by recognizing and honoring your own preferences. When you’re confronted with a choice, no matter how small or insignificant, ask yourself, “What do I really want?” Remaining unclear about what you want and making other people’s needs and desires more important than your own is a habit, one you can break by practicing the opposite habit.

Create a list of the things you love to do and the things you want to do, have and be in your life and review it regularly to keep it top-of-mind. By acknowledging your own wants and desires, you make it possible to act on them in a much more powerful way.

You can have the things you want in life, but you must first figure out what those things are.

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