I'm sure I've talked about this question many times over the years this blog has been around.
I've learned that the best way to evolve and grow in my own life is to ask better questions. And I've also learned that, for me, I'm more effective when I consider solutions, rather than answers. In my experience, answers imply "correctness" which also implies, to me, that there's a right and a wrong.
I'm learning that solutions or possibilities give me much more freedom to be creative and open than does problem-solving or trying to find the right answer.
So the question "what do you really want?" becomes one that, if solution or possibility inspired, can allow freedom.
The reason that question has come to my mind recently as to do with a few conversations I've had where people have told me they are requesting security, in one case, and balance in another.
I've written before about the distinction between financial security and financial freedom, and it occurs to me that they are almost opposite viewpoints.
When contemplating career satisfaction, many people believe that they need to be tied down to a "job" which gives them financial security and, many times, the term "career satisfaction" becomes almost oxymoronic.
Instead, upon further conversation, it seems that what these folks really want is financial freedom, where they are not selling their souls for health insurance, but instead finding (or creating) opportunities to earn money doing what they love. This, of course, requires a shift in mindset which, for some, is mind-blowing. For many people, "work" and "love" are not used together in the same sentence.
Another concept I've been hearing recently is the concept of balance. Many working parents, especially, struggle to find that elusive place where their home lives and their work lives are equally shared. The challenge with this concept is that there is nothing in nature that is equally balanced. If a living thing is "balanced," it is not dynamic, and is, therefore, dead. There is no status quo in life; if a living thing is not growing, it is dying. So trying to achieve balance is like trying to achieve perfection: neither is possible.
What if, instead of balance, we strive for harmony? Harmony occurs in music when varying pitches occur simultaneously to produce a desirable or pleasant sound. Harmony doesn't require everything to work together perfectly; there are many instances of dissonant and consonant chords occuring during a piece of music, both of which work together to give the listener the most enjoyable experience. Harmony doesn't require or even expect perfection, but allows the music itself to create the experience.
So maybe we don't really want security or balance, when we've been struggling forever to achieve those things. We haven't taken the time to determine for ourselves whether that which we've gotten familiar with is really what would give us the most desirable outcome.
Ask yourself some new questions and be honest with yourself about the thoughts that those questions inspire for you. Don't be afraid to be open to new directions which might be presented to you when you realize exactly what you do want.