Manifesto: Lead With The Want

June 3, 2013

It's no secret that I find comfort in lists. Lately I've been scrawling list upon list. Some of them are reminders, but most of them are 'wants': the things + experiences I'm itching to have and do and make.


Some of my wants are very practical: I want to make time for a walk everyday; I want to read those two books that I keep putting off. 

And some border on superficial: I want a pair of red shorts and some badass boots.

Some are more far reaching: I want to visit my god kids in England; I want to go sailing.

Some are wants for the near future: I want to create a series of touring dances for the wintertime; I want to quit waiting tables before the end of the year (it feels good just to write that-- are you listening, universe?); I want to finish the design for my Story Mapping cards; I want to buckle down and learn photoshop. 

Some are goals, some are deeper desires, some are dreamy things that I haven't quite figured out how to actualize. But I know I want them. 

In the last few weeks I've felt almost bad for being so aware of The Want, as if it was a sign that I'm not living in the moment, or that I'm ungrateful, or that I'm generally dissatisfied, or a bit selfish. With my list of wants is a little bit of 'who am I to ask for these things?' A bit of good old fashioned guilt and self-doubt, because where would we be without it, people? (Happier, that's where.)

Back in 2008 I started a Day Zero Project list: a list of 101 things to accomplish in 1000 days, which is a little less than three years (if you're math challenged like me). I went to town with that list of 101 things, writing down everything from organizing my computer and buying an external hard drive, to growing a full head of hair (which steroids from my doctor had made a thin mess of), and deciding on graduate school, to throwing a party for everyone I loved, and even getting a grant. The beauty of 1000 days is that the list gets put to the side-- you just start moving towards what you want. Just before my 30th birthday, the 1000 days were over. I did have more hair, and I'd thrown a big party (also known as a wedding), and decided to let the grad school thing go, and even had successful news in the mix of grant rejection letters. But even more I had a strong sense of certainty. The wants had led me down a rabbit hole of decisions that helped me figure out who I was and what I wanted my life to look like; they'd led me away from the fuzziness of indecision and uncertainty (a total energy suck).

I remind myself of this so that I stop feeling bad about The Want. Despite my want awareness and list scrawling, I still feel strangely satisfied right here, using The Wants as a map to slowly move my way over there. Maybe the goals, desires, and dreamy things are actually our smartest self speaking until we have the courage to fully own who we dare to be--- the reality that we're worthy of manifesting and owning big things.

[For goal-making and future thinking, I highly recommend Andrea Scher's Mondo Beyondo eCourse. I'm so glad I got over any fear of hippie dippy-ness and took the class. Write down a list of super scary things you long to do. I dare you.]

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