what do you want? 5 ways to combat “I don’t know”

Just for fun, let’s over-generalize and split the world into two kinds of people:


First - There are those people who are super confident in who they are and what they like, and they can order from a menu without hesitation.


And then - There are the kind of people who… kind of… maybe… struggle a bit with knowing exactly what they want. They need to think about the menu and ask the other person what they are getting and think about what they ate earlier in the day and then decide and then change their mind and finally just get the damn veggie burger.


Do you identify with either extreme?


noteAs one who falls into the latter category more often than not, I’ve given myself a lot of crap for being indecisive. I have always envied my friends who just always seem to know what they want.


From the outside it seems obvious why: Knowing what you want can make your life feel more streamlined; as a creative person it can help you reach your goals sooner because you actually are clear on what the goals are in the first place.


However - and this is a big HOWEVER - I will also say that the not knowing, the moments of the in-between and questioning, are often necessary to get to the sure-fire inner knowing.


Indecision can feel crippling and painful. Believe me, I know.


But it can also help you to be more creative and understand yourself better.


So if you’re in a place this week (or this month, this year, this decade…) where you just don’t seem to know what you want, it’s ok. Cut yourself some slack and just let yourself be.


Here are a few things I’ve been learning in this department that could help you on your path to understanding what you want:


  1. Focus on what you don’t want first. In the first session with new potential clients I almost always start by asking “What’s not working?” - and there’s a method to my madness. It’s usually easier to identify the things that you don’t like or can’t stand anymore. Being clear there can be a pathway into figuring out what you do want more of.


  1. Dance into the pain; Don’t leap over it. Instead of just saying, “ok I know that I can no longer tolerate xyz situation in my life, see ya, bye,” give yourself the gift of the processing the anger, frustration, hurt, or pain associated with it. This piece, in my opinion, is really where the transformation can take place.

Bonus dance prompt: Use dance to work through it. Let your body take on the shape and movements of whatever scenario is not working. Exaggerate it and see what it feels like. Then use the movement to dance into a new physical experience. Because: Before you can fully feel and understand what you DO want, you need to let yourself feel what you don’t want.


  1. Seek out examples and role models. Whose life do you admire? What new options can you discover through hearing other people’s stories? If you don’t seek or ask, you’ll never know. One caveat here -- Just be sure to steer clear of comparison mode. Don’t look at others thinking that you suck and they are great. Look at them thinking, “wow, if it’s possible for them, it’s possible for me!”


  1. Try stuff. Experiment. Echoes of my mom’s voice saying “You never know til you try…” flow through my mind on this point. Although she would often say it while rolling her eyes as I told her about another one of my crazy ideas, I’m saying it to you with full-bodied enthusiasm! Sometimes you’ve just got to pick something and try it out, even if you feel unsure. You always have the power to change your mind.


  1. Listen. This is so simple but really so profound. If you can just take the time to be with yourself and not rely on the itch to be busy, it’s amazing what you’ll start hearing from within. The heart speaks a different language - you have to be patient and quiet enough to hear its subtle calls.


And finally let’s remember what Rainer Maria Rilke said in a quote that I’ve heard often but never gets old:


“Be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves, like locked rooms and like books that are now written in a very foreign tongue. Do not now seek the answers, which cannot be given you because you would not be able to live them. And the point is, to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps you will then gradually, without noticing it, live along some distant day into the answer.”


So tell me -

Do you know what you want?  What are you questioning?


And if you have any tips for getting more clarity, feel free to share below and help us all out :)


to knowing what we know,