If I asked you what you want right now, how easy would it be to give me an answer? Would it be easier for you to tell me things you want for your children, for your family, for others or for the world?
The joke in my family growing up was that we would ask my Dad what he wanted for Christmas and he would always say “World peace”. It became the metaphor in my family of “I don’t need anything; don’t worry about me”.
The thing is, we weren’t asking him what he needed, we were asking him what he wanted. As a typical parent, he was focused on giving his children what they wanted for Christmas, not on what he may have wanted.
I have worked with, coached and have personally known many women who have a very difficult time expressing what they want, and an even more difficult time allowing themselves to want more. As young girls we are taught to not be greedy, to make others happy and to put others wants and needs before our own.
When we become mothers, we are so strongly conditioned to make sure our children are taken care of physically and emotionally, that we can wind up one day having no idea what we want for ourselves. When this happens, we have an even harder time allowing ourselves to want more.
There is also so much added shame for working mothers when it comes to wanting more; whether it’s more career success, more money, more prestige, more time alone or more love. The idea of women wanting more is frowned upon by society and sadly, we get the message loud and clear.
The issue is that if this message is not addressed, it can become an issue of worthiness that gets passed down, from generation to generation. I truly believe that we can want more, and that we owe it to ourselves and our children to live our lives as an example of what’s possible, especially as working mothers.
This week I’m going to discuss why you should want more, figuring out what you want and how to get it.
Why you should want more
If you’re having difficulty with the idea of wanting more, you’re not alone. Most women have a difficult time with the idea of giving themselves permission to want more.
We all have a rolodex of excuses for why we don’t want more:
- I believe I should just be grateful for what I have
- It would be selfish to want more
- It’s risky to want more
- I don’t have the time, money, resources, etc.
- People will judge me if I want more than I already have
- I tried (fill in the blank) before and it didn’t work
We are so used to making excuses and lying to ourselves about wanting more, that we actually believe our own lies. We are so afraid of failing or being judged, that we sabotage ourselves by not believing we can want, and have, more.
The whole idea that as a mother you need to be a martyr, sacrificing your wants and desires, is hurting you and your children more than you may realize. One of the greatest lessons you can teach them is by your example; by wanting more and taking the actions necessary to get what you want.
When you allow yourself to want more, you often have to push yourself out of your comfort zone. You have to start asking powerful questions like “What’s possible for me?” and dreaming bigger than you’ve probably given yourself permission to.
The reason that you should want more, is because settling for less is just too easy. For so long women have been settling in their relationships, in their careers and in so many other areas of their lives, that it has unfortunately become the default.
So many women have gotten the message growing up that “you should just be grateful for what you have”, therefore wanting more can seem selfish and too difficult. But I’m here to tell you, that’s a lie – there’s nothing wrong with wanting more, and it isn’t as challenging as you may have believed.
When you want more, believe you can have more and take massive action to get more, you show us all what’s possible. When you are a working mom who wants more, you show your children that settling for less isn’t how you want to live your best life.
I also want you to know this – wanting more doesn’t require that you be unhappy with what you have. On the contrary, wanting more from a place of being happy with what you already have, is a very powerful place to begin.
You can be happy, fulfilled and content, and still unapologetically want more. This may seem greedy or unsettling, but that’s just the old messages and programming that women have been taught from the beginning of human existence.
You can be grateful and still be motivated to go for more, at the same time; they aren’t mutually exclusive. You can be happy at your job and also want to become an entrepreneur and go out on your own.
Wanting more doesn’t equal greed; it equals growth. It’s being grateful for what you have and going beyond that, in order to expand your life.
Figuring out what you want more of
What’s the first thing that comes to your mind when you think about wanting more? Do you want to be your own boss and have your own accounting practice? Do you want more flexibility in your schedule so you can travel more (with or without kids :-)? Do you want a better relationship with someone else? Do you want to fly on a private jet to a Caribbean Island?
For most women, the first step in having more is actually getting clear about what you want. It may seem obvious, but it can be very challenging when you haven’t allowed yourself to want, to dream or to believe in something more for a long time.
A word of caution – be aware of all the excuses your brain will offer you when you’ve decided that you want more. You have to be on to your brain at this point and not buy into the story that it will tell you about how it’s not possible or ethical to have more.
When the usual excuses pop into your head about how it’s not possible to have what you want, brush them aside for now. They are just your primitive brain’s way of keeping you in familiar territory because change equates to danger in this dominant part of your brain.
Just know that the only thing that is holding you back from having more, is a story in your mind. It’s a “tale as old as time”, and if it’s allowed to be told repeatedly, it will become the thing that keeps your wishes from coming true.
I also want to point out that you don’t have to want something tangible. What you might want more of is more from yourself; to be more authentic, more truthful, more confident or more brave.
A few years ago I had everything I wanted (great marriage, healthy kids, good job, balanced life), but I couldn’t help but feel like there was something more that I was meant to do with my life. One day I was listening to a podcast where the host said “If you are happy more than 80% of the time, you’re probably not challenging yourself enough”.
That statement changed everything for me; I knew that what I wanted was more from myself. I knew I was meant for more and that I wasn’t challenging myself to do things I was unsure of and uncomfortable with.
That’s when I knew I needed to bring life coaching back into my life, start a new coaching business that centered around accountant moms and start a podcast. I knew that what I wanted more of, was to explore my own possibilities, and then helping others explore theirs.
If you are still on the fence, I want to ask you this – did you know that you get to believe WHATEVER you want to believe? It’s true that no one knows what’s going to happen in the future, but if you have a choice about what to believe, there is no downside to believing the best thing that you can.
I want to give you permission to believe whatever you want about your life. You get to want more just because; you don’t need to justify, quantify or explain to anyone why you want more.
Once you know what you want more of, it’s time to learn how to go get it.
How to get more
So once you are clear about WHAT you want more of, it’s time to believe in the possibility of it, as if it’s already a done deal. What trips up so many women is jumping straight from the desire for more, to tring to figure out how right away.
The HOW part of making a desire into a reality is where a lot of women stop and abandon their dreams. When you look from the starting point to the finish line, with all the obstacles from here to there, it seems too daunting to even attempt to make it a reality.
The key to getting more, is starting from the end, where it’s already done. Instead of coming from a place of needing to make something happen, start from the place where it has already happened, and question how you made it happen.
From that future place, where you have what you currently want more of, what were the obstacles and how did you handle them? Looking backwards from the finish line to the starting line, what were the steps that got you there, who helped you, what did you need to learn and how did you handle frustration and doubt?
By starting with the end in mind you lessen the struggle that your brain interprets as “this is a horrible idea!” In the beginning, this is important because the more time you spend in the energy of trying to figure out how, the less time you’re spending believing in it.
By starting at the finish point in your mind where you already believe in it, you can come from a place of abundance and curiosity. This will have you saying things like “I wonder how I got there. I’m going to try X and see how that goes” versus “This is so hard. How am I going to figure this out? There’s too much I don’t know”.
In my quest for more, I knew that the way I was able to balance my accounting career with my family, the way I was able to handle stress, and the way I was able to improve all areas of my life, were all things that other accountant moms needed to know. I imagined having a website, a blog, and a podcast reaching tens of thousands of accountant moms across the world.
At my finish line I saw so many women that needed my help and imagined them listening to my podcast, changing their relationships, going after their dreams and making their own possibilities a reality. I could see myself collaborating with others to help accountant moms build their own businesses and have better lives.
The more time I spent in the “it’s a done deal” space, the more I believed in what I wanted and the more I believed in myself. Supported by the belief that it was going to happen, I then got to work on making it a reality.
I did research, learned from others that were already successful at what I wanted to do, I failed along the way, I learned some more, and I just kept moving towards that finish line that was already a done deal in my mind. Each obstacle and failure along the way was just another opportunity to grow.
There were plenty of times that my brain was telling me it’s not going to work, that I should just be satisfied with being a CPA, that wanting more than the great life I was living was selfish – none of that deterred me from my belief in what was possible. I recognized that my brain was only doing it’s protective job and that I got to override its programming.
If you’re still leery about wanting more, I get it – wanting more can be uncomfortable at first, especially if you’ve never given yourself permission to want more. However, when you can spend more time looking and believing in WHAT you want, the HOW just becomes easier to uncover.
So let me be the one to hand you a virtual permission slip that says “You have permission to want more and to go get it”. I can’t wait to meet you at your finish line!
- The idea of women wanting more is frowned upon by society and sadly, we get the message loud and clear.
- I truly believe that we can want more, and that we owe it to ourselves and our children to live our lives as an example of what’s possible, especially as working mothers.
- The reason that you should want more, is because settling for less is just too easy.
- Just know that the only thing that is holding you back from having more, is a story in your mind.
- The key to getting more, is starting from the end, where it’s already done.