Do you want it? Or do you only think you SHOULD want it?

should

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Three years ago I wrote this blog about things I wanted to want, but didn’t actually care about.

Reading it now, in 2019, was fascinating because a lot of these things I have NO energy or shame around anymore.

So, what follows is my original blog from 2016, with (in the true spirit of a high school theater nerd) asides from my 2019 self:

I want to tell you that I’m a go-getter. I’d like for you to believe that I spend my days hustling, achieving, and generally “crushing it.”

(2019 aside: I actually DON’T want you to think this about me anymore. All of this implies that “crushing it” is the absolute pinnacle of life success, and I know now that it’s so NOT.)

It’d be great if when you thought of me, you envisioned someone who easily and breezily works 8-10 hours a day. Someone who’s constantly on top of her inbox. Someone who has great hair and makeup and puts on real clothes and who juggles everything with a smile and a winning attitude.

(2019 aside: The number of hours you work per day is not the only metric of productivity. And I’m writing this from a Starbucks where I’m not wearing makeup, but I AM wearing jeans, so do with that what you will. Also, I was born with chronic bitch face. How likely is it that I’d EVER be someone who smiles constantly??)

I want to want that.

But I don’t actually want any of it.

DO YOU WANT IT? OR DO YOU ONLY WANT TO WANT IT?

I have one group of friends that consists solely of coaches. It’s great.

The last time we got together, we went around in a circle and listed out all of the things that we each wanted to want … but ultimately, didn’t really care about.

We each ended up with a list that sounded fantastic, but that in reality reflected all of the “shoulds” that end up making us feel guilty.

Here’s a sampling of mine: I want to want …

  • To be someone who likes hustling and working hard
  • To enjoy waking up early
  • To be more motivated by money, when it comes to business
  • To go to the gym
  • To care more about social media
  • To landscape my backyard
  • To put on make up and real clothes daily

(2019 aside: I still wish I were slightly more motivated by money, because it’d make my life easier. And it would also be better for marketing my business if I cared about social media. But I still don’t, and it is what it is.)

WHEN YOU PUT ALL OF THAT TOGETHER, I SOUND PRETTY AWESOME

If the gap actually closed between where I am now and where that list would have me be, I’d be this incredibly well-dressed, attractive human who gets up at dawn and goes to the gym (wearing makeup!) with a smile on her face, works tirelessly on her business all day, while simultaneously planning for how to keep growing said business, while also making time for trips to Home Depot for her various gardening and landscaping pursuits, and who effortlessly manages to Instagram all of this with the perfect combination of witty hashtags and emojis. <<insert horror-stricken-emoji-face here>>

(2019 aside: DOES that sound awesome?? Or do you hate this fictitious person as much as I do??)

The reality is something way more relatable, I think.

I am not a hustler, nor a particularly hard worker. I’m an introvert who loves books and Netflix and long walks in nature. Hustlin’ just ain’t my deal. Give me a leisurely pace any day.

I have never liked, and will probably never like, going to the gym. If I can get to a place of neutrality about exercise, that’d be a win for me.

I love getting 8 or 9 hours of sleep. Waking up before the sun rises makes me feel like a particularly disgruntled vampire. Being a chipper early bird is not going to happen.

I’m also never going to be very motivated by making money and growing my business. I’m just not that interested in marketing or business strategy. I like to spend my time on what my business is actually here to do … the coaching and writing and podcasting.

I am never going to care about being “Insta-famous.” I’m more clever in person than through a screen, and it feels like a waste of time to be plotting the perfect filter and hashtag selections when I could be, you know, actually living my life.

There is no chance that I will ever put on real clothes and makeup daily. I love being cozy and comfortable, and I don’t feel the need to look prim when I’m mostly working from my house.

And the landscaping thing? Lol, please.

(2019 aside: AMEN, 27-year-old self, amen).

BUT WHAT STAYS, AND WHAT GOES?

I know. It’s not always easy to discern the difference between what you actually need to be doing (but aren’t doing, for some reason) and what you just want to want, but can probably let go of.

If the answer were as easy as, “Just give yourself permission to let go of everything you think you should want!” … then I wouldn’t exercise for the rest of my life.

And then again, there are some things I know I can let go of (like giving a crap about Instagram, for example). So, for the sake of simplicity, here are the three options I applied to my entire list:

  • Do it (with caveats). I’ve got to keep exercising, but there’s no rule that says I have to love it. I’m allowed to find a tempo and style that works for me. I can be in shape without being a huge fan of the gym. Same goes for social media … I can do it, but I don’t have to be stellar at it. I’d rather release the pressure to “perform” on social media and just share what feels good, at the right time.
  • Have someone else do it. Kristen and I are working with a business coach in 2016 because neither of us likes the marketing and strategy piece that much. But our new coach does love it, which is a big win-win. The same goes for landscaping … if I’m not going to go to Home Depot (and I can assure you, I won’t), I still don’t have to keep staring at an ugly backyard. I have options (and so do you). I could also hire a personal trainer to keep me accountable for working out (and I’m considering this, too).
  • Let it go completely. I can accept that I’m a slow-paced introvert who’d rather be quietly reading or writing than hustling. I don’t need to be motivated by money and business growth; in my mind, there are far better metrics to measure my growth (like how my clients feel and the quality of the work I produce rather than the quantity).

(2019 aside: I still don’t like working out, but I do it pretty regularly. I never landscaped my backyard. I never hired a personal trainer. And neither of those things bother me at all. I’m TOTALLY fine with the fact that I don’t “hustle.” I love being a quality-over-quantity person now.)

THE “LET IT GO” THING IS THE MOST IMPORTANT

When you make a list like this, what you really create is a picture of who you think you “should” be.

Everything you want to want — regardless of whether you end up doing it, giving it to someone else, or letting it go — has some pressure and guilt around it that needs to be released.

If I’m going to keep exercising, I’ve got to release the guilt about not loving it. All that does is weigh me down more (and counter-intuitively, makes it harder to do).

It has to be OK that I’m working with a business coach, instead of doing marketing myself. I don’t need to be good at, nor even interested in, every piece of my business.

I must give myself permission to be the introverted, non-hustler that I am. I can be successful and be a lover of leisure.

twitter-bird When you give yourself permission to be who you are, you make peace with yourself.

I’m no longer interested in creating more struggle, resistance, and self-judgment by trying to work against my natural inclinations. I’d rather make peace with who I am and operate from a place of ease.

(2019 aside: Letting go of the “shoulds” totally worked, you guys. I don’t care about hardly ANYTHING I was worried about in 2016 anymore. Consider this proof that you can let go of the crap weighing you down, too). 

And you? What do you want to want (but really, just don’t)? What stays, what goes … and how will you release the guilt, regardless? Share your thoughts with me, in the comments!

Much Love,

Rachel (& Kristen)


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21 Comments // ADD COMMENT

21 comments

  • Aimee

    This is a great post; something I needed to read today! I’ve been having very similar thoughts lately and am glad it’s not “just me.” I appreciate your honesty and great writing. Cheers to being ourselves :)!

  • Carey

    I really needed this post. I’ve been struggling with a career choice for the past few months as I prepare to go to school and the longer time went on, the less enthused I was about the path I’d chosen. Mostly I picked it because it was stable and had a lot of earning potential, which I knew I should want and be excited for; however it just didn’t spark my interest enough for me to really thrive (hey, that’s my passion profile!). I’ve decided to completely change directions, with the support of my fiance who is trying to tell me it’s okay to go after my dreams, instead of settling for something to pay the bills.

    • Kristen Walker

      Carey — I’m so glad this was the message you needed to hear this week! Sounds like the career path you’d chosen was definitely a “want to want,” and your new direction is purely a WANT! Kudos to you for making the brave decision to completely change your path, and I’m thrilled to hear that you have such a supportive, loving fiancé who is encouraging you to keep going in the direction of your dreams. You’re totally on the right track!

  • annie

    you can’t possibly do that to me… I only found your blog today and twice you got me thinking and my head spinning – with both blog posts I read today.

    I want so much and even more so I want to let go of things. Another list is coming to think hard about and being honest with me.

    best
    Annie

    • Rachel

      Hey Annie — I’m glad we got your gears turning so quickly! You saying that “I want so much to let go of things” reminds me of a Cheryl Richardson quote: “A high quality life is much more about what you take away than what you add.” Just some more food for thought!

  • TIm

    Thanks. This is helpful to me. I have been recovering from a head injury that has kept me from working for 2 years. Now the rubber is about to meet the road again and I feel lost. I am still suffering enough that I am far from my normal self, but due to a current lack of adequate medical care and insurance issues, I need to start seriously considering going back to work anyway. I’m 55 years old. Most all jobs in my area of education and experience (which are few and far between) would require moving away, which my wife and family do not want to do. So I need to motivate myself to find and work a job that is not on the top of list of favorites. This includes trying to convince myself and potential employers of who I am and what I can do. That ain’t easy, especially when I’m more like Rachel’s reality list and employers are looking for someone on her want to want to be list.

    • Rachel

      I feel for what you’ve been through, Tim! That sounds incredibly challenging. There’s always a fine line to walk between being realistic and caring for yourself and your family in a prudent, financial sense, and taking care of your needs on a higher level. I hope, as much as humanly possible, that you’ll try to wait out an opportunity that feels right for you, and that you can feel good about taking.

  • Lynn

    Perfect article for me. 55 and rethinking life. Thank you!!

  • Celeste

    “When you give yourself permission to be who you are, you make peace with yourself.” THIS is everything I needed to hear today. Love this post! Currently working in a job that ticks all the “want to wants” and hating it. Now just to figure out what I actually want and give myself permission to go for it. Easier said than done, but one can only try! Thanks as always ladies.

    • Kristen Walker

      Celeste — Isn’t it such a huge relief to realize you can finally let go of the “want to wants” and just focus on discovering what you really, honestly desire? Now you’re in the exploratory process of figuring out, “OK, so what DO I actually want then?” And if you treat it like a lighthearted, fascinating self-exploration process, you can actually have fun with it! I hope you’ll keep us updated on your journey. 🙂

  • Beth

    Loved this post! It really described the similar feelings I have been experiencing. I’m 24 years old and have absolutely no idea what I want right now. I have a twin brother who is the complete opposite of me! He’s the hustler you were referring to! He’s such a go-geter,grind time kind of person and I’m not. I want to have that mentality (but honestly I don’t). I just want it because the people around me have it. Or maybe its because I haven’t found “my thing” so the inspiration isn’t there yet? I “want” to be the hustler but it’s just not me! Thanks for the reassurance!

    • Kristen Walker

      Beth — It’s perfectly normal (and WAY more common than you realize) to still be figuring out what you want in your career in your 20s (and even well beyond that!), but I’m sure that uncertainty feels way harder when your twin brother has so much direction and “go-getter” energy. Here’s the thing — you can absolutely admire and respect your brother’s hustler spirit, but that definitely doesn’t mean it’s the only (or even the best) way to get what YOU want. {Personally, thinking about “hustling” all the time makes me want to go take a nap, so I’m totally with you.} Your path may unfold more slowly and organically than his, but I promise it’s going to feel so much better TO YOU.

  • Sara

    Yes! I was sharing today that though I’ve scored as an INFJ on Meyer Briggs, I think I had been forcing the “J”, because I want to be a type A go-getter. If I’m honest, I’m really more an INFP – I like spontaneity and bursts of inspiration, and want to be flexible. Maybe I’m somewhere in between J and P, but I was convincing myself that one was better, and I should try to be that. But, no more. Accepting who I am creates space to be the best version of myself. I enjoy the blog and appreciate you so much, Rachel!

    • Rachel

      Totally! In fact, I see a lot of people taking assessments (and our quiz, too!) from a place of “want to want” versus “this is actually me.” I’m glad you picked up on that difference. 🙂

  • Andrea

    About the ugly backyard: call in the friends for working bees and Very Small Scale plantings.

    Think Zen and simple and shady reading/working havens – without plants. (Sun sails, decent paving, elegant containers, a corner for lounging with friends, a sturdy table to take the mugs and platters …)

    Put out The Word for an ally who loves to create practical gardens for non-gardeners and who can help you realise your backyard ‘picture’ without loading you with a tonne of work and a learning curve steep enough to dizzy a fly. (A gardening coach?!)

    Avoid the big box stores.

    Spring is on its way. At least some of the desires could be let loose to come to reality. It doesn’t all have to happen like a makeover show. 😉

  • Daniel

    Thank you. This makes me feel so much better than I had before. I thought I was slow, or stupid. Because everyone else seems to be more ahead of their progress on. You guys helped a lot with this article and I will attempt to attend your seminar. I am just not as interested in all the same things as everyone around me seems to be. I am however beginning to take interest in some areas.

    • Rachel East

      Hey Daniel,

      If there’s anything we want our listeners and readers to know, it’s that there’s nothing wrong with you for being wired the way you are! And if I could change one thing about just about everyone, it would be that people would feel comfortable trusting their own judgment and not default to thinking that something must be wrong with THEM if they don’t seem to match or fit in with the world around them. I’m glad you feel more permission to just be you! 🙂

  • Victoria

    This is a great post! It is funny that you are talking about the things in life we all feel we should want because two weeks ago I asked myself something similar to this pertaining to a car. I need a second car because my standby could need work soon. Anyway, I started feeling more pressure to make a lot more income because of this need. The thing is I turned the need into a luxury car that more than likely I can never ever afford which made me feel “behind in life”. But this opened up the question of, “do you want that luxury car for yourself or for “self-worth” and showboating?” Then to see this article is amazing. Helped me to realize that I live a lot of my life trying to live up to what I think I should have or be doing. My truth is that I am also an introvert who can’t smile all the time although I want to (fake face), hustle and go get 24/7 just feels empty and do things against my will to make money when in truth I will never feel that I have enough money. I appreciate this post because it is a reminder to be who I am born to be instead of faking which takes so much energy.

    • Rachel East

      Yes, totally! It’s crazy how we can shame ourselves into thinking we need some big ticket item in order to impress or show off for other people! In my mind, if people are capable of being impressed by that, they’re likely NOT the people you actually want around you. The people who are best to have in your corner are those who respect and appreciate you for your inner qualities–your intelligence, kindness, sense of humor, etc. 🙂