Wants vs. Needs: which one runs your life?

Wants vs. Needs: which one runs your life?

Have you taken the time lately to analyze the various wants and needs in your business and life?  They are very different and that difference happens to be everything when it comes to designing your lifestyle.

Why?  One concept: choice.

You are born with your needs; you choose your wants.

The most common first question in a conversation: "How's it going" or "How are you?"  What's the difference between those that answer "Fine" and those that emphatically answer "Great!"?  The former get by on what they need, and the latter aggressively go for what they want.  They choose to be happy.  I know times are tough and things don't always go your way, but getting what you want is a life choice.  Deny it or believe it, but it's an objective truth.

Goals = Wants

The other day, I had a business meeting with a financial planner friend of mine. He said something that struck a chord with me, and resonates throughout this post:

"I only want clients that have real goals."  This is very different from a business owner saying "I need 4 new clients."  He is clear on his own business goals, as opposed to being driven to only achieve his needs.  His goals include seeking others with goals to associate himself with.

That's powerful, because "goals" are another word for "wants" or "desires".  Desires come from passion and passion is what gets you the things you want.

I shared with him that through my coaching training I have become aware of a very similar concept: You never coach someone on something they do not have a deep desire for.  It's a useless endeavor, wasting their money and both our time.  Therefore, that's something I attempt to make proof positive for sure of in my first session with every client.  If they don't have the desire to attain the thing they say they are there for, I call their bullshit and get to what it is they truly want.  Sometimes this takes a great deal of time, even several sessions.  I've heard of it taking over a year.

Here is some awareness for you: can you think of a person who "gets by" only on what they need?  I can.  I passed them on the street corner this morning on my way to re-up on coffee.  This the far end of the spectrum.  On the other end are the happiest people in the world.  They may have few possessions or they may be insanely rich, but they are happy because they have what they want, and therefore are at peace.

Where are you on the spectrum?


What this awareness means to me is that:

Passion and desire lie behind each person's own definition of success.

Many times-like always-there are hurdles and tolerances to eliminate to get on the path to achieve your goals, your wants.  That is no small task.  But when you figure out what it is you want out of life and business, when you find your passion and your desires, and you actively choose to go get that, your journey begins.

I don't care what you want.  But WANT it.  Don't settle for your minimal needs.  Find out what it feels like to truly desire something.  Feel the passion.  If it doesn't keep you up at night, challenge yourself: Consider that you could be wrong about what you think you want.

When you find your passion, when you are sure of it, a sense of determination and excitement (often characterized as "anxiety") will overcome you.  Your passion will consume you.  The anxiety you feel is the discomfort of uncertainty.  Not uncertainty around what you want, but around that of leaving your comfort zone, and not knowing what's coming next.  Be ok with that, because it means you are leaving the same-old and entering a new place: growth and progression.

Having trouble finding your passion?  Get a little help.

At the core of the coaching profession is helping people find their true wants.  Its continued growth is proof of the importance (understatement!) that desires play in the success of every person, as they choose to define it.  Good coaches help people figure out their desires and help them go after them.  I'm not trying to be salesy, but it really is worth the time and effort (and it's free) to figure out if coaching might help you find your passions, whether it's with us (link to our inquiry form) or another coach you know.  If it's not free, find a different coach, because any coach worth anything will let you try their services for free.  Also, make sure the coach you choose is either credentialed by the International Coaching Federation, or is enrolled in a ICF Certified Training Program seeking their credentials.  The letters to look for after a coach's name are ACC, PCC or MCC.  Those are the only credentials offered through the ICF.  If you question the credentials of a coach, just ask them.

So what do you want?  What do you desire?

If your answer is, "I want to sit on my ass all day and do nothing," I respect that, even though I think once given this unique opportunity, you will end up desiring more.  But you need to respect that to be the best ass-sitter in the world, you've got some hurdles.  You need to be able to take care of your basic needs like some food, some cover, and probably some clothes too.  But you can plan to make that your reality if you are determined.  Be warned, however, that if you bring this desire into a coaching session with me, you should expect a great deal of me challenging you on this goal.  :)

Chelsea Callanan is the founder of Happy Go Legal, a multi-media resource for new and aspiring legal professionals.  Mrs. Callanan is a 2008 graduate of the University of Maine School of Law, and currently practices at Murray, Plumb & Murray in Portland, Maine, focusing on corporate and intellectual property needs of business of all sizes.