When our Actions Clash with our Desires
He was a new client and it was his first day of coaching. I asked him a critical question, “What is it that you really, really want? What is the single most important thing to you at this point in your life?”
He responded with passion and energy. He declared, “More than anything, what I really, really want is to have a close, intimate relationship with my wife. I want us to be intimate physically, emotionally and intellectually. It’s important that we are on the same page and are headed in the same direction. I want us to spend quality time together and grow old together. Nothing is more important than that. Not my career, not my friends, not anything.”
He was an incredible client. He journaled rigorously – sometimes posting his thoughts 5, 6 and 7 times per day. He was determined to make the most of his coaching experience, and early on he made a decision to open himself up without holding anything back.
Approximately three weeks later, he wrote about a massive fight he had with his wife. The fight related to a disagreement about how to discipline their youngest son.
HE was upset with her decision to let their son spend the night out late, knowing how much he was struggling in school. He felt that she was doing him a disservice and that her lax attitude towards his responsibilities would be costly for him in the long run. SHE felt that he was being unreasonable and strict for no good reason. He was pissed off that she shoved aside his point of view and did what she wanted instead. He couldn’t look at her without feeling furious. He was so upset that that he couldn’t even be in the same room as her. He decided to sleep in the guestroom.
Our weekly coaching call happened to be the next day. I had responded to his journal, but as soon as I got on the phone with him I asked him the following question: “Do you remember what you said to me the first time we spoke?”
He asked me to remind him.
“You said that the single most important thing to you was that you wanted to be incredibly close with your wife. Do you remember that?”
He did. He agreed that closeness in his marriage is of utmost importance to him.
“Do you think that sleeping in the other room accomplishes that?” I asked.
He was silent.
He’s not the only one. We all do it all the time. We behave in ways that completely clash with our deepest desires. He wanted to be close with his wife, but sleeping in another room accomplished a diametrically opposite outcome. And all of us do it − we fall into thinking traps that prevent us from living in a way that is aligned with our deepest desires.
Unfortunately, my client didn’t realize this until I pointed it out.
Sometimes, we forget to focus on what we want because we want to be right. We want to win the fight. But in our quest to be right, we completely give up what we really, really want. We don’t just forget about what we want, we act in ways that completely contradict our deepest desires.
Why do we do this? The answer is that we are all infused with a set of limiting beliefs that prevent us from attaining what we really, really want. The solution is to pinpoint those beliefs, and to challenge them.
Are you living your deepest desires? Are your beliefs stopping you from getting what you really, really want?