What Do You Really Want?

When the coffee mug was empty, the light brown milk-coffee mixture left a soft residue around the interior of the cup. She’d been there since 9.

My Americano (I don’t think it was really decaf) came in a paper cup. I added cream. We sat down to talk.

There is something brilliant about engaging with mentors and coaches at every step of one’s career. Whether you’re self-employed or part of a big operation, it helps to gain the clarity and perspective of someone outside the picture to help you get clear on what you want.

“Write it down on paper – what you really want,” she said. “You ideal audience, who are they, what do you want to talk about?”

Such a simple directive, and yet so powerful.

Every few months, I do this. I sit down in front of the computer screen and I project out six months or a year until I gain the clarity you need to get where you want to go. If you don’t articulate the kind of life you want, how will you ever live it?

And so this morning, the gray-bleak almost-spring day dawned in its acquiescence, and we sat in the coffee shop overflowing with effort and enthusiasm for knowing one another. She’s a friend I’ve had for so many years now, and a mentor too. Her counsel is valuable beyond words.

Could it be that some of us are afraid to know what we want? As long as we swirl in the morass of not knowing, we can whine about I just don’t know. And of course, we can complain about never getting there because how would it even be possible?

Write it down, she said.

Sit down and make time for myself. When we commit our ideas, dreams and beliefs to paper, they have a greater chance of being realized.

On Saturday, I sent a text to a dear friend who is a Christian pastor. We had just hiked as a family in the open air, on our first day of our spring holiday. Passover, commemoration of our exodus out of slavery and into freedom. Our time of fleeing, then wandering, of finding our way in a brave new world.

I texted her with wishes for a meaningful Easter. I wished her peace and quiet as a family on Saturday before the chaos of divine enlightenment the very next day, with her at the podium, the congregation gathered in front of her.

Thank you, my friend, and a happy Passover to you. She was the friend who told me the Hindu idea of God residing inside each of us is actually a Jewish concept to begin with. Look at Adam and Eve, she said, made in God’s image. 

It takes voices outside of ourselves to guide us back to the Self. I am grateful for my friends who serve as guiding lights in this life, shining onto the path forward, standing at my back, prodding me along.

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