You think you want something, but you either aren’t deciding. Or you aren’t committing. Or you aren’t taking action.
Because you either don’t want it that badly…
Or you want it too much — and you’ve made your self worth about getting it.
1.) You don’t want it that badly
Because you want other things more.
Maybe security is more important to you
Doing things “right” is more important to you. You value certainty too much.
You values the norms, values and expectations of society, and you are careful not to violate any rules, especially those regarding the “right” path in life, and “quality” is more important to you than experimentation. You want to use the tried and true method of getting things done rather than take a chance on something that hasn’t proven to be reliable. Because if you do what is most widely regarded as “right,” you’re at less risk of being wrong. But this also makes you highly resistant to change — especially when it’s from you.
Solution: understand that:
- Change and uncertainty are a part of life, and
- The only thing we control in life is our own response to it
Maybe approval is more important to you
Maybe you care more about what people will think…
You feel the compulsive need not to upset anyone — and for them to like you.
You’re probably a really great person — generous and attentive with everyone in your life, at work and in love. However, you probably also require approval from other people, and while being in tune with others’ needs is great, your self worth is also tied up in extrinsic validation, and it’s holding you back.
Maybe you like “the next best thing” more than any *one* thing
You love ideas and brainstorming, and you come alive when you can sit and think about them all, layering new ideas on top of old ones and going down rabbit holes of different options.
You can’t help but scan the horizon for new opportunities, and even when you’ve got a good thing going, you still love abandoning it to pursue what could be even better. But your never-ending quest for “the next thing” keeps you from getting “it.”
Heidi Priebe wrote,
“Although possibilities are wonderful, if you refuse to choose something and stick with it, you’ll miss out on so much more than you realize and keep chasing the wind, which ultimately will leave you empty.”
Solution: if you pursue everything, you’ll get nothing. Pick one thing in the area you want; use other areas of your life for novelty.
Maybe you like thinking about the idea more than you like pursuing it
Ideation is your sweet spot. Execution, not so much.
It’s not so much that you’re constantly chasing new things — you may just have one great idea. You might even have a rough plan for accomplishing it! But you just sit on it. You’re being passive and allowing your own life to pass you by.
Heidi Priebe wrote,
“Eventually you will reach a point of realizing you haven’t achieved as much as you thought you would, and it will eat away at you — especially knowing that you could have done something about it.”
Solution: if you want it so bad, take action.
2.) OR you want it too much — and you’ve made your self worth about this thing
Nothing is ever good enough
It’s not that you’re in the constant pursuit of “something better,” with each decision layered on top of previous decisions like some real-life game of leapfrog.
It’s rather that you’re in the pursuit of “the one thing,” but nothing is ever good enough to do.
You want That Perfect Partner. Or That Perfect Job. Or The Perfect Body.
Or The Perfect Business Idea. (That one’s mine.)
The reason you don’t have this thing is because you made the thing into something it shouldn’t be, and you’ve hung too much of your self worth on it.
You’re a perfectionist
But not necessarily in the stereotypical sense.
You may not be detail-oriented or neurotic or have all elements of your life fine-tuned. But you probably are a “rejector,” someone who deems all options in whatever area you struggle with “not good enough,” discarding based on their perceived flaws for fear they will reflect back as flaws in you.
In Heidi Priebe’s words, you might be:
“Prone to deliberating over their options to a detrimental extent — trying so hard to pinpoint the best of all possible options… attempting to always seek out the most perfect situation — and refusing to take a chance on anything less.”
And you might spend a lot of time in your head trying to figure out the best solution (me), or you spend a lot of time with yourself, holding out, until you find the thing — or person — you “deserve.”
“Although not settling is a good thing, you ruin your life without meaning to by striving so hard for the picture you have in your mind that you don’t give anything else a chance. Sometimes what is ‘perfect’ doesn’t actually exist, or may not be the best for you anyway- and you don’t want to spend all your time thinking about the perfect situation while amazing things pass you by in the process.”
I admit — and have shared before — that this is my thing. I do it with work. I don’t, however, do it with love.
Which is why I know the solution. Because in the same sense that I struggle with picking a business idea, some of my friends talk about finding The Ideal Partner, and I sort of look at them, head cocked to the side like a dog, thinking,
“What the hell, fam… you’re making this way harder than it needs to be.”
Love is easy if you just let people be people. If you let your partner exist foremost as themselves, and only secondarily as icing in your life. They are not a reflection of your value, or a manifestation of your self worth. And successful love is only partly about finding a partner that will foster it, and largely about the effort you put in once they’ve been found. Believing this is part of the reason I was able to find such an incredible partner, and built a bomb-ass relationship that makes us both super happy. (It’s just a matter of transferring this belief over to the business.)
It’s about lightening up, and no longer assigning and loading so damn much on it. Work is easy if you just let work be work. A business is easy if you just let the business be the business.
Stop asking so much of this thing. Stop making it about your self worth.
It’s not about lowering your standards. It’s about raising them.
It’s about setting higher-quality standards that aren’t muddied by garbage.
Stop holding yourself to a long list of bullshit in a partner, like “must love dogs,” if you know what you really want is someone who “understands” you. Stop thinking your happiness hinges on getting every detail right.
You don’t need every detail right to be happy. You just need to get the big things right.
The only people who should qualify partners by “must love dogs” (or “favorite food is lasagna” or “Bears fan” or “likes to hike” or “loves to laugh”) are the ones who don’t struggle with bigger things, like being deeply understood by others. (Some of those people are reading this now and thinking this pertains to them too. But you know if you are someone who feels deeply misunderstood by 99% of people, so you also know if feeling understood is a top priority in a partner.)
When you have top priorities that actually matter, stop screening for bullshit like the way they dress, or their hair, or their nose, or what they drive. None of those things matter in getting what you need most (unless this is truly the extent of what you want most), and searching for them will detract from it.
When I found my partner, I only focused on 2.5 things: emotional stability / emotional security, critical thinking, and friendship (laughter and being understood.)
We can do this sort of hyper-focusing for anything in life.
- Let the thing simply be the thing, and not a reflection of your value or self-worth as a person.
- Have fun with it, and lighten the hell up.
- Define higher-quality standards, and focus solely on the 1–3 things that actually matter to getting what you actually want out of the thing.