Have you found what you want?

I ask clients this question at the end of each coaching session, making sure that loose ends are addressed before we part. The client’s job is to show up, be ready to work and ask for what they need. Many clients get edgy around that asking part, preferring to focus on what they can give. Asking implies neediness, an inability to function on our own in a culture that celebrates independence and self-made lives. But coaching, at its core, is about knowing and receiving what we most want, in order to pass that on to others in our own practices.

My great joy in life is writing. Journaling each morning has been my routine for more that thirty-five years. The feeling of pen on paper captures me, heart and soul. But even that feeling wasn’t enough to motivate me to ask for my favorite pen back after a friend borrowed it and assumed ownership. We’re talking about something that happened in high school decades ago, but I still remember feeling powerless to ask for what I knew was mine. Whether or not it was in my possession, it belonged to me.

That memory haunted me for a long time, but now it teaches me how asking for what I want, what is mine, is the beginning of belonging. Fear stops most of us in our tracks: fear of being wrong; fear of being judged; fear of being disliked. What if she had given me my pen back and simply gotten the same kind for herself? What if I looked petty? What if she wouldn’t be my friend anymore? Asking for what we want, what we feel belongs to us, brings up all kinds of old fears and reservations, old stories that do haunt us. But in asking we first receive the opportunity to let go of what was, making room for what we want, what belongs to us now. The pen is long gone, but my daily writing practice is more than a personal pleasure. I teach other people how to use journaling as a tool to understand what they want and to ask for it.

Asking for what we want is the beginning of belonging. Receiving what we want is the next step. Until we are willing to welcome what we say we want into our lives, be it love, career or money, our sense of belonging is always at stake and out of reach. In the end it is not about the love, career or money, but about whom we want to be in order to receive what it is we are seeking. In high school I suspect I didn’t feel myself to be enough of a writer to demand my pen. That has changed. I am a writer and a journaler. Writers need their pens. In fact, some of us are rather funny about them. I always ask for my pen now.
Using what we have received is where we belong, contributing our uniqueness, serving the greater good in being ourselves. We must consciously choose to belong. Settling for what we think can get is also a choice, one that many people make. For all the reasonable, common sense answers people will give for settling for less than they believe is possible for them, settling is settling.

Have you found what you want? Have you claimed all that belongs to you? Living those questions is abundant life.

Author's Bio: 

Cory L. Kemp, a native of Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin, brings a background in communications, women’s studies and pastoral ministry to her work as a communication coach. Putting into practice the journaling skills she created and teaches, Cory founded Communication Leadership, helping healers, coaches, designers and teachers collect their thoughts, organize and savor their everyday lives. Cory’s unique skill-based Conversation: Journaling program gives you practical tools and simple structures applicable for many aspects of your personal and professional life. Over thirty-five years of journaling experience gives Cory an informed perspective on life challenges and how to transform them into triumphs.