In 2006 I attended a course in Atlanta to learn how to be a life coach. It was a week long, intense course. One of the exercises during the course was called “The List.” Ask yourself “What do I want?” and make a list of 10 items.
I thought to myself, really? Are you serious? I get to ask for what I want? This was a new concept for me because I was not taught to think of myself, but to put others first. I went along with the exercise and gave myself permission to make a list and to answer the question, what do I want?
I cannot remember all of the items, but I do remember;
I want to work part time. I want to spend more time on creative projects. I want to spend more time at the beach. I DO NOT want to work in the yard.
After we came up with our list, we were told to take it home and post it on the refrigerator. Again, the thought – Really? That sounded very bold to me and kind of scaring actually. It appeared selfish and now the challenge was to share it!
The following Monday after attending the course I posted the “What I Want” list on the refrigerator while my husband was at work. At the end of the day, I was sitting in the study working on the computer, and my husband came in the kitchen door. I heard his footsteps walking around in the kitchen and then the footsteps stopped. I KNEW he was reading the list and I froze with the thought of hearing yelling and screaming, you want WHAT?, is what I was expecting to hear.
Instead, I heard laughter. I walked into the kitchen only to receive a hug and he said, “I did not know that you did not like to work in the yard, I thought you liked to work in the yard.”
My response, “No, that is your thing, not mine. I would rather work on creative projects.”
After that, my husband, Tim, gave me permission to work on my creative projects on Saturdays instead of working in the yard.
Six years later when I was writing my first book, Listen to Your Heart She Knows Best, I asked Tim what he thought of that list and if he even remembered the list. His comment was, “Oh yeah, I remember that list! I appreciated it. I did not know what you wanted.”
For you: Here is what I want you to do and this may seem uncomfortable for you, but I encourage you to do it anyway. Make your own list. What do you want? Maybe it is only a few things, but write them down. What is important to you now and what do you want or need? Post it on the refrigerator and wait and see what kind of response you get. I guarantee this will open up conversation that needs to be spoken.
Encourage other members in your household to write their own list. You do not know what they want or need if they do not tell you. Again, this will open up your eyes and conversation. You will learn more about each other. Maybe consider it a family time, where everyone gets together at the table and comes up with their own list.
Now, it is 2014, eight years since I wrote the list. I can tell you that I am working part time. I do spend more time on creative projects and have a beautiful art studio. I only work in the yard when I want to and I go to the beach more often.
So, what do you want?
Can your list come into fruition? Absolutely. But it first must be recognized.