What do you want?

1.      What do you want?

2.      What are you willing to do to get it?

How often do we stop, pause and ask ourselves, “what do I want?”

What do I want

It could be in relation to our current role. Or our career.  Or even our life in general.

This is an important question.

But an even more powerful question, is the second one – “what am I willing to do to get it?”

This question can turn wishful thinking into reality.  It can transform a dream into an action plan.

So often we daydream about what we would like ‘it’ to be like – whatever ‘it’ may be. We stare longingly and wistfully into a vague future we would like to see unfold – whether it’s an impressive profit, a healthy annual result for the company or business unit we lead, ‘that’ promotion, a different job, a better relationship with our boss…or our spouse for that matter.

Don’t get me wrong.

Daydreaming is good.

Research has shown time and time again the beneficial links between positive visualisation and attainment of goals.

Day dreaming is a good thing

But daydreaming on its own is just not enough.

I’ll tell you what I mean. When I wanted to change my career from headhunting to executive coaching, I wanted it real bad – and for some time.  The daydreamin’ muscle was in full swing, let me tell ya that for nothin’.

But the dream only started becoming a reality when I dared to ask myself that even deeper second question – “what am I willing to do to get it?”

Other variations on this question include:

What am I willing to give up in order to achieve this?

On a scale of 1-10, how much do I want this? Where 1 is “I am going through the motions” and 10 is “hold me back right now, I’ll sell my mother” – just kidding Mum.

What tough decisions and crucial conversations am I willing to have in order to achieve this?

Ultimately, what needs to change in order for me to reach this goal?

For me, it started with some agonizingly tough conversations with others, a willingness to give up (initially at least) a big salary packet, the ability to let go of some skills which had held me in good stead in executive search, but which had no place in coaching (work in progress).

Finally, I had to be courageous. And I’m talking a giant dose of nerve and conviction.

The epitaph to this story (and this is still a journey unfolding), is that IT WAS TOTALLY WORTH IT.

This is the irony for me.

If you want it bad enough, you’ll do whatever it takes to make it happen.

Confucius summed it up in one statement…

“It is easy to hate and it is difficult to love. This is how the whole scheme of how things work. All good things are difficult to achieve; and bad things are very easy to get.”

What you have sacrificed in order to achieve your goals?

I would love to hear from you – please leave your comments below, share this post with your friends and ‘follow’ my blog for regular leadership musings.


  1. aquariancore on December 13, 2013 at 1:44 am

    I prefer to think more in the of not what I lost but what is the value to what I gained?

    • The Leader's Digest on December 13, 2013 at 10:38 pm

      Yes, absolutely! That’s a great way to look at it. Cheers, Suzi

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Suzi McAlpine

Suzi McAlpine is a Leadership Development Specialist and author of the award-winning leadership blog, The Leader’s Digest. She writes and teaches about accomplished leadership, what magic emerges when it’s present, and how to ignite better leadership in individuals, teams and organisations. Suzi has been a leader and senior executive herself, working alongside CEOs and executive teams in a variety of roles. Her experience has included being a head-hunter, an executive coach, and a practice leader for a division at the world’s largest HR consulting firm. Suzi provides a range of services as a Leadership Development Specialist, including executive coaching, leadership workshops and development programmes for CEOs, leadership teams and organisations throughout New Zealand.

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