Good to see you back, and if this is the first of my letters you are reading, good to have you here.
As a coach I often get asked questions like these:
Should I do an MBA?
What career option should I choose out of X and Y?
I'm working in company X, but I have option Y, should I take it?
What skills should I learn to make my career strong?
I listen very patiently. Once they are done speaking, I have only one question I always ask - "What do you really want?"
We rarely take time to ask ourselves this question. Here is a piece written by my colleague at the Enterprise India Fellowship that I believe many of us will relate to.
The title seems like the opening of an argument in a relationship.
Either one getting agitated "What do you want? Why do you always do this? What's going on your mind"
Honestly, I don't think there is anything wrong with these questions, the tone at which it is delivered whether right or wrong, is a different thing altogether. It's good to be curious right, even during an argument. But most of the time we don't have an answer to this question, or sometimes what we say is just an emotional outburst which might not necessarily be the answer.
This is just one such situation.
Another situation where we often encounter this question is when we talk to ourselves. (you do talk to yourself right? Or is it just me?)
Suddenly time stops, and you catch yourself wondering "What do you really want". Looking at your reflection in the window, catching yourself amidst the traffic sitting in the car waiting for the signal, staring at yourself while making your hair in the mirror — this question pops up.
And do you have an answer?
Let me rephrase the question, what is the context of this answer? Is it your career, relationship, or life in general?
How do you encompass so many things as a response to a 4-word sentence and a punctuation? It triggers confusion.
I honestly cannot answer it. Not because this question creates a disturbance in my mind or because I don't know what I want. I simply don't have an answer. I can want all the world today and tomorrow I might just want to stay in bed and sleep all day.
Now you might think, okay Ankita you're just indecisive, but that's not the case.
I think I just want to take life as it is, however, whatever is happening. If it's causing me pain, I'll stand in the rain or under the shower and let my soul experience that I am still alive no matter how deep the wound is. If I'm happy I'll dance to a 90s song and get dressed up and go out with people dearest to me. If I'm numb, I'll lay in bed and avoid the world. If I'm feeling ambitious I'll work till 4 am and wake up with a smile the next day to slay again. My wants are different in different situations, and they will have different reactions.
When it comes to more serious questions like - what I want to do in my career, life and relationships - I haven't thought about it like it's the end of the world. I want to do something epic in all these sections of my life, but what I know for sure is that no matter what I do, who am I with, where I am - I want to live, breathe and experience everything that makes me feel something. The moment I don't feel anything I'll know I don't want this.
Isn't this the formula we apply for relationships too? When you hold someone's hand, what do you feel? A rush of excitement, a wanting to go closer?
If you feel that, you know you want to give it a shot.
If you don't feel anything you know something is off and you don't want to pursue it.
The same is for everything in life for me. If I feel - I'll stay even after things go haywire, if I don't feel I'll slowly start walking away. Walking away will make me feel numb, I'll spend some days in bed, loathing my existence, and then one fine day I'll be back to life as I feel better. Better could be as simple as listening to the kind of music that doesn't contribute to my pain, but instead, the one that will make me groove in my blanket when I won't have the strength to get up and face the world for yet another day.
Don't ask me what do I want, ask me what do I want right now and I'll share things that I want in that situation, then and there.
What do I want now?
- I want to go on a hike
- I want to experience a rush
- I want to sit close to massive trees and be with them
- I want to write write write
- I want to paint on a massive canvas
- I want to make a kick-ass career decision
- I want to give love and accept love
(not in that order, but however it comes)
I know all this cannot be done in a day for sure, but this is my feeling right now and I want to hold on to this. To what I want right now.
If you're reading this, I'd love to know what do you want right now? It could be as simple as "I want to eat rasgulla" (I know an excellent place)
Let me know!
Hey there, I'm Ankita and this short piece you just read is written by me. I'm a part of Enterprise India Fellowship, a year long Entrepreneurship, leadership and self development program for college students.
In this letter I've written, "I want to make a kick-ass career decision", 2days later I actually made one. What started as a social media manger/graphic designer role at Enterprise, transitioned to handling marketing and now I'm a business partner at Enterprise.
Enterprise is a partner in my journey of growth, and in our collective vision of empowering youth take the right decision about their Career.
I'm in it because I believe everyone has the choice to make their career, and the choice needs to be right one for themselves, not for what the norm is. The choice begins with self discovery.
I love reading books, exploring how people think and someday I hope I can say "I've tasted every potato dish that exists in the world."
One of my favorite short stories : https://www.physics.princeton.edu//ph115/LQ.pdf
A song I've been humming to : https://open.spotify.com/track/556jf0hyPQuLNHuNWo12I5?si=L1Y7BbXQTqii2-sIrgufiA&dl_branch=1
It's a tough one - 'What do you want?'
I love the way Ankita looks at this question in such a simple and straightforward manner. Most of us get confounded by this question. We get paralysed. We escape it.
The trick is to keep it simple, relatable (to yourself), and open to evolve as life brings new experiences to us.
Here are a few thoughts that struck me as I read Ankita's piece:
1 - Think small. You don't have to want big things. I want to be close to my parents. I want to smile a lot. I want to have fun.
2 - Think important. Don't go by other's standards of what is important. To me, strength and a sense of individuality was an important quality I wanted in my life partner. I got it.
3 - Think now. If you genuinely think about your own needs right now, you will usually not be wrong. Be true to yourself and think what you really want right now. I want to finish this letter and share my authentic self with you.
4 - Think long-term. I want to work with awesome, beautiful, dedicated, capable and fun loving people. For this even if it a little longer to achieve my goals, I'm ok.
5 - Think relaxed. Don't stress too much. It's ok if you don't have answers. It's still worth holding on to the question.
Get into the habit of keeping this question with you - in your work, in relationships, in situations, in decisions. It will help you clarify your thinking, and great reduce overthinking.
Would love to know what thoughts struck you, as you read this piece.
I read and reply to each and every email I get. So do write in whenever you feel like.
With love and curiosity,