What-is & Wanted vs. Unwanted: what you crave

Some people are lucky. They’ve always known what they crave. Others (like me) have done the heavy lifting of exploration to figure it out.

And still others are waiting.

Hoping it will become clear. Hoping for a flash of insight.

Well, the flash may indeed come, but what if it doesn’t?

And while you’re waiting, you certainly aren’t in the driver’s seat of your life. Wouldn’t digging in and figuring it out be better than just hoping and waiting?

Here are 5 questions to help you figure out what you crave.

1. When do you lose track of time and get lost in the flow? Noticing when you’re fully and full-on engaged is a big clue to what you crave. Being lost in flow is a big pointer from the universe saying, Look here! Look here!

How do you know when you’re in a state of flow? It’s when you forget the outside world. You’re fully immersed in the task at hand, completely focused, creative, and productive. Oh, and you feel deep enjoyment. That’s the best part.

2. What did you dream of doing when you were a kid? What you crave today may not be found in the specifics of yesterday, but the essence of that dream is a big juicy clue.

The past holds so many clues to who you really are and what you’re meant to be doing. As you think back, don’t be too literal. Make the distinction between the packaging of your childhood dreams and the essence of those dreams.

For instance, I loved writing as a kid and even dreamed of seeing my name on best-selling novels. Well, I’m not that kind of writer, but I am a blogger with over 500 blog posts under my belt.

So I’m very much a writer and the seed—the essence—was there all along. It just took me a couple decades to get reacquainted with the fact that writing is something I crave.

3. What do you see others doing that you wish you could too? This isn’t about getting stuck in envy or standing on the sidelines admiring.

Taking a close look at what sparks you about what others are doing is another clue to what you crave.

When you look around, what do you see others doing that resonates? How do you see others living that makes you think, If only… What do you notice about the work and passions and pursuits of others that leaves you hungry?

  • What feeling are you after?
  • What experience do you want?
  • What dream have you been deferring?
  • What lifestyle is waiting for you?

Look to others for inspiration. Distill what it is they have that you want. Look to what you covet to figure out what you crave.

4. What would you love to do even if you didn’t get paid? This doesn’t mean you won’t or shouldn’t get paid for actually doing what you crave. But start with the shortlist of what you’d do just for the love of doing it.

I crave impact. writing. being a catalyst. massive flexibility. working to live not living to work. cultivating one-on-one relationships. shining a light on what people really want for themselves.

I happen to get paid for doing all these things. But it helped to get clear that THESE things are what I crave before I figured out how to translate them into a livelihood.

Creating what you crave could show up in the form of a career change. That’s what happened for me. But it could also be on a smaller scale or in a different arena. It could be a side hustle or passion project.

Whatever it ends up being, start with what you would do purely for the love of how it feels, who it allows you to be, and what it lets you create and contribute.

5. What do people come to you for that you also delight in doing? That last part is really important. For instance, I have a friend who’s a whiz about all things technology. She’s known for this expertise and everyone goes to her for computer advice.

But that’s definitely not her sweet spot. While technology is something she’s really savvy about, it’s not central to what she craves.

So be careful to find the intersection between what you’re known for AND what you love.

In exploring any one of these questions, you may find yourself thinking, But how? HOW would I actually be/do/get what I crave?

Be clear: HOW is another step. Be even clearer: You can’t begin to create what you crave until you know WHAT it is.

What crave-finding question would you add to the list?