Most people are really good at getting everything they never wanted.

In coaching, that’s one of the issues we deal with: Clients come to us because they feel lost about what makes them happy and what it is they want from life. Or, if they know what it is, they are not sure how to pursue it.

Isn’t it ironic? We are all pretty smart when it comes to our day-to-day activities, we understand complicated issues, we deal with advanced technologies, handle many projects at the same time, and keep up with the latest information. Why, then, is it so hard to find out what we want and get it? The answer lies in us believing in our own misleading thoughts and good ideas of how things should be.

I had that experience recently. It somehow got into my head that I should take my business in a certain direction. I talked to people about it and they agreed. “That sounds great, it’s what everybody is doing these days! You should talk to such and such, he is an expert in that field, etc.” I followed down that path and ended up frustrated and confused. What seemed to work well for others did not work for me at all. While the experience was exhausting (not to mention expensive), it opened my eyes to the fact that not only is it hard for ourselves to find out what we want, others don’t know how to help us in getting on the right track, either.

So, what to do? One of the secrets I use in coaching is that I don’t listen people. Words are deceptive and most stories are not true. We are all very good at lying to ourselves and to others: “How are you?’ “Oh, I am fine, just fine.” Have you ever been on a subway train going from Manhattan to Queens at 5 or 6 o’clock in the afternoon? Take a good look around and you’ll see how fine everybody really is. We are also good at pursuing things that don’t light us up, just because they seem such good ideas (as with my business).

Instead of listening to a person’s story, listen to their aliveness, to what makes them expand and glow. If the eyes are the window to the soul, paying attention to what lights someone up will tell you what that person’s desire is. Try it out, it’s really fun. Next time you talk to someone, pay attention to what makes them sparkle and when you see it, tell them. If nothing seems to have much energy, change the topic and ask some questions that get them fired up. It’s like the warm and cold game we play as kids. Follow the aliveness, the topics that have most juice and don’t engage in conversations that drag you down.

Let me know how that’s working for you and how I can be of help. If we all learn how to read people better, the world will be a much happier place and more of us will get our true needs met.

As always, thank you for reading,



Photo Source: Striatic via Flickr under a Creative Commons License