Get What You Want: Challenge Your Assumptions

When coaching my clients I challenge their assumptions. 

I challenge their assumptions about who they are, what they believe, how other's will respond to them, and what options are truly open to them. I do this because we all make too many assumptions. They prevent us fulfilling our lives - at home and at work. I'll now share how I challenged my own assumptions once. I don't do it all the time. I'm not perfect. But it conveys when we do challenge what we assume great things become possible. 

How does Summer living in Los Angeles for 4 weeks sound?

The picture for this blog entry is from my trip to Santa Monica beach in 2012 when I did just that.

For those of you who like the idea of living in this sunny city (or anywhere other than home), your next question might be "How is that possible?" Some might even jump straight away into thinking it's not;

"How could I afford to live overseas for 4 weeks?"

"How could I get holiday for that period of time?"

"How could I get my employer to let me be not doing my job for that long - wouldn't that endanger my career?"

Many might stop thinking soon after that point; assuming it's not possible. But we all need to recognise that this is an assumption - not necessarily a fact. 

When you accept this and believe there can be positive answers to the questions above you then give your brain permission to start working its magic on figuring out the 'How'. 

My 'How' consisted of the following:

  1. I researched how I could reduce the key costs of living abroad - mainly flights, food, and accommodation. I was flexible on flight dates to bring down cost. I booked an AirBnB apartment, which eliminated parking costs (most hotels charge), since it came with free parking. The apartment cost 40% less than many hotels nearby. I got my own kitchen, so I could buy food and not spend loads on restaurant meals and room service (this happens when staying in hotels). If you've not tried AirBnB yet you can use my discount code here - feel free to ask me for tips and advice in the comments. 
  2. I found out how I could get 4 weeks off of work by... asking. Many people I speak to would not get to this stage. Many fear what their employer would think of them for requesting it. I thought about the benefits for my employer. I'd been working long hours for several months and needed to refresh and re-energise. The business would benefit from this, since it would prevent burnout. I told them this. They saw the value. I listened to the concerns of the business about me being away for 4 weeks (What if there's an emergency while you're away? What if we need to contact you? Who will cover your work load?). Then I figured out the 'How' for each of those. 
  3. I then found out how that period of time off would not endanger my career - by making myself unneeded. I started thinking and talking to my employer about this trip 6 months before I did it. Their key concern was that bad things may happen because I wasn't around. So I thought about projects happening while I was away and made sure I trained colleagues who could cover for me on specific tasks. That gave them a chance to grow personally, since they got to learn about some of my responsibilities and learn new skills to cover my role. A win-win for me and them. For the tasks where I was essential I made sure I covered those aspects before I went on holiday. And for unexpected emergencies I agreed they could text me in that event (that way I didn't have to wade through e-mails while on holiday). That text thankfully never came :) 

Some people may read this blog entry and conclude the 'How' I've stated above is flawed, since it could never work for them and they may be 100% correct (provided they are not making any assumptions, which could be proven untrue). And if that's the case, its because my 'How' is not appropriate to their life circumstance. But that's not to say there isn't a 'How' that applies to them. It simply means they haven't yet taken the time to think through "How" they could do it given the constraints they live within.  

So now I invite you to think about what you want right now...

  1. What do you want?
  2. What assumptions are you making about yourself, your options, how people might react, and what is possible?
  3. What if you challenged your assumptions?
  4. What if you figured out your own 'How' for getting what you want?
  5. What if you did that whenever you wanted something and initially caught yourself thinking "That's impossible. Forget it."?

Feel free to ask questions in the comments below or share this blog with others. If you read comments you feel you can add something useful towards then please share your insight for the benefit of other readers.