You Can’t Do Anything with a Broken "Want to" – Part Two

by Mark Sturgell

At the heart of everything we do at Performance Development Network is the goal of helping people who dream become leaders with vision. At the heart of living at The Intersection of Purpose and Now is becoming a leader with vision.

No matter if you have followers or not; we’re talking about whether you have set a purposeful direction for your own life that you can follow…if you do, the followers will come. What is your vision for a significant life? Your vision for how your authentic self-expression adds value through your relationships with others? Your vision for how you serve a purpose greater than your day-to-day living might currently be about? Your vision for what you want? Your vision for where you are going? Your vision for the person you are becoming? Your vision for an On-Purpose life?

So we are spending some time on our dreams – your dreams. Yesterday, I shared the Lesson of Dreaming Big since so many people have too few dreams or dream small. Your fieldwork was to begin your personal Dream Inventory of at least 100 dreams, and I gave you a couple of Dream Stimulation tools to get you going in the absence of having a professional coach.

Today, we get to the core of why some people live out their dreams – and why some do not. This is true regardless of whether your dreams are few or many, small or big.

Lesson 2 – Dream with a Powerful, Personal “Want to”
For a moment, think of a place you have never been but you REALLY want to go. (A tangible, real location on this earth, if you will.) Now ask yourself, if you REALLY want to go to this place, what is keeping you from going? Nothing? Think again, or put it this way: if you REALLY want to go, then why haven’t you already gone?

Now you are probably thinking of answers like these: money, time, family issues, fear, courage, other priorities, procrastination, lack of a plan, haven’t scheduled anything…or maybe a lack of desire. In other words, you haven’t gone because you just haven’t solved a variety of roadblocks, you don’t have a plan, or you lack real desire – you have a broken “Want to”.

Now consider one of your dreams you have listed already in your Dream Inventory. Choose one that seems important to you, at least for now. Turn your dream into a goal. I realize goal-setting is a whole other skill set that I’m not covering here, but make sure you state your dream as something specific that you can achieve with some effort and you give yourself a target date for achieving it. Ask yourself the following and similar questions:

  • How will my life be different if I achieve this dream?
  • What are the personal rewards I will experience if I achieve this dream?
  • What if I don’t pursue or achieve this dream: so what?
  • What are the consequences if I do not achieve this dream?

These will get you started on answering the key questions of:

“Why is this my dream?”
“Is this REALLY a goal that I am willing to pursue?”
“Am I willing to overcome great difficulties to accomplish this goal?”

You see, if you have a dream, yet when someone challenges you or asks you “Why that dream?” and you don’t or can’t go on into great detail of why and how you must pursue this…then you may be suffering from a “Broken Want to”.

If you really want something, you will have a passionate story to tell about why you want it and vivid description of what having or achieving it will be like for you.


We see “Broken Want tos” at work all the time. We are given goals to achieve by someone else – parents, teachers, spouses, supervisors – and our hearts just are not “into it”.

How to Fix a Broken “Want to”
There are several ways to fix a “Broken Want to”. Here are the basics. First, once you have that inventory of your 100+ dreams completed, set up a tournament much like the NCAA basketball tournament pairings that come out each March. Pair up your dreams “against” each other and ask this question to determine the winner of each round: Which one is most important to me now?

Keep this up until you come up with an overall winner. This won’t be easy, by the way. If you have earnestly made a list of dreams you truly want to have, do and become, you will be making difficult choices to come up with one winner. For now, though, that’s your task. Determine one winning dream for now.

Got it? Now turn that dream into a tangible, achievable, specific goal with a target date to achieve it. You may even struggle at this point – your dream may be the culmination of many goals. Select one and go for it. If you’re still struggling, consider hiring a coach or feel free to email me at askthecoach@pdncoach.com.

Several things may happen at this point: You may find an obstacle you cannot overcome; in that case, you may have to adjust your goal. You may find yourself procrastinating, putting off key actions that you know must occur to achieve your dream/goal; in that case, you probably have a broken “Want to”, so review the “Why” questions you asked yourself earlier. Or, if you have addressed your obstacles and fixed any broken “Want to” issues, you may find yourself passionately in pursuit of a dream once deferred.

Sweet dreams.

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About pdncoach

A Go-Giver business coach working with leaders whose success depends on the performance and productivity of others. I coach individual leaders and their teams... in small to mid-size businesses, ministries and non-profits... to accelerate their results and achieve dreams by getting past the difficult, strategic challenges of their current realities.
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