How to Gain Clarity on Your Core Desires
Core Desires can free you from staying mired in deep ruts and routines.
A Matter of Life and Death
Craig Newton is fifty-four years old and has been overweight most of his adult life. For the past ten years he has often fluctuated between 75 and 130 pounds above the recommended weight for men of his height and build. Craig's physical activities have been reduced drastically as a result of his excess weight, but the more damaging effect has been his lowered self-esteem. As he has grown older, the health consequences have increased. Despite his weight, he is proud of his family, his marriage, and his career accomplishments. He is financially comfortable and involved in community activities outside work and family life.
When I first met Craig, he told me, "Over the years, I've thought my life would be complete if I could overcome my addiction to food. This is difficult for me to rationalize, especially since I have been disciplined and successful in most other areas of my life. I have set goals to lose weight many times, I have tried many of the weight-loss programs with only short-term success, and I have sought psychological therapy with only limited success. In the end, the pleasure and satisfaction I receive from food has always prevailed.
"About two years ago, I started having some eyesight fluctuations. I went to the doctor and was diagnosed with early stages of type 2 diabetes. The complications of this disease were explained to me in graphic detail, and I was immediately put on diabetic medication and received counseling from a nutritionist about the necessity of following the diabetic exchange diet.
"This threat to my health scared me into better eating habits. I immediately realized the positive results. During the next three months, I was focused on doing everything I had to do to overcome this terrible, and possibly deadly, illness. As a result, I lost fifty pounds, brought my sugar levels under control, and reversed the symptoms I had experienced. The doctor was so pleased with my progress he discontinued the diabetic medication.
"Yet with the health threat gone, I quickly returned to my old habits-regaining most of the weight I lost. I know that I am sitting on a ticking time bomb and I must again regain control of my behavior or face the fact that the quality of my life will severely diminish. It will come down to which desire is stronger-food or life.
"I wanted with all my heart to avoid the serious problems of type 2 diabetes. The minute I was clear about these problems, I had the strength from inside to do what needed to be done. I was able to lose the fifty pounds again in just three months because I could identify the necessity to lose weight as a genuine Core Desire.
"Interestingly, I never wrote down any goal. I just had the Core Desire for the problem to go away. And it did. But once again, as soon as the symptoms disappeared and I had lost the weight, I began to repeat the cycle of dangerous behavior. I had proven that I could lose weight when it was a Core Desire to do so.
"I learned that 'shoulds' have no power to motivate. I have a Core Desire to live, and keep my eyesight, but no matter what my mind-set is, it isn't enough. My heart must be in it, or nothing will change-even after receiving a death threat.
"All the logical thinking, goal-setting, visualization, or affirmations in the world could not help me lose weight. Until losing weight became a 100 on my Core Desire Scale, the weight stayed on. Once I discovered my true desire to be healthy, nothing would stop me. I did whatever it took to lose the weight again and stay healthy for my family, and for me."
When Earning More Money Means a New Lease on Life D. Scott Elder came to me realizing that over a period of years, there was still a big gap between where he was and where he wanted to go. Re seemed to be stuck. When he learned about Core Desires, he knew he had found the answer he had been seeking. Only after understanding Core Desires did he discover that he truly wanted to be a public speaker.
"I set out with great enthusiasm and determination to achieve this desire. After encountering many obstacles, I decided I would start my own seminar company. Within two years, starting with no money and three like-minded partners, we built up one of the largest seminar companies in the world, earning fifty-five million dollars a year, teaching people how to invest in the stock market with the help, and tools, available on the Internet. Today my family and I enjoy a lifestyle that, at one time in my life, would have seemed totally impossible for me to achieve. I now know that anything is possible if it is a Core Desire."
When teaching my concepts, I often ask for volunteers so I can demonstrate that what I teach works-and works quickly. I relish the chance to conduct live demonstrations of what I have taught, as these dramatically reinforce the principles.
Matters of the Heart
At a seminar I conducted in Florida, there were about five hundred people in attendance. The minute I asked for volunteers, Elizabeth, a beautiful young lady in her late twenties, leaped out of her chair. She was anxious to learn about, and apply, her Core Desires.
"What would you like to have in your life that you are not getting?" I asked her.
Elizabeth first said she wanted financial independence. I asked the audience to measure her response on a scale of 1 to 100; the audience felt her desire was only between 40 and 60. Elizabeth was indignant and quite defensive. She stomped her foot on the stage and said, "How dare you tell me what I want! I really do want financial security!"
Even though she was emotional, Elizabeth was speaking from her head, not her heart.
My next question completely disarmed her. I asked, "If you had financial security, what would it give you that you don't have?" This time she didn't say anything. She did, however, quickly glance at the man who had been sitting next to her. I caught that very slight action and asked her if her Core Desire had anything to do with him. She nodded.
So I then invited her friend, Greg, to the stage and asked him if she could speak from her heart regarding her Core Desire, since it involved him. He gave his permission.
When I asked Elizabeth the same question a second time, she was silent; she just looked down at the floor. When she looked up, she was crying. "I just want him to set a date for our wedding," she said.
I immediately turned to the audience and asked them to measure that response. Everyone could see and feel the depth of her emotion. Marriage was definitely a 100 on her Core Desire Scale.
What had happened to the financial security Elizabeth said she wanted? In less than two minutes, her desire had changed.
When I asked Greg if he loved this woman, he quickly said, "Yes. With all my heart." "Did you ask her to marry you?" He again said, "Yes." "Do you still want to marry her?" He said, "Absolutely. She's the greatest, she's my best friend." "How long have you been engaged?" "Six years," he replied sheepishly. "So, why haven't you set a date yet?"
Now it was Greg's turn to look down at the floor. When he raised his head to look at me-and the woman he loved-he said, with a quavering voice, "I'm afraid to set a date to get married until I can afford to take care of a wife and family."
I asked Elizabeth if she knew he felt that way. She said, "I had no idea." I then asked her, "Would you still marry Greg, as broke as he is?" "Yes. I would."
I then asked Greg if he knew Elizabeth would marry him even though he was broke. He was surprised, and speechless. He just shook his head as he fought back the tears. Greg's Core Desire, to keep from being embarrassed or feeling like a failure in the eyes of the woman he loved, was so strong that it had overridden his desire to marry Elizabeth.
Several months later I received a card from them telling me that they had married. All they needed was some help discovering their Core Desires and a little direction.
Money in the Bank
At a conference for banking professionals, I asked a volunteer to come to the stage. A man came up, saying he owned several banks and that his Core Desire was to increase cash flow.
When I asked, "If you had more cash flow in your banks, what would that give you that you're not already getting?" he paused. He had to search deep in his heart to find the truth. Then he said, "More time."
I asked, "If you had more time, what would you do with it?" He told me that if his banks had greater cash flow, he could quit spending so much time at the office and do what he really wanted-teach at a university. He told us how much he loved working with young people and helping them succeed. He became so animated and emotional that we could easily tell that he had definitely found a 100 on his Core Desire Scale.
He had to accomplish three or four things to help increase cash flow and work toward becoming qualified to teach. Now that he had identified his Core Desire, he went right to work to make it a reality. Within a short period of time, he was teaching at his local college and said he was much happier.
What you might initially think is a Core Desire often isn't. You may have to dig deeper and ask the Search Question several times: "If I had_____, what would it give me that I am not getting?" This is how you drill down to your Core Desires. Don't let what you do today-no matter how good you are at it or how much money you make at it-be confused with what you want to do. They may be totally different. For maximum power and joy, always follow your heart.
When I first met Valerie, she was a corporate trainer. By asking herself the probing Core Desire Search Questions, she discovered that, even though she really liked speaking and training, what she wanted most to do was to write murder mysteries. That seemed like an off-the-wall idea-it was something she'd never done before, and it was unrelated to anything she had ever done in her life.
When Valerie finally discovered, and acknowledged, her Core Desire, her Conquering Force was unleashed and provided the courage and ability she needed. She didn't know how to go about writing mysteries to earn a living, but that didn't stop her-she was on the path.
Valerie recognized the power of the Conquering Force as soon as she felt it, but it took her a long time to follow her true passion. She had a hard time letting go of what others thought she should be doing with her education and work experience.
"I even convinced myself that my true Core Desire was doing what I'd always done-teaching and giving management development seminars. The problem was that I was very unhappy, especially when I discovered deep inside what I truly wanted to do with my life. When I finally got the courage (at almost fifty years old) to admit that I am a writer and always have been, everything changed. Following my true passion, my Core Desire, has opened more doors than I ever dreamed possible."
When I met Michelle, she was in her fifties. She told me that her Core Desire was to travel. I asked her, "What else would you like to have, or do, that is a one hundred on the Core Desire Scale?"
"I don't know," she said. "Guess," I said.
"I'd like to spend more time with my husband," she said. There was much more emotions in her face and voice. "If you had the time, what would that give you that you don't have right now?" I asked.
She didn't know what to say. Then, in a faltering voice, she confessed that she really wished she and her husband were closer.
"If you were closer to your husband, what would that give you that you aren't getting?"
Whatever it was, it was definitely a 100 because she started to cry. It was such a huge emotional desire, it caused her deep feelings to surface. When she regained her composure, she said that she wanted, more than anything, to have a relationship with her husband that allowed her to feel safe and important. Safe to discuss her feelings, knowing they would be dealt with softly, and to feel that she really mattered to him. She didn't like feeling as if everything in his life came before her.
With this new understanding of her Core Desire, and some direction from me, she approached her husband and asked him to help her feel the way she wanted to feel. Was she afraid to talk with her husband about this? Yes, but she did it. The results were what she yearned for-he wanted to try to make her feel happy, he reassured her that he loved her, and he promised he would learn how to make her feel that she was, indeed, number one in his life.
By Jack M. Zufelt
"Mentor To Millions