When I was small, our family observed St. Nick’s Day on December 6. We children made our “Pig Lists” on that day, a letter to Santa listing the presents we wanted. It was especially exciting the next morning to find the letters gone, the glass of milk emptied, the plate of cookies bare but for a few crumbs. Perhaps we’d actually receive those gifts, come Christmas!
We’re entering again, as we do each year, into the season of wanting. The mid-winter holidays are essentially about the identification of wants: what we want for ourselves and what others want that we can give them.
Even the original seed of the celebration, the recognition of a light that divides the surrounding darkness, caters to our wants, our yearning for delivery from present circumstances, our passionate desire for a new life. In the spring, we celebrate the actual arrival of new life; in the summer, we are proud to mark existential and material success; in the fall, we reflect on our abundance. But at mid-winter, whether we’re Christian, Jewish, pagan, atheist, or anything else, the holiday is about what we don’t have. We mark this time with gifts that we hope will fulfill others’ wants and with plans for our own deep wishes.
As a virtual assistant, my business is all about meeting the wants of my clients. Anyone who is involved in selling must be concerned with meeting wants; but this is especially true when what you are selling is services. Yet, here’s the rub: I find that clients who truly know what they want are few and far between.
Oh, everyone has a vague idea: they want fame or money or a sense of accomplishment. But it seems that beyond such an initial fuzzy concept, most people have no idea about the specifics.
- You want to be famous, but you spend your time faulting others for not recognizing your excellence.
- You want to increase your income, but instead of detailing a plan you add an extra layer of worry over your everyday activities.
- You want to feel a greater sense of accomplishment, so you push yourself harder and criticize your inadequacies more harshly.
In the process, perhaps you toy with the idea of contracting with a VA, since it seems that most successful people you know work with one. But unless you develop a far more specific idea of your wants, you are likely to be frustrated. VAs are smart, experienced, and often intuitive but if they try to help out when your desires are not well articulated, it’s very easy for things to go awry.
It’s a great time, during the next month or so, to devote to examining our wants. Sure, you want more customers, so spend a full day or so playing with all the dimensions of that want. Detail how the manifestation of it would look and feel; do an honest assessment of where you are now; make a precise map showing how to get from here to where you want to go.
Not only will such an exercise make it far easier for you to communicate with your VA and prosper from the relationship; it will also give you enormous self confidence. Identify and specify your wants in all their particulars, and you’re already halfway to achieving them.