The Easier Way to Decide What You Want (Marie Forleo’s Magic Question)

The bridge between acting like a victim to life’s circumstances and taking a leadership role in our lives takes the form of a simple question.

“What do I want?”

It’s a powerful question. But it can be uncannily difficult to answer at times.

Whether you’re creating goals for your year, grappling with a difficult challenge (like the ramifications of a global disease pandemic), or just trying to make today a great one…knowing what you want is the key to getting what you want.

“What do I want?” seems like an easy enough question to answer. And sometimes it is. But if you’ve ever asked yourself that and come up with crickets, you’re not alone.

A bunch of roadblocks hold us back from honestly expressing what we want in our lives:

  • Fear of judgment from others prevents us from being candid and forthright about our desires.
  • Fear of change prevents us from exiting our comfort zones, period.
  • Fear of disappointment, or that we might not get what we want, stops us from stating desires in the first place.
  • Fear of feeling our feelings, and what’s alive in our bodies, holds us back from understanding what’s true for us.

The list goes on and on…

I’ve struggled with this a bunch at different periods of time. And I didn’t have a go-to tool for navigating this challenge until I read Marie Forleo’s book, Everything is Figueroutable. It’s a great book, I love the essence of it, and it’s jam-packed with super practical wisdom.

But there’s one question from the book that’s been etched into my mind ever since I read it. I’ve used it countless times since then.

Instead of asking yourself “What do I want?” which can feel overly heavy and important, grab a sheet of paper. And at the top, write the following:

“Wouldn’t it be cool if…?”

And then…start writing! The key here is to loosen up and let it flow. Framing the ask in such a casual way somehow circumvents the stodgy, judgmental gatekeeper of our desires, and lets them flow out uninhibited.

Let your pen race across the page. Don’t judge what comes up before writing it, just let it all come out. Write until you feel like the well is dry.

And then, after letting that stream of wants out of your mind, you can put them into action.

Not all of them at once, just the most important ones.

Scan the list for the desires that make your heart jump, or fill you with a sense of energetic aliveness. THAT is the direction you wanna move in.

Star the top 1-3 desires from the list, then clarify an immediate next action step. (You might wanna use WOOP for this.)


You’ve just broken through the turmoil and confusion of asking yourself “What do I want?” and not knowing the answer. (Thanks, Marie!)

Give this tool a go, and hit me back to let me know how you like it.

More from Mindful Ambition: