When I was in high school—trying to decide what I wanted to “be” when I grew up—I remember having a conversation with my mom.
I told my mom that I wanted to be a journalist like Connie Chung or Oprah Winfrey and that I would move to the big city of Chicago.
I remember my mom standing at the kitchen sink, washing dishes, listening to my plans. While she was always supportive of my dreams, she was like, “Chiii-caaaa-gooo?” (Imagine a thick Southern drawl.) “You’ve never even been to Chicago! You wouldn’t like a big city.”
It’s true. I’d never been to Chicago. In fact, I hadn’t really been anywhere other than Georgia or Florida.
But I remember being SO ANGRY that she dismissed my plan.
I was GOING. TO. CHICAGO.
(Spoiler alert: I never moved to Chicago.)
The other day—on my morning run—I realized that in my 15-year-old mind, “Chicago” was code for “doing big things.” It was code for “success” and “making it.” I knew I wanted to make a difference and have a platform where my voice could be heard, where I could talk about big issues. But I didn’t know how to articulate that desire other than to assume that it HAD to happen along The Magnificent Mile.
Often, my clients have a “Chicago.” They want something highly specific but it’s “code” for something much deeper.
A client says, “I want to fit into a size 6 dress.” (We dig a bit deeper and discover that “size 6” is code for: “I want to feel valuable and desirable.”)
A client says, “I want to get featured in O Magazine.” (It’s code for: “I want to feel noticed and respected” or “I don’t want anyone to doubt me ever again.”)
A client says, “I want to run a marathon.” (It’s code for: “I want to become the type of woman who makes promises to herself—and keeps them.”)
What’s your Chicago?
What’s the code word that you say to yourself repeatedly—the word that neatly “sums up” or “represents” one of your deepest cravings?
Is it possible that there could be another way for you to satisfy that craving?
I’m not saying you can’t have the exact experience that you’re obsessing over. You can. Of course you can.
I’m just posing the question: “What’s the deeper craving that your code word represents?” Because it’s interesting to know where your cravings are coming from.
Little did I know—back when I was 15—that this thing called the Internet would come along, allowing me access to clients and customers all over the world, allowing me to make a global impact, even from a small town in Indiana.
I’ve learned that I don’t literally want to move to Chicago. (I’ve been there. It’s an amazing place but no thanks. I’m a small town girl at heart.)
But I want to feel Chicago-esque.
There’s a difference.
P.S. If you’re craving a group of supportive women to cheer you on as your rock your business goals for 2017, this is for you.