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Dear Jess...How can I start vocalising what I want?

Every Friday, Jess Ratcliffe drops by to help us overcome the obstacles and worries that are holding us back. Share your questions with Jess anonymously at

Dear Jess, a friend pointed out that I say "sorry" a lot. It feels like this is tied to not having confidence in what I want - in life and every day situations. How can I start vocalising what I want?

I love you for writing this question! To be completely honest with you, it feels like a recent learning for me too so this is perfect timing as I am all in on building my "owning what I want" muscle.

Earlier this week, I was at a coaching intensive in LA, which feels like it's left me - and my mindset - forever changed. There were two big shifts for me around the topic of owning what we want that I'd love to share. I hope they're as lightbulb-sparking for you as they were for me.

1. What do you want?

One of the most simple and powerful coaching questions is "What do you want?", which is often followed up with "What do you really want?"

Deep down, we know this question is key, however, how often do we create the space to ask ourselves this question? To really tune into what we want. And then, let ourselves dream big enough that the answers that come up light a fire in us, like never before, rather than fizzling out days or weeks later.

After we sat with "What do you want?", the leader of the intensive shared the following saying and it gave my mind whiplash.

"We don't go after what we want, we go after what we think we can get."

Who's with me that this feels bang on? We don't go after what we want, we go after what we think we can get. Breath taken.

When you look back, does it feel like you've gone after what you really, really want (with absolute risk of not getting it) or have you gone after something that feels "big enough" but that you knew you could get?

To bring us back to your question, the only way we can start to own - and then vocalise - what we want, is if we know what that is.

So, I invite you to sit with the following questions:

1. What do you want?

2. What do you really, really want?

3. Looking at your desires, where are you holding back? Where are you shooting for what you think you can get rather than what you really want?

In case you're thinking, "Jess, how the heck do I "sit" with these questions? And what does that even mean?"...

My jam is sitting in silence with a pen and notebook or taking myself out for coffee and doing the same, without my self-imposed distractions (phone away, laptop at home etc). Your jam might be letting these questions simmer in your mind while having a bath or taking a walk. It's whatever works for you.

2. How often do you "should" all over yourself?

Another saying that blew my mind during this intensive was:

"We should all over ourselves"

Yes. Yes. Yes!

How often do we find ourselves doing or saying something because we think we "should"? Holding back, not speaking up or saying want we want because we don't think we should.

Screw should's. We'll never tap into what we really want if we're always watering ourselves down for other people or worse, ignoring our wants completely to make space for theirs.

For example, when was the last time you answered "I don't mind" to a question when you actually had something in mind - maybe it was a dinner spot you wanted to try, a time to meet that would be most convenient for you or a direction you wanted to take a project.

If we don't speak up for what we want, who will?

Let's build our want muscle

Just like any new skill or habit, owning what we want is a muscle we can build up. To start building that muscle, let's play with a simple technique.

For the next 24 hours...

  • I invite you to pause throughout the day and ask yourself "What do I want in this moment?"

  • This might be when someone asks you a question and you take a moment before should'ing all over yourself to check in with what you really want.

  • This might be when you're alone and you start to feel bored, hungry or frustrated.

  • Or this might be when you take a moment during work to think of a bold action you really want to take - and then do it.

Whatever it looks like for you, play with it. Have fun tuning into what you want in each moment. And if it feels good, keep building that muscle tomorrow.

As always, I'd love to hear how you get on. And if you're joining the brunch this Sunday, I'm excited to meet you there.

Jess is our resident coach. She helps extraordinary people, like you, turn the vision you have for yourself into reality, with her powerful coaching workshop - Unleash Your Extraordinary - and 1:1 programs.

Would you like to join one of Jess’ workshops or simply say hello? She’d love to meet you.

Reach out at or @jessratcliffe

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