Episode 43: Having To vs Wanting To

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Episode 43: Having to vs Wanting to

So many of us live in a space of HAVING to.

I HAVE to pay my bills.
I HAVE to go to …
I HAVE to clean my house.
I HAVE to go to work.

What do you think happens to your confidence levels when you operate from a HAVING to stance?

It’s incredibly limiting, disempowering, and creates resistance instead of freedom.

Besides thinking about things you HAVE to DO, what about the things you think you HAVE to THINK and believe?

There is magic that happens when we give ourselves permission to choose what we WANT to keep,
what we WANT to believe, how we WANT to feel, and ultimately who we WANT to become.

I’m Hannah Coles and you are listening to The Confidence Catalyst Podcast. Episode 43: Having to vs Wanting to


Alright, let’s dive in today! I’m bringing you something that really takes away from living a confident life. It’s something that everyone can relate to. If you’ve ever said or thought the words, “I can’t, I have to…” then this is for you. It’s one of the most disempowering thoughts we can think and believe for ourselves.

When we think, I can’t. We’re stuck. When we tell ourselves, I have to, we’re putting on our own shackles and are prisoner to whatever it is we think we have to do. It’s a terrible space to be in and to operate from and one that makes it very challenging to feel confident in.

I want you to think of something you really, really, really want. A new house, a new job, a new position, the ideal weight, status. What do you really want for yourself? Then I want you to ask yourself, why don’t you have it yet?

Chances are you’re probably going to say something like, “I can’t. I have to…” and then list off all the reasons why that kind of life isn’t for you just yet or that you can’t have it just yet.

The reasons might be that you need more education, money, more TIME, time is a big one. What are you telling yourself? Why can’t you have what you really, really want now?

A couple of years ago I was working with a client and she was complaining about her work. She had recently gone through a divorce and still had several kids at home. She worked a job that required several hours a week and odd hours too. This job was far away so not only was the schedule demanding but the commute wasn’t a picnic either. When we met she shared with me that she really wanted to be home with her kids more. She really wanted to look for another job, one that would pay more with better benefits but also allow her to be home in the evenings so she could spend more time with her family.

I asked her why she didn’t have that yet. She looked at me like I had just said something highly offensive and replied, “Well, I CAN’T look for another job. I HAVE to work here at this job.” And then she proceeded to tell me that she couldn’t possibly look for more work because she had no time. By the time she got home all businesses were closed so she HAD to stay at this job. She felt stuck because any thought of getting unstuck was met with, “but you CAN’T…you HAVE to…” type of thinking.

So I asked her to question that belief, “why CAN’T you look for work?” Again, she looked at me very incredulously and said, “My hours don’t allow for it.” And again started in on her story. She was so committed to her story and believing all the things she “had” to do, all the reasons why she “couldn’t” do or have what she really wanted and the more we dug into it and questioned each thought that she laid out as fact a tiny glimmer or light and possibility started to appear.

There is nothing you HAVE to do. 

I’m going to say that again. 

There is nothing you HAVE to do. 

There are only things we CHOOSE to do. Sometimes there are things we want to do because we don’t want the consequences of not doing them, like paying my mortgage. I want to pay that bill because I like living in my house. And if we’re not careful it can slide into HAVING to thinking vs CHOOSING to thinking.

We need to get past the limiting beliefs that box us in and keep us stuck. These beliefs not only limit us but they limit the kind of experience we can create here in mortality as well. 

My client with her job obstacle was suffering in scarcity and lack. She was stuck and resigned to live a life she didn’t love because she couldn’t see passed her challenges. How do you think this affected her life and quality of life? Remember, our thoughts create how we feel. How we feel motivates us into action or inaction.

When she felt stuck and resigned and a lot of other negative feelings. Notice her actions. She complained about it. She wasn’t looking for work. She wasn’t able to see any other possibilities. She just worried that this was her life and this would always be her life. 

The things we think matter. 

There are many ways to get what you want, what you really want but you have to first acknowledge that your story is just that…a story and if it’s just a story, who is the author? You, of course. Then who can change and rewrite the story? You, course. There’s always other options and thousands of possibilities out there but we block the existence of them by holding our own story so close to our faces that we can’t see anything other than our current situation.

Think for a minute about the things you HAVE to do. We all have our own lists:

I HAVE to clean my house.

I HAVE to do my calling.

I HAVE to feed my kids.

I HAVE to pay my bills.

I HAVE to go to work.

I HAVE to do my ministering.

I HAVE to go to this service project.

How does it feel to HAVE to do something? Think about it, where do you feel this in your body? Do you tense up? Something heavy in your stomach maybe? If you had to name a one work emotion in this moment, what would it be? How are you feeling in that moment? Resentment? Stuck? Defeated? Resistance? 

I don’t know about you but I don’t like being told that I HAVE to do something. I don’t even like telling myself that I HAVE to do something. Because the truth of it is this, you don’t HAVE to do anything. As human beings endowed with agency, we don’t HAVE to do anything. We have choices. There are always options. 

With my client and her job. She believed her story so much that she truly did think she HAD to stay there. When I asked her if there was someone physically going to her home, dragging her out of bed, and physically forcing her into the office, she, of course, said, no! So I said, okay, so you CHOSE to get up, get dressed, and drive to work. “Well, yes.” I asked again, “Is there someone at work that chains you to your desk? That makes it so you absolutely cannot leave at any moment?” She’d say, “Well…no, of course not!” The more and more I’d question her, the more she’d start to realize that she didn’t HAVE to stay but that she was CHOOSING to stay.

So then the important question: WHY are you staying? She was staying because she WANTED the paycheck. She WANTED that money she’d earned so she could pay her bills, so she could keep her house, so she could buy food, and gas for her car, and clothes for her kids. And once she started seeing that she was using her agency because of things she WANTED instead of things she HAD to do she was then and only then open to entertaining other options and other job possibilities as well.

The first step though is to realize and recognize that we’re just telling ourselves a story.

Let me ask you this, how do you feel when you WANT to do something? What changes for you? Wanting eliminates resistance.  When we want to do something we’re not dragging our feet or feeling stuck. We’re feeling creative and committed. It’s a choice and not a sentence or punishment.

You ARE the author of your story. What story are you telling yourself? Why are you telling yourself that you HAVE to do something? We don’t show up as our best selves when we feel stuck, chained, or imprisoned to something. It’s contrary to Heavenly Father’s Plan. His plan allowed agency, one of His greatest gifts to us, that ability to CHOOSE what we want to do and how we want to feel.

As soon as you can make that shift from HAVING to to WANTING to there’s a huge change that happens inside you. After you’ve realized that it’s just a THOUGHT you’re hanging onto, a thought that you HAVE to do something and that no one can change your thoughts except YOU. You begin to feel something different. 

It’s important to remember that you are in control of how you feel always. 

Money is a big topic that comes up often in coaching. Money can open doors and provide new opportunities which is why so many want more of it and feel stuck because they think they don’t have enough of it. They think about the things they HAVE to do with their money and how it doesn’t leave them enough to do what they WANT with their money and again, this is a very uncomfortable and disempowering place. 

Many people feel stifled and stuck and this line of thinking creates a bleak outlook where they don’t feel confident that they can have or create the kind of life they want for themselves.

So how can you create confidence when you don’t have what you really want yet? How can you feel confident in creating that for yourself while taking the necessary steps to get there? How can you go from having to do the daily grind to wanting to believe they can have it all?

First and foremost you need to look into your motives and find out, do some digging and find out why you want what you really want. You don’t have to have worthy intentions like, “I want more money so I can give it all to the poor”. You can, but you don’t have to. You’re allowed to want things just because you want things. But if you’re believing that when you get whatever it is you really want that you’ll feel something different, this is another story.

A lot of times we think  if we change the circumstances. If I change the number in my bank account THEN I’ll be happier. THEN I feel differently. This is kind of sneaky and so you need to be mindful of this line of thought. Your feelings always stem from your thoughts. The circumstance doesn’t create feelings. It doesn’t change feelings. The only thing that changes is your thoughts. Your thoughts create how you feel.

This is another form of having to vs wanting to. We sometimes believe that we have to change the circumstance so that we can feel relief. So that we can feel better. But this isn’t true.

The circumstances are neutral. They don’t alter feelings. Even changing the circumstance and having an opportunity to think new thoughts about the circumstance doesn’t make the underlining beliefs disappear. 

Pema Chodron once said, “Nothing ever goes away until it has taught us what we need to know.”

This is true. You have to understand what it is about the current situation that you don’t like first. You have to dig deeper and understand your story. You need to figure out what beliefs you’re holding onto. Because it’s these beliefs that is creating the suffering for you. You don’t need anything to change for you to feel that relief now. You just need to question your current thoughts and story.

When you do this you create a chain reaction, thoughts generate feelings, feelings prompt actions, actions create your results. It’s never the circumstance and always the thoughts that create your experience. This is how beliefs are changed. It’s not brushing them under the rug of hoping the new circumstance will change your life because it won’t. Those thoughts will still be there until you acknowledge them and question them.

Forever you’ll chase after things believing that you HAVE to do things to feel better. But when you realize that it’s all within you now. That there’s nothing you HAVE to do but that you WANT to do thought work, you WANT to dive deeper, you WANT to question your story everything changes.

Notice this week when you find yourself saying, “I have to do this”. Just put yourself in the observer mode and notice what changes in yourself, in your body, in your demeanor. It’s the stark opposite of confident living. When we give ourselves that option, that choice we allow ourselves to grow, to move forward through challenges but with creativity and confidence.

There are things that we choose to do that we may not like doing. But when it’s your choice you can still feel a sense of fulfillment in it, you can still show up confident that this was your choice and you’re doing it because you want to be not because you feel like you have to.

HAVING TO is part of the adversary’s plan. It’s one of his tactics. When you tell yourself you have to you limit yourself. You’re not able to show up as your best self because you don’t feel like you have any other options.

This isn’t what Heavenly Father wants for us. He gave us the gift of our agency to be able to create the kind of experience we wanted to have here in mortality. Not the circumstances but the experience. How amazing is it that no matter where you’re at, who you’re talking to, what you’re working on, what the challenges are that you can feel how you want to feel? You’re never resigned. You’re never stuck.

He wants you to choose. He wants you to exercise this agency. 

He wants you to come up with your own WHY your own reason and purpose for what you’re doing. And not just what you’re doing but who you are and who you’re becoming.

You’re not stuck in who you currently think you are. As you heard last week, you are who you choose to be. You’re not confined to labels or boxes. You don’t have to show up a certain way or to show up at all. You get to choose. Who do you WANT to be? How do you WANT to feel?

This HAVING to vs WANTING to is a game-changer. You don’t HAVE to feel offended or insecure. You can CHOOSE to feel compassionate, curious, and confident.

So much of our mortal journey is all about what you want. We put up barriers, fences, chains, shackles. We limit ourselves with having to mentality. This feels terrible and blocks your ability to feel confident.

Confidence comes from knowing who you are, embracing your needs, and then trusting yourself to move forward and to create what you WANT to create.

Start questioning these sneaky limiting beliefs. Give yourself permission to not HAVE to do anything today and always. When you’re given the choice. When it becomes an option for you, you’ll start to feel better. You’ll stand a little taller and choose what’s most in alignment with who you are and who you’re becoming.

This is the gift of agency. It’s choosing not to be confined and limited. It’s choosing how you WANT to live, what you WANT to invite into your life, What you WANT to be doing, and who you WANT to become.

It’s an incredibly abundant mindset and I encourage you to practice this.

You don’t have to feel a certain way. 

You don’t have to believe certain things.

There isn’t anything you HAVE to be doing.

You get to choose. 

Yes, there are consequences that we don’t always get to choose but by living from this space of choice and options you get to be intentional about what you’re creating for yourself and the kind of life you’re experiencing.

How fun is it to get to choose what you want all the time?

Take this magnificent gift and utilize it to it’s fullest.

I don’t HAVE to believe that.

I don’t HAVE to think that.

I don’t have to feel that way if I don’t want to.

I don’t have to go and do that.

I don’t have to live like this if I don’t want to.

Which then leads to the next question, if you don’t want that, what do you want?

This is where the magic happens. Most of us focus on resisting what we think we have to do that we don’t spend time thinking about what we really want.

What do you want to believe?

What do you want to think about you? About them? About life?

How do you want to feel today? This is your choice. 

What do you want to do with your time?

What kind of life do want to create?

I invite you to change your focus from having to to wanting to and start seeing how amazing life is. How incredibly powerful this seemingly small tweak can make. When you change this one thing, everything changes.

Try it and see for yourself. Then come and join my membership where it’s all about personal development, growth, learning, becoming, and creating a life of confidence! I’d love to work with you! Check that out at members.thecatalystcoaching.com and I’ll see you in there!

Talk to you next week!

Thanks, everyone! 

Don’t forget to check out the 5 DAY CONFIDENCE CHALLENGE – It’s FREE! Are you ready to kickstart your confidence?! Get that HERE: Click on this link


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