The Easy Place

The Quest for Self Awareness One Moment at a Time

What Do You Need?

My coaching clients are used to my question: “What do you need?”  They often treat it as a joke (“I need a new life!”) but it’s actually a powerful question that can help us explore what’s really going on in our lives.

We always need something.  Right now I need breakfast, a shower and some anti-itch cream for my mosquito bites (I’m writing this at 5:30am from a hotel bed in Costa Rica).  Those are my immediate needs.  But if I dig deeper I also have to recognize that during this vacation I’ve made some really bad food choices reminding me, yet again, that I need to improve my diet.  What else do I need?  Obviously I need to write, I’m scribbling this in a notebook in bed while everyone else sleeps. 

Frequently when my clients arrive at our coaching call they’re in disarray.  They’re stressed, overwhelmed, sometimes even questioning their abilities or choices.  My question of “What do you need?” is designed to get them to start looking for what’s missing, what in their life isn’t getting taken care of or honored. 

Our immediate needs are usually easily addressed – we might just want sleep, food, exercise or quiet time.  But when we move beyond our surface needs and go a level down, we find a deeper, more subtle level of need – we find what’s needed for our “next step” in life.  We discover what we need to do to move further along the path to becoming who we want to be, the path to doing what we’re meant to do in the world.  These are the needs that we are avoiding when we glibly say we need a “new life.”  The irony is that by taking the time to figure out what we need at that deeper level we’re actually able to create that “new life”.

So take a moment and ask yourself “What do I need?”  A glass of water?  Ok, go get one. 

Now what ELSE do you need?


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4 responses to “What Do You Need?

  1. Beth March 11, 2011 at 8:05 am

    Hi Melinda, This is what came to me when I read your post today. The word need is so “loaded” for so many people these days, especially women. It can lead to a fear of being seen as or feeling “needy”. I have seen this over and over again as people come to terms with the discomfort in their lives. So how is that we have become so afraid to show our vulnerability… to recognize the difference between empowered vulnerability and dis-empowered vulnerability. Identifying a need or wanting something different or better is simply a way of saying yes to life. Sometimes the answer to “what do I need” is “absolutely nothing”. I am content and happy and peaceful just as I am and all I really need is to acknowledge that. From there everything is possible.:)

    • Melinda March 12, 2011 at 9:54 am

      Hi Beth, I love how your comments always deepen and expand what I’ve written! I agree, it takes strenth to answer that question.

      And how wonderful it is to explore what’s present when the answer is “absolutely nothing.” As a client, some of the most powerful sessions I experienced was when my coach and I took the time to roll around in and explore that feeling of fullness. There is much to be learned from that place of “I’m happy, what’s making that possible?”

      Lovely to hear from you as always!


  2. Robbie March 11, 2011 at 2:30 pm

    Hi Melinda You remind me of myself. Sometimes we just have to break it down in simple terms. I like what you said about the food. Just take care of yourself ,enjoy the journey and drink lots of water.

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