The difference between winners and losers is identifying what you want versus what you need.

Just ask yourself, if you know what you want – why have you not gotten it? The answer is likely buried in what you need.

It is much easier to say what you want than to define what you need. Sometimes what you need is not clear, and that’s one reason why you are not getting what you want.

Let’s work through an example together.

  1. Select your own topic.
  2. Create two columns. Write down what you want in one column and what you need in the other.

Here is an example using Career Advancement.

What I Want

What I Need

Promotion Career path planning and skill development
Advanced degree Benefit/cost analysis and qualitative evaluation
Successful interview Interviewing and communication skills training
Company vs. Entrepreneurial track Career exploration and decision-making criteria
Management experience Leadership gap analysis and planning

 What comes after knowing what you need?

Once you find out what you need, it’s time to evaluate how badly you want – what you want. What you need requires hard work and resources – often money and time.

Money and time are known as resource constraints because you never seem to have enough of either one. If one of these resources is constrained, it will require you to re-prioritize what’s important to you. Perhaps, what you want really is not that important compared to other demands in your life. Ultimately, the decision is up to you.

When you decide not to do what you need to get what you want, accept that it was your choice to sub-optimize your personal needs. You do not have a right to blame anyone else for failing to get what you want.

The benefit of doing what you need is you get closer to what you want. Absent doing the work, you leave yourself to the mercy of others to give you what you want, when they want to do it or hope that fate intervenes.