Is Your ‘What’ a Hidden ‘How’?

focus on what not howWe know that when we start messing with the Hows, we’re not exercising our highest creative power.

Our job is to focus on What we want, and let Universe figure out How.

That’s LOA 101, but many of us find we’re correcting for that on a regular basis. (Or is it just me?)

Anyway, it occurred to me that sometimes our goals, dreams and desires are actually just ‘Hows’ in disguise.

The other day I heard Kathleen Miller share an instruction inspired by Neville:

Don’t manifest the middle.”

Meaning, our power lies in visualizing (and ‘becoming’) the end result that we desire. We don’t have to baby step our way in manifestations to what we want. Rather, we can go for the gold and focus on the true desired outcome.

This is why every time I hear someone manifesting a book deal with Hay House or an appearance on Oprah (back when that was a thing) or winning the stupid lottery I get a little fired up.

Because that’s not what we really want.

All of those things are just ‘Hows’!

What we want is what we think that outcome means or leads to. And that’s the textbook definition of a How!

Example: no one really wants to lose 10 pounds – that’s likely the ‘how’ we made up for feeling healthier or sexier. Because trust me, it’s possible to lose ten pounds and feel less healthy and less attractive. (Like if you got sick or were in prison or were super stressed out?)

No one really wants a promotion at work – we likely want more recognition, challenge, prestige or power. In fact, we probably don’t really want the power – what we really want is to make a difference and feel good about our contribution to the world. I’m making that up, but my point is …

If there’s a way you could get what you thought you wanted and still feel ripped off – then it’s not a true desire.

In the ten years I’ve been coaching people to get what they want I’ve seen plenty of “got what I wanted but it isn’t what I really wanted” scenarios.

Like for myself – back when I thought I wanted a thousand daily hits to this blog. That target was actually part of my business plan! And the day that I realized it had happened, I couldn’t understand why I wasn’t more excited about it.

It took a minute to realize it was because I didn’t really want a bunch of traffic. What I wanted was to feel like my work was making a difference – that I was having a positive impact on the world. And a thousand daily hits is not that.

Or when I intended to be debt free. (Who wouldn’t want that, right?) Well, it turns out that wasn’t what I really wanted. On the day I made the final mortgage payment on my house over a decade ago I thought I’d feel liberated. Instead, I felt the same miserable way I’d been feeling for those five years I worked a job I didn’t love just to pay the bills.

Okay, I might be on an official rant now, and that’s not my favorite thing.

What is my favorite thing is helping us all be more clear about exercising our creative powers.

Let’s keep the Neville-inspired instruction in mind not to manifest the middle, and instead drill down to the true essence of our desire.

I have a somewhat twisted way of doing this with clients. When they tell me what they want, I start imagining scenarios in which they get what they said they wanted, but didn’t enjoy it. Just to help them get more dialed in on the core desire, i.e. their true ‘What.’

Like if he proposed (ah! her dream come true, she thinks!) but she found out later that he had another woman on the side the whole time. You wouldn’t really be delighted to be engaged to that guy. What you want is to be happy and in love! Let’s focus on that.

Or if you get the new career you always wanted, but it sucks the life out of you and threatens your health or relationships – that’s not what you had in mind. I want to help you see the deeper desire and connect with that, so you’re giving a powerful instruction of What and letting Universe deliver the best How.

I’ve seen people get the Oprah spotlight and it didn’t result in fame or fortune or accolades of any kind. I’ve seen people get book deals that didn’t change their lives in any appreciable way. I’ve seen people come into big money and still feel the same financial fears they’d been practicing their whole lives.

That’s not to say that Universe wouldn’t use those same avenues to deliver your goods, but that’s for Universe to figure out. Not you. Get your nose out of Universe’s business.

Don’t manifest the middle. As Abraham says, what we really want is always to feel better. That’s why their advice to “get happy now” is probably the best we’ll ever take to heart.

  • July 23, 2014
  • Oh wow, Sam, what a great story about how helpful it is for us to release attachment to what we think we want – and let Universe deliver it even better!!
    And can I just say – I love all that about you, too! What great energy you’ve brought to the blog – thanks for that, my friend!

  • Sam Curtis says:

    I’m a little late posting on here (I LOVE that about myself!), but just wanted to say how on the mark your post is for me re. my job! I’m a Literary Agent and one of the hardest challenges as an LOA follower is to imagine the manuscript getting out there in a big way… but not via which publisher, so leaving the HOW to the universe. Recently, I sold a non-fiction manuscript which was super close to being snapped up by a big, traditional publisher and I was putting so much focus and desire on the HOW, thinking that way the big fish would absolutely take it and the lovely advance would roll in for my client (and of course for me). In the end, the universe decided the smaller publisher would make the bid and initially, I wasn’t too impressed with the universe’s decision! But then, as with a similar situation I had selling a manuscript for a teenage novel, I realise the universe always manifests in the best way. The teenage novel was also very nearly taken on by one of the Big Boys – aren’t they all! – but it didn’t go that way and the universe had other ideas. Now my teenage novel client is not only represented by a small, committed and flexible publishing house, but they also actively seek out film rights for their projects, and she has been invited out by fellow writers of the same publishing house for dinners, and feels part of a family. The glow that gave me was priceless. It simply would never happen with a larger house where sales have their 30 day slot to make a hit of the title and new authors can often be left feeling like cogs in a machine.
    I have a groundbreaking film tie-in book on my publishing manifesting list at the moment and I have definitely learnt my lesson when it comes to visualising the end result and not which publishing house will take it on!
    PS. Sorry for a long post (I LOVE that about myself!) 😉

  • whoa! whole new spin – and a particular challenge for me. thanks!

  • Oh, I like that quote, Marian! Had not heard that before. It’s a lovely way of connecting with what I was trying to convey in the post about what we really want.
    And Susann, that’s exactly what we’re after, isn’t it? The “ridiculous pleasure” we think goes with those specific things. That is a lovely place to live.
    Your Swiss train conductor comment made me wish I could “like” comments here. You’re a hoot!
    Thanks for chiming in you two! 🙂

  • Susann says:

    I love this! There are still things I want because of the ridiculous pleasure I’d get out of having those specific things, but I’m finally learning how to differentiate between between *those* things (which are “whats” unto themselves), and the things that look like “whats” but are actually my clumsy attempts at telling the Universe “how” . . . I love seeing other perspectives on this whole subject, and seeing how other people work with it.
    I’ve also started being kinder to myself about it all. I can understand why what I call my “front brain” — that’s the part that takes care of running the physical machinery in the “real” world — thinks figuring out the “how” is *its* job. After all, it’s been tasked with figuring out a lot of hows over the years, so why wouldn’t it try to take this one on, too? So I spend time soothing it now, & instead of trying to force it to give up control, I just gently give it some other task better suited to its talents & allow my “soft brain” — the part that’s connected to the “energy” world — to finese the manifestation in co-creation with the greater universe. I’m finding it easier & easier over time, even though my “front brain” still reminds me at times of a Swiss train conductor, all detail-oriented & efficient & in love with rules but perhaps lacking a little in the “fun” department (with apologies to Swiss train conductors, who I am sure are very nice people).

  • Marian says:

    I love this timely reminder Jeannette – thank you for being such a good and regular source of inspiration.
    The phrase that has struck me and continues to resonate deeply is from Joseph Campbell, that what we all really desire is “to feel the rapture of being alive”
    That’ll do nicely thank you, and the highs and lows and everything inbetween are beginning to feel that way (until I fall out of the roller coaster and go to the back of the queue again – lol!)

  • So glad you enjoyed it, Kitty. (And thanks for the encouraging comment!)
    Here’s to more of that forgetting about it and BOOM – there it is!

  • Kitty says:

    Love your blog Jeannette, and this post was the BEST of the BEST!
    As a relative newbie to deliberate creation, always wondered how sometimes I think about something forget about it and boom it manifests. Other times I “work it….” Work it to death… definitely working the middle–the middle to nowhere!
    This was great info!

  • Oh, I love that we get to hear your success story in practicing this releasing of the “how,” Parul!
    Thanks for sharing it with us and CONGRATS on the new job!! 🙂

  • Parul says:

    A fabulous post, Jeannette! 🙂
    This is EXACTLY how I manifested my current job. I gave up on the details (hows) and focused on being open and focused on ‘what’ I wanted to feel and well… the rest is history…. 🙂
    My current job is exactly what I needed. Had I still been focused on the ‘how’, this would’ve never come about or I would’ve passed it up and still be twiddling my thumbs. 🙂

  • Yay! Can’t wait to read it, Cassie!
    Hey, check out this Joel Osteen quote that just came in. It’s related to our topic today:
    A lot of times, we have our own ideas about how things should work out in life. But God’s ways are not our ways. In scripture, God brought water out of a rock. Jesus told Peter to go catch a fish, open its mouth, and there was the money he needed for taxes. Another time, God caused a young lady named Mary to have a baby without knowing a man. He is God. He can use things we would expect, or He can make things happen another way.
    With God, you don’t have to figure everything out. All you have to do is believe. In fact, it says in Proverbs, “Lean not to your own understanding.” Sometimes there is no logical solution. You’ve got to turn your mind off. If you’re constantly trying to figure it out, that’s just going to make you discouraged, depressed and frustrated. Just because you don’t see a way doesn’t mean that God doesn’t have a way. Remember, His ways are higher, and He is working behind the scenes for your good!

  • Cassie says:

    YES you will get to read more about that in my book. It will be out and free for one day on my birthday August 11th 🙂

  • Thanks for popping in to say so, Ashley! I find I have to remind myself this more than once, so I’m glad others are getting something from it, too.

  • Ashley says:

    I love this post! It is a huge game changer. I can’t wait to sit down with my journal in the am and change things up a bit and see what comes my way. I love your blog posts Jeanette!

  • Yeah, you know, LovelyMe, as long as we’re not attached to those “specifics” or goals – if we’re just entertaining them as possibilities or juice-enhancers – that’s all good, right? It’s when we think THIS is the way it needs to be in order for me to be satisfied that we start kinking the alignment.
    And Brenda, I’m glad you got some inspiration from it, too. 🙂

  • Brenda says:

    This is a most appreciated post, Jeannette! I’m off to tweak my newly-minted affirmations. 😉 Thank you!

  • LovelyMe says:

    This post definitely got the wheels turning in my head about my goals! Thanks for this!

  • You’re right, Brian – that’s only on ME to find that feeling – nothing external can make me feel that. Not even a thousand raving emails every day can make me feel that. That has to come from within.
    Looking forward to checking out those videos today. 🙂

  • Brian F. says:

    Hey Jeannette,
    “What I wanted was to feel like my work was making a difference – that I was having a positive impact on the world.”
    And you can feel your work is making a difference even when on the surface it appears it is making little or no difference.
    Here’s Bashar’s view on giving a positive impact on the world:
    Bashar – What Impact does Change Have
    And here’s another video sort of similar to this topic:
    Bashar :: Hall of Mirrors Highlights
    “Or when I intended to be debt free.”
    You don’t really want to be debt free, you just want to allow yourself to feel free.
    Only unconditional happiness brings the true feeling of freedom.
    Because as long as you react to conditions, and make your happiness conditional, you will always be a slave to your conditions.

  • Nice to see you on this thread, Julia! And what a great reminder to engage Easy World for! (Loved how you always saw the potential “loopholes” – what a great way to think of that!
    Thanks for chiming in on this one.
    And Jesann, you’re actually describing one of my goals regarding money. I want to feel the satisfaction, accomplishment and delight of manifesting it. It’s not just for the money – although that will be cool, too. It’s for the experience of it. And still – it comes back to that feeling, doesn’t it? Why do they/we want that experience? Because of how we think it will feel.
    I don’t think there’s any loopholes to that. Although I am open.

  • Jesann says:

    Ah, well…
    Generally I agree with this, and you’re right that things like winning the lottery can be hows rather than whats. I’m just uncomfortable with generalization. There probably are people out there who want to win the lottery because they want that experience of winning the lottery, for example. That’s their thing. We might not understand why, but if they’ve looked at their hows and whats and decided that lottery win (or book deal, etc.) is a what, that’s their path. So, my two cents.
    (Oh, and I don’t want to win the lottery, get a book deal, or be on Oprah, so I’m not trying to sneakily defend those for personal gain. 🙂 )

  • Yes, yes, YES, Jeannette!!!
    That’s the magic of choosing Easy World. Whatever will support your joy just shows up and you don’t need to figure out a thing! Of course, you can if that floats your boat, but it’s not necessary and often takes you out of EW.
    My big issue was always that I could never settle on something to manifest as I could always see loopholes. Now, I just relax into Easy World, trust my Spirit, and add energy to the things I love and more to love always shows up!
    Love is the bottom line. Joy and fulfillment ALWAYS accompany Love. Radiate Love, be in Easy World, and watch the magic unfold!

  • That’s exactly what many of the LOA teachers advise, Sabeen. Abraham says “Get happy now.” Bashar says, “Follow your highest excitement.”
    I like how Mike Dooley says that it serves us to use some of those specific details (the house, the lover, the money, etc.) to help us get happy/excited, but don’t attach to those things.
    And I trust Universe to know what would make me happy. In fact, it seems to be even better at it than I am! So a hands off approach is an effective one, although I often find myself micromanaging! lol

  • Sabeen says:

    Love this post Jeannette – it rings so true! I have a question of clarification for you. If you follow this train of thought further and further, the “what” that we want is ultimately to be happy/loved/joyful – that’s sort of why we want everything else and so everything else is kind of the middle step to that ultimate want. So, do you think that we should just focus on “be happy” as the core desire and literally stop focusing on every other manifestation along the way, or is there value to spelling out what “happy” means for you in terms of what you manifest?

  • Nneka, that’s a nice touchstone to the energy that serves!
    Reminds me of how Deepak Chopra talked about using the word “Light” when he was manifesting weight loss.
    Thanks for sharing that with us. 🙂

  • Awesome post as usual Jeannette!
    A few years ago, I started focusing on a word – just one word. The essence of why I wanted what I thought I wanted. It gets me back to center.
    When I remember that, all the “stuff” I’m doing becomes play and life flows so much better.

  • Cassie, will we get to read more about that in your new book? I hope?
    (And when is that out?!)

  • Cassie says:

    Love it Jeannette! My story of this is financial freedom. Once I let go of the how and just honored my truest desire, it happened REALLY quickly. I mean really!! I’d been trying to force the how for years. Thanks for the reminder!

  • >