Christine Comaford sees this problem time and time again. From U.S. presidents to billionaire CEOs to budding entrepreneurs, the problem that continually arises for leadersthroughout all stages of growth and development is answering a deceptively simple question: What do I want?
Answering this one crucial question is the first step to reaching any desired outcome. But for so many, the answer is elusive. In fact, most people are pretty good at rattling off in full detail all the things they don’t want, but when it comes to describing what they do want, the specifics are remarkably fuzzy.
Getting clear on the exact outcomes you’d like to achieve, and knowing what you have to give up (or postpone) in order to reach those goals, is the key to success because there are no achievements that come without corresponding trade-offs.
“Many people actually don’t know what they want, or they don’t know the cost of it,” Comaford says in this interview. “And if you don’t know the cost of it, you can’t create it.”
Comaford’s own life has been an interesting series of twists and turns that apparently started off with no clear direction. At the age of 17 she entered a Buddhist monastery where she served as a monk for seven years before leaving to pursue careers with companies like Microsoft, Adobe and Apple. Later, she became an angel investor for tech start-ups like Google and went on to write two New York Times bestselling books.