Your Primary Aim is a matter of discovery, not invention. You don’t create your Primary Aim. It already exists within you. The Primary Aim Process is a way of discovering what is already there.
For most people, the process involves new ways of looking at themselves and their lives. It asks that you question your assumptions about life and your own core values. It requires that you use your feelings — your internal barometer — to guide you. It is a very personal experience, a process that gets you in touch with what is truly and fundamentally important to you.
This is where a Coach can be of great value to you. A Coach is like a tour guide, helping you through this self-discovery process. A Coach doesn’t provide answers for you; they ask questions to facilitate the process of self discovery. Can you take this Journey on your own? Absolutely…but the benefits of having a tour guide are great.
You start the Primary Aim Process by quickly making lists of what you want and do not want in your life. Then you apply your thoughts and your feelings to the lists, narrowing them down to the most important do-wants and don’t-wants. Next, you identify what gets in the way of your Primary Aim, and finally, you do some writing that result in a brief statement of the essence of your Primary Aim. The process can be intense at times, but it’s always rewarding. It’s one of the most valuable things you will ever do for yourself.
It’s a five-step process:
1. What you don’t want. Make a long list of what you don’t want in your life. Don’t think too much about each item. When your list is complete, go back over it. This time think carefully about each item and be aware of the feelings it stirs. Circle the items that trigger the strongest negative emotions, the things you most want to not be part of your life. Don’t circle more than a few items; focus on the most important ones.
2. What you do want. Quickly make another long list of what you do want in your life. Stay away from material things and money — they have little or nothing to do with your Primary Aim. As before, go back over the list and circle the items you most want to be part of your life. This time, circle the items that have the strongest attraction, the strongest positive feelings. Don’t circle more than a few items — one, two, a half-dozen at most.
3. Prioritizing and breaking barriers. Copy the circled items from your do-want list onto a new list. Think about each item and try to rank them in order of importance. Then for each one, think about what it is that gets in the way of achieving it. What blocks you from having your do-wants? Finally — and this is important — identify your self-imposed limitations. What barriers do you put in your way that limit beliefs about yourself and endorse counterproductive habits?
4 . Write your eulogy. Think of that far-off day when you are gone and all the people who are most important to you are assembled at your memorial ceremony. You get to write your own eulogy. What do you want it to say? What do you want to be remembered for?
5. Write your Primary Aim. .In the fewest possible words, write a statement of the essence of your Primary Aim. Try for a phrase or a single sentence that describes what you want your life to be like in order for it to express what’s most important to you.