What kind of person do you REALLY want to be?



A few weekends ago Conor and I drove out to Rancho Loma. It is a cute little ranch out in west Texas. We have been talking a lot lately about simplifying our lives, homesteading, building a home, getting animals…etc. It’s our dream – one that we are fighting tooth and nail to make a reality someday… and sometimes it really does feel like we are fighting tooth and nail. It was really great to go stay on a ranch in the middle of nowhere for a couple of days and plan out how we are going to make that life a reality. But the truth is the conversations weren’t that easy. Giving up certain things you love now so you can eventually have something better later is hard.

Articulating what it is that you truly want, deep down inside of yourself is not an easy task. Henry tells me what he wants out of life all of the time, “I’m going to go to space. I’m going to take all of the bad guys to jail. I am going to have lot’s of animals and roller skate everyday.” It’s easier for him to spout off a million things in 5 minutes that he dreams of doing than it is for me to say 1 thing in 2 days. As adults we are so out of practice. We wonder if what we are dreaming of is too big… or maybe not big enough? Or maybe too selfish, or maybe too self sacrificing? and then we say things like, “YOLO!” and then we question what YOLO even really means anyway?! Then we start to think about what others will say if we fail. What will they say? What will we say to ourselves? How are we ever going to know what to do?


Here’s the trick I’ve been using for a while to help myself work through these hard decisions. I often use this when working with clients who are in the middle of making hard decisions about their businesses. Ask yourself this one question; “What kind of person do you really want to be?”  When making big decisions about life, when trying to decide between 2 good things, ask yourself, “What kind of person do I really want to be?” This question makes those hard choices a little easier and those tough conversations about what we want out of life more clear. Do we want to risk it all or do we want to play it safe? Both are good. No one ever said playing it safe wasn’t smart or that risking everything never paid off. Do you want to live in California on the beach or do you want to live in Texas on a ranch? Or do you want a ranch in California? How can you make that happen? What kind of person do you want to be? What kind of person do you need to be in order to get where you want to go? Are they the same? If not, which person wins? Do you need to change? Or do you need to change your dream?

PS We have been asking ourselves this question for the past year. It’s been one long hard conversation after another. But I think it’s worth having over and over again as you slowly work toward your ultimate goal. And here is a link to the TED talk that inspired me to ask this question. If you are having a hard time making a really hard choice WATCH IT!


  • Lindsey

    Great post. I love that Ted talk and quote the part about chocolate donuts vs oatmeal freaquently. The hardest part is knowing who you want to be in the first place. I’m still figuring that out but it certainly makes life an adventure.

    • JANE

      Yes! I think of that part often! What can I stand for! This was especially helpful over this last year dealing with, you know, those difficult things that I have talked to you about! WINK WINK

  • Julie

    jane – thank you so much for sharing your thoughts! your truly inspiring!
    you aren’t alone in trying to make good big decisions – I can feel you! all the best, julie

    • JANE

      It really is so comforting to know others go through it too!! RIGHT?!

  • Mark

    Thanks for sharing. Emily and I have been working through an almost identical scenario surrounding our dreams and goals for the last year that we’ve been hanging out at the beach. We’re finally making little steps in the right direction and it’s really comforting to know there are others in a similar life stage working through the same things.

    • JANE

      OH MARK! You have no idea how much I love that you said this! It’s hard huh? We finally figured out that we are terrified of making the wrong choice. We have been beating ourselves up over moving to Texas for the past 3 years because in our minds it “didn’t bring us closer” to our dream life. But when I sat down and thought of the reality behind it all it was actually quite the opposite. Living here has enabled us to get out of debt and set us up to be financially stable – which is why we moved here. That is the kind of person I ultimately want to be – a NOT IN DEBT person! (Something we never could have done living in Hawaii). And we have had a lot of fun living in a different part of the country and meeting new people. We are finally learning how to forgive ourselves for what we thought was a bad decision and get brave enough to make another big move.

  • Cassidy Parker Smith

    Thanks for posting this, Jane! I’ve been thinking a lot about it since yesterday. And I know that struggle since my hubby and I just made the move from Brooklyn back to our hometown of St. Louis. It was something we put off for years since I just wasn’t quite ready yet to give up my dream yet. But ultimately, when we talked about the life we wanted together and the life we wanted with our new baby, the decision became easier. We decided the people we wanted to be were people surrounded by our parents and family (none of which we had in Brooklyn; although friends can be your family!). The decision was a tough one. But when it came down to it we made the decision to let go of our ego, the easy success we found in NYC, and vision that we wanted to live a “cool” life. I’m sure I’ll wake up in a cold sweat wondering why we made that decision several times a year but for now we’re completely content living a slower pace of life and enjoying our family time. I’m sure you’ll make the “right” decision! As long as you’re a family together, there is no wrong choice. Change is good.

  • Haruka

    Oh Jane, I needed this. SO MUCH. We are taught to approach hard decisions with wariness and fear; but what if we start approaching them as opportunities for character-building, a necessary step to figuring out who you are? So stoked to hear you’re considering ranch living. I grew up near Green Valley, CA and believe I’ll likely end up in the desert again. Speaking of the desert — are you going to Designer Vaca this year?!

    • JANE

      I am going to DV this year! Are you? Are you? Oh please make all of my dreams come true and say yes!!!!

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