A friend of mine got married last month. As her wedding approached, the question of what to wear loomed large. She didn’t want to wear a traditional wedding dress.

A few weeks before the wedding, she went shopping with some friends. They tried bridal boutiques and department stores but she came home empty-handed. Her friends vetoed the dresses she chose; she disliked the dresses they selected.

She was disappointed and frustrated. She doesn’t like shopping and didn’t have time to traipse all over the city. She dreaded continuing the search.

I wanted to help, but I live 1000 miles away. What could I do? I asked her this question: What three words describe how you want to feel in your dress on your wedding day?

She paused, then spoke: Comfortable. Elegant. Celebratory.

Ah-ha! That’s the dress she’s looking for: the dress that feels comfortable, elegant and celebratory. With these three words in mind, she went back to a store she’d visited on her shopping trip and purchased a dress she’d tried on but left behind.

I wasn’t surprised. When she was shopping with her well-meaning friends, their ideas of what a wedding dress should look like overwhelmed her own wisdom about what she wanted.

That’s the power of three words: they get to the heart of what you wish for and become a GPS to help you navigate the bewildering possibilities in order to find the best option for you.

The key to success with three words is asking yourself how you’ll feel when you have what you desire. No matter what it is we want, what we really want is the feeling that the desired result will generate.

Rather than the thing itself, it’s the experience of the thing that we seek.

By tapping into those feelings in advance, articulating words to describe them and using the words to guide your choices, you tune out distracting “noise” (others’ opinions, social media trends, companies with gigantic advertising budgets) and avoid “buyer’s remorse” (when what you thought you wanted ends up disappointing).

It’s a simple, yet powerful, method to lead you toward fulfilling your dreams.

Want to apply the three words strategy to your life? Here’s how:

1) Think of something you want.

This can be something you want to acquire (like my friend’s wedding dress) or it can be a goal (like a new year’s resolution).

2) Imagine the result.

What would your life be like if you achieved this? Let your mind fill in as many details as possible of the lived experience.

3) Generate your three words.

What does your imagined result feel like?

4) Look around.

What people, places, things, events, or activities can be described by your words? Go forth and bring them into your life.

Let your three words be your guide. They may take you in a direction you didn’t expect but it’s going to be toward a more fulfilling and satisfying life.

Originally published at www.pambauercoaching.com