Questions are the starting point for personal and professional discovery, change and growth. They can jump-start creativity, change our perspective, empower us to believe in ourselves, push us to think things through or call us to action.
A surprising amount of success you create for yourself comes from the times when you think carefully about the questions you ask of yourself and others around you, and then listen hard for the right answers.
The following ten questions can produce that light-bulb moment when you can suddenly see your situation more clearly or from a new perspective.
1. What would I do if I knew I couldn't fail? The idea of failing can hold us back from being our best. Asking this question allows you to put this fear to one side and imagine what your life would be like if you didn't feel afraid of failing. Imagining yourself successfully overcoming the odds lets you try out your dream safely and helps you decide if you really want to pursue it.
2. Who am I becoming? Who you are right now, is made up of the sum total of your choices to date. We slowly change emotionally and mentally, and develop over the years. Do you like the trends that you see developing? You always have the choice to become a different version of yourself, no matter how far you feel you have drifted down a path you don't much like.
3. What am I doing right now to honor my core values? Your values are the essence of who you are. When you live and work in tune with your most important values, you feel in harmony with yourself and your world. Asking this question regularly can stop you in the middle of activities that move you away from your values.
4. What am I settling for? How many times a day do you put up with a compromise or go along with the line of least resistance? Maybe you are settling for a job that doesn't fulfill you. Or perhaps the problem is something as simple as an untidy workspace. Sometimes, taking small steps to putting your needs first can give you the courage to do this more often for yourself.
5. What is my legacy? Your legacy need not be something that becomes evident after you have passed on. Your legacy is what you contribute to your world right now. Your legacy takes shape each day as you find ways to share your energies and talents with others.
6. Where do I focus my attention? Your life becomes what you focus on. Thought habits create the texture of your life. If you continually indulge in pessimistic thoughts, you will feel drained, fearful and nervous all the time. Visualizing your goals regularly is not only a more pleasant way to think, but it actually helps to train your mind to take the action required to reach those goals.
7. How am I using my talents? You have talents that are uniquely yours. How are you using these gifts to enhance your life and your world? One of the best ways of becoming successful is to look for more opportunities to play to your strengths and operate in your natural element. You will attract greater success with less effort and you'll enjoy yourself far more.
8. What am I holding on to that I no longer need? Are you holding on to negative emotions from the past? Are you holding on to old beliefs or habits that don't serve you well or a pattern of behavior that has become destructive? Let go of things and thoughts that clutter your space and mind. Make room for more positive and congenial traveling companions.
9. How much time do I spend with people who inspire me? The people you spend the most time with have a strong influence on you. If you are in a job surrounded by people who feel as if they're the living dead, you can't help but absorb some of that sadness and negativity. Before you can change that, you need to get a good dose of inspiration from people who are truly alive and energized. Make a promise to yourself to maintain and extend the network of stars in your life that boost your strength and motivation.
10. What is one thing would I change for the better? What is the thing for you that would have the most benefits if you changed it? What's been stopping you from making that change? What small step can you make today towards making this great thing happen for yourself?
These questions hold the power to cause us to think, create answers we believe in and motivate us to act on our ideas. Ask yourself these questions all the time, but most especially when you feel like maybe you ought to.
Write them down on small cards that you can keep with you so that you can refer to them often. When you feel that events are controlling you, or you feel uncertain about what you're doing, pause to ask yourself one of these questions. This will help you refocus and get a sense of where you are and where you are going.
Brad Larsen is a life coach and corporate consultant from Northern Utah. He can be reached at email@example.com.