Questions that will change your life, by Travis Bradberry for LinkedIn. When things aren’t going the way you’d like them to, it’s often the result of not asking yourself the right questions. Some questions are hard to confront because you’re afraid you won’t get the answer you want. Others because you really don’t want to know the answer. The best things in life don’t come easy, and turning away from life’s toughest questions is a sure path to mediocrity. Life runs on questions, not answers.
1. How do people see me differently than I see myself? We interpret our behavior in terms of how we think we come across, whereas others see the real thing. A 360° assessment is a great way to gain this perspective. It gathers feedback that is constructive, anonymous, and accurate. Be sure to be receptive to the feedback.
2. What/whom did I make better today? Leave things better than you found them. Keeps yourself grounded and focused on what really matters.
3. Am I being true to my values? Sometimes a nagging feeling tells you something is off in your life, when little behaviors creep up on you that violate your values. If you want the voice to go away, you’re going to have to do something about it.
4. If I achieved all my goals, how would I feel? What can I do to feel that way as I work to achieve them? Delaying gratification to pursue your goals is a prerequisite for success, but it doesn’t mean you have to be miserable along the way. Better and more fun is to let yourself feel some of the pride and pleasure along the way.
5. What haven’t I taken time to learn about? It’s a big world out there, and it’s getting bigger all the time. Don’t get left behind.
6. In what areas of my life am I settling? Dead-end jobs (me?). Unhealthy relationships. If you don’t ask yourself, it’s hard to stop it.
7. What do I want my life to be like in five years? Lewis Carroll once said “If you don’t know where you’re going, any road will take you there.” Once you have your destination in mind, you can plan your route.
8. What would I do if I wasn’t scared? Fear has its purpose (keeps us from getting us hurt or killed). But it can get carried away, keeping you from improving your life and living your dreams..
9. Who has qualities that I aspire to develop? Think of ways you can incorporate those same qualities into your own life.
10. What problem are we solving? Sometimes several people in the same conversation have different ideas about the purpose of the discussion. Occasionally it’s good to drop back and review what it is you are working on.
11. What’s stopping me from doing the things that I should be doing? It’s easy to say “I don’t know” (after talking a problem to death) – but that’s just an excuse. Most of the time we know exactly what we should be doing, but we aren’t willing to move the obstacles out of the way.
12. Will you be your mentor? An intimidating question to ask, but few people will turn you down. Everyone likes being looked up to, and it feels good to share our knowledge with others.
13. What’s the most important lesson I’ve learned so far in life? Am I living that lesson? Sometimes life lulls us back into complacency and we’re forced to learn a powerful lesson twice. The bad thing is it’s just as much of a rude awakening the second time around.
Summary: Asking the hard questions can be extremely uncomfortable. But we don’t learn and grow by sticking with what’s comfortable.