07 Dec The Power of Asking Yourself Questions
Have you ever taken the time to think about all the questions you ask yourself on a daily basis? We internally ask ourselves questions all the time, but they usually arise based on our circumstances or what we happen to be doing at the time.
Selecting specific questions to ask yourself on a regular basis, however, can be a very powerful experience. Asking yourself, and more importantly, answering specific questions, can bring you greater clarity and help you start, stop, or change things for the better. Even answering just one question has the potential to alter the direction of your life forever.
If questions can be so powerful and potentially life changing, then why is it that many people refuse to take the time to sit down and seriously answer them? I am certainly not an expert on this subject, but here are two reasons I believe that stop people from answering important questions:
1. We are simply too busy.
We are so busy being caught up in the day-to-day living of life that they do not think about it. To quote John Lennon, “life is what happens while you’re busy making other plans.” Without delicately taking time reflect and plan, we simply do not make the time for us to answer important questions.
2. We don’t want to have to deal with it.
In the movie A Few Good Men, Lt. Daniel Kaffee, a navy lawyer played by Tom Cruise, was examining the defendant on trial, Col. Nathan R. Jessep, who was played by Jack Nicholson. He was charged with giving an order that resulted in the death of a marine. At one point in the movie, Cruise continues to ask for the truth, in which Nicholson eventually shouts out “You can’t handle the truth!” I believe many of us refuse to ask ourselves tough questions because we don’t want to take a look at the cold, hard truth.
Below are 10 questions I ask myself on a regular basis. Since your business is a reflection of you, how well you plan, manage, and take care of yourself is how you will take care of your business. Although directed at your business, apply them to your personal life. As you might notice, answering one question will usually lead to more additional questions for you. Perhaps now is the right time to ask yourself some important questions.
10 Questions I ask myself on a regular basis
1. Am I having fun?
Having fun is about enjoying yourself and what you are doing. Are you happy? To me, this is one of the most important questions I can ask myself. Life is short, and if I am not having fun then I need to know why. I don’t want to wait until some day long into the future for my “fun” to arrive. I want to have fun NOW! Perhaps you are in a situation you are not happy with, such as a job, relationship, etc. Sometimes knowing your vision is coming true can be enough to help you have fun. Are you having fun?
2. Is the work I am doing rewarding?
This is closely related to having fun, but where fun focuses on what you are doing, feeling that something is rewarding is about why you are doing it. It is about feeling a sense of satisfaction and gratification. Some people refer to this feeling as being on purpose. Is the work you are doing part of a cause that is greater than you? Is what you’re doing rewarding and making you feel satisfied?
3. Am I profitable?
It is not impossible, but it is usually when somebody has a business that is not making a profit they are usually not having much fun and do not find working in their business rewarding. If I am not happy and satisfied with the amount of profit I am generating each month, what I can do to make it profitable? Sometimes there are things we can start doing, stop doing, do less of, or do more of that might make a difference. Are you happy with the profit you are making?
4. Am I proud of the value I provide to others?
When I eventually realized years ago that the business I created was not for my benefit, but for the value I create for others, I started asking this question on a regular basis. The value we provide to others often translates into many benefits for the people you are providing value for. What value and benefits are you providing to your customers? To others?
5. Am I clear about where I am heading?
At times, I get so caught up in the day-to-day stuff until I have to stop and do a quick vision check time-out. I keep my vision of where I want to be 5 years from now and the main objectives I need to reach in order to get there in one easy location that I can refer to when needed. In addition, I do a quick recap during my weekly review and planning session. If you are not clear about where you want to go, it is time to begin drafting the vision of your ideal future. Remember, it is your vision, so there is no wrong or right. Where do you plan to be in the next 5 – 10 years?
6. Am I clear about how I will reach my vision?
This refers to my goals and objectives that make up my strategy for how I want to achieve my vision. My objectives are the ways I can measure if I am on track within my strategy. Each objective has multiple action steps required to get there. For some objectives, I may not have all the steps identified, but I fill in as many as I can and keep updating the strategy as new information is made available. Do you have a plan that leads you to your vision?
7. Am I taking 100% responsibility?
Taking responsibility for your life is really the first step towards becoming the leader of your own life. This means no matter what happens I will take responsibility for my situation and refuse to blame anybody else. I used to be unaware of how much I blamed other people or circumstances for “my problems” in my life. Once I decided to take 100% responsibility for my life, instead of living as if I were a victim, I stopped blaming and making excuses. I ask myself this question on a regular basis as a reminder to help keep myself in check: Are you taking responsibility for your life?
8. Am I giving back?
To me, this is about providing help and assistance to others because it is the right thing to do, instead of worrying about any compensation. There are many people in this world much less fortunate than I am. Doing something for others not only feels good but can also be fun and rewarding. I enjoy volunteering in the community and working with high school and college students. How can you give back in your community?
9. Am I remembering to be grateful?
I have so many things to be grateful for, and it is important to me to not lose sight of that fact. A great book I recently read about gratitude is “The Magic” by Rhonda Byrne. In this book the author Rhonda provides daily exercises for expressing your gratitude. If you haven’t felt like you have had much to feel grateful for lately, this book can help get your mind thinking. What are you grateful for?
10. Am I challenging myself?
Am I doing things that are challenging me to learn, grow, and become a better person? Or have I been playing it safe lately? I learned that all growth takes place outside the comfort zone. What this means is if we are making ourselves uncomfortable, then we are not growing. On the outside of our comfort zone is what some people refer to as the threshold of pain. This pain of being uncomfortable is something I challenge myself to try and get used to. At the very least, to identify it for what it is and not let it ‘freak me out’. Will you be stepping outside of your comfort zone any time soon?
I hope these 10 questions that I ask myself on a regular basis inspire you to think and ask yourself important questions too, and that you take the time to answer them. Perhaps they can bring you greater clarity or help you start, stop, or change things for the better in your life and business.