Good questions help your brain look at the world in a different way. By simply holding a question in your mind and pondering potential answers, you can find unexpected paths to get from where you are now to get where you want to be.
Below is a list of questions Josh Kaufman (author of the book ‘The Personal MBA’) created for himself. The intent of the list was to help him figure out what he wanted to improve about his life, both as a person and as a professional. These questions helped him figure out who he was and what he wanted during a particularly difficult time in his career.
I hope these questions will help us as they’ve helped Josh Kaufman.
DO I USE MY BODY OPTIMALLY?
- What is the quality of my current diet?
- Do I get enough sleep?
- Am I managing my energy well each day?
- How well am I managing daily stress?
- Do I have good posture and poise?
- What can I do to improve my ability to observe the world around me?
DO I KNOW WHAT I WANT?
- What achievements would make me really excited?
- What “states of being” do I want to experience each day?
- Are my priorities and values clearly defined?
- Am I capable of making decisions quickly and confidently?
- Do I constantly focus my attention on what I want versus what I don’t want?
WHAT AM I AFRAID OF?
- Have I created an honest and complete list of the fears I’m holding on to?
- Have I confronted each fear to imagine how I would handle it if it came to pass?
- Am I capable of recognizing and correcting self-limitation?
- Am I appropriately pushing my own limits?
IS MY MIND CLEAR AND FOCUSED?
- Do I systemically externalize (write or record) what I’m thinking about?
- Am I making it easy to capture my thoughts quickly, while as I have them?
- What has my attention right now?
- Am I regularly asking myself appropriate guiding questions?
- Do I spend most of my time focusing on a single task, or am I constantly flipping between multiple tasks?
- Do I spend enough time actively reflecting on my goals, projects, and progress?
AM I CONFIDENT, RELAXED AND PRODUCTIVE?
- Have I found a planning method that works for me?
- Am I “just organized enough”?
- Do I have an up-to-date list of my projects and active tasks?
- Do I review all my commitments on a regular basis?
- Do I take regular, genuine breaks from my work?
- Am I constantly creating positive habits?
- Am I working to shed non-productive habits?
- Am I comfortable with telling other people “NO”?
HOW DO I PERFORM BEST?
- What do I particularly enjoy?
- What am I particularly good at doing?
- What environment(s) do I find most conducive to doing good work?
- How do I tend to learn most effectively?
- How do I prefer to work with and communicate with others?
- What is currently holding me back?
WHAT DO I REALLY NEED TO BE HAPPY AND FULFILLED?
- How am I currently defining “success”?
- Is there other way of defining “success” that I may find more fulfilling?
- How often do I compare myself with my perceptions of other people?
- Am I currently living below my means?
- If I could only own one hundred things, what would they be?
- Am I capable of separating necessity and luxury?
- What do I feel grateful for in my life and work?
Pick up a notebook, set aside an hour, and spend time with yourself answering these questions. Make it fun; treat yourself to a nice lunch or dinner at a restaurant you like, and write as you eat. By the time the bill arrives, you’ll have more than a few new ideas about how to change your life or business or work for better.