Did I do my best to:
- Be happy?
- Find meaning?
- Build positive relationships?
- Be fully engaged?
- Set clear goal?
- Make progress toward goal achievement?
These are examples of daily questions (from Marshall Goldsmith) that if you are disciplined enough to ask and answer daily, will keep you focused on what is most important to you. Critical to the success of this activity is for you to right down your own set of questions. Even going through the exercise of writing down the questions can be very valuable in itself. Each question should then be answered daily with a Yes/No or with a number and if you are analytically inclined then you can run reports from the results.
I really like the personal accountability in the first part of the questions “did I do my best to ” that he uses. This prevents me from blaming my situation on a 3rd party — which we all do and easy to do.
With this exercise, the knowing-doing gap is always the really hard thing for me. It’s easy for me to understand that this or another self-improvement activity is important, but doing it consistently is the really, really, really hard thing. Even Marshall who knows the theory better than most pays someone to call him daily to ensure he goes through his questions. He knows it is hard, so lets not kid ourselves here. We all have the best intentions but we need to figure out a system to prevent us from rolling back to our comfort zone.
If you don’t have a PA, you can recruit a friend that you can have this daily Q&A with, or create a reminder on your phone, post a daily reminder to a slack channel, but be warned its easier to ignore a notification that your friend.
Keep asking more questions.