Every January I take some time to look back over the previous year. I reflect on what went well and the aspects that I liked. I look at the challenges of the previous year, what was difficult and how I can rise above those challenges in the upcoming year. This past year was a demanding work year for me. I worked more hours, in more locations, with more intensity than ever before. Yet, reflecting back on how much energy I've been expending, I still feel like I'm not keeping up. At the end of the day, I'm still collapsing into bed with the nagging feeling that I could have and should have done more.
I've spent the past week journaling, studying and reflecting on my priorities, my desires and on the overall vision that I want to create for 2016. What I found is that I had forgotten the importance of one of the most basic (yet life-changing) life coaching tools available: the power of a beautiful question.
Our minds work in the realm of words and thoughts. The thoughts we think influence our emotions, our actions and the overall change (or lack of change) that we create in our lives. If we ask our mind a question, it will automatically try to answer it. We live in worlds that our questions create. The habitual questions that we ask, shape our moments, hours, days and direction of our lives.
Sometimes the simplest solutions make the most profound impact. If I want a better outcome I need to ask a better question.
As I said in last week's post, I realized that my primary question -- the question that I woke up with, walked around all day with, and went to sleep with -- had become, "What shit needs to get done?"
I'll tell you right now, that is not the question an outstanding life is made from. It is, however, an excellent question if you're looking to feel like an overworked, exhausted loser that can never keep up. Good times, my friends.
To create a better question, we need to look at three things:
- What outcome are you wanting to create?
- What would you habitually need to think/feel to create this outcome?
- What question would lead to those types of thoughts and feelings?
Here are my answers:
- I want to be inspired and disciplined.
- I'd need to recognize, expect and make room for the magical and miraculous in the everyday. I need to be focused on what's truly important and keep my priorities clear.
- Two questions: What miracle will happen today? Who am I committing to today?
As my friend, David Whyte, says, "The marvelous thing about a good question is that it shapes our identity as much by the asking as it does by the answering. Beautiful questions almost always have something to do with how we might be more generous, more courageous, more present, more dedicated, and they also have something to do with timing: when we might step through the doorway into something bigger, better—both beyond ourselves and yet more of ourselves at the same time."
My invitation to you is to examine the questions that shape your life and see if you can find a few beautiful questions that will help shape a more beautiful year to come.
To get you started, here are a few that my students came up with:
- What can I do to feel abundant?
- What calls to my soul?
- What opens my heart?
- What step forward am I going to take today?
- What step can I take to add value to MY life today?
- What beautiful things/ideas/people/experiences will I encounter today?
- What would I do if I weren't afraid?
- How big do I want to be today?
- Who do I most want to be?
- How can I sink even deeper into my life?
- What's going to be fun today?
- What will surprise me today?