Life is full of small questions: What will I wear to my meeting? Whats for lunch? Subway or cab?
Small questions are important as they facilitate the day to day running of our lives. The problem is, most people do not pause to ask themselves the big questions. The real questions. The questions that will change our lives for the better. Often we do not take a moment and think about what really matters to us and what our contribution to the world is. Our wise old friend Socrates said "an unexamined life is not worth living."
Here are five questions I ask my coaching clients to help them examine their lives. Take a few minutes, a quiet spot and ask these of yourself (warning: the answers might surprise you!):
1. How happy am I overall, today, out of 10?
Take into account all areas of your life when you do this. Whatever your number is, be honest about it with yourself. Then you can get real about what you can do to increase it.
2. What type of life do I want to lead?
Think about your life 10 years from now. Are you satisfied with your life if it is to continue exactly as it currently is? Are you content with your relationships, work, health? Picture the ideal life you could be living. How is it different? Visualizing helps us understand what it is that we can be doing differently now.
3. What does success look like to me?
For some people it is becoming an expert in their industry. For others it is taking one year off in every five to seven to travel. For some it is raising a healthy and tight-knit family. Be clear on what it looks like to you and don't be swayed by others visions for themselves. Your life is your path to honor and actualize.
4. What brings me joy?
Is it writing, teaching, singing, volunteering, dancing? Whatever it is, make time for it!
5. What can I do in the next two weeks to bring more joy, passion and purpose to my life?
This is the killer part right here. All of the above is important but it won't impact your life unless you take action. Start small. Write one blog. Take one dance class. Perhaps speak to a friend in Europe about a potential meet over the next few months. You know what it is that will generate excitement and happiness in your life. Don't put it off!
The answers are within us. We have everything we need to create the lives we want. Getting clear is the starting point. An old proverb says, "The best time to plant a tree is 20 years ago. The second-best time is now." Get busy now sowing the seeds of the life you want to flourish over the coming years.