It is crucial that we stop once in awhile and ask ourselves some clarifying questions. The five below are the most important ones to ask yourself to keep your priorities in life straight.
Written by Jeff on November 4, 2010
You can be exceptionally busy, but if you are working on the wrong things then you are getting nowhere fast. Do you need to stop and refocus your life? Do you feel like you are on a never-ending treadmill that fails to produce the results you desire?
The five questions below will help. They are simple on the surface, but if wrestled with properly, they can produce some very profound guidance that will get you back on track in no time.
The Five Most Important Questions
I am going to come clean right up front. I didn’t conjure up these questions completely on my own. I am borrowing them from one of the great thinkers of our time.
I’ve been inspired by The Five Most Important Questions You Will Ever Ask About Your Organization written by Peter F. Drucker. If you are an entrepreneur or leading an organization of any sort you definitely should read this short, but valuable book. It will really help you to steer your establishment in the right direction.
Anyway, I think Peter’s questions are so good that I want to adapt them for individual use.
Here are the five most important questions to ask yourself:
1. What Is My Life Purpose?
A clear purpose or mission will inspire you to great heights. It will motivate you to invest your whole self into realizing your desired outcome. Stephen Covey tells us we have to “Begin with the end in mind”. In other words, we are much more likely to get what we want in life if we start with a clear, detailed vision of exactly where we are going.
Do you have a well-defined purpose? I took some time last year to clarify my purpose and I shared it as an example to help others like yourself spell out their life purpose. This process was very useful. My purpose pulls me toward the future. It keeps me on track and focused on achieving my desired goals. It also provides boundaries that help me say no to things that don’t fit into the larger vision for my life.
2. Who Is Most Important in My Life?
This question may seem a little easier to answer than the first one, but it is no less important. Sitting down and making a list of those that are really the most important to you can help to straighten out your priorities. After all, the people in your life have a right to expect things from you, but who should you give precedence? Making this list will help you to clearly and firmly answer this question which will simplify your life.
I’d recommend dividing up the important people in your life into at least two groups. The first will be those of primary importance. People like your spouse and children will likely fall into this category. The other group will be those of secondary importance. This might include people like your parents (if you are a married adult), your boss and your extended family for example. Once you’ve done this, you will have a clearer picture of where you need to focus your time for maximum results in your life.
3. What Do Those Most Important to Me Value?
After you have identified who is most important to you, then you need to ask yourself what these people value. What specific needs do the people of primary importance in your life expect you to fulfill? You can, of course, answer this yourself, but it is paramount that you also get the answers to to this question directly from the important people in your life. Once you have answered this for the primary group, then you can move on to the secondary group.
We have all heard stories of how a husband worked tirelessly for years producing great wealth for his family when all they really wanted was to have him home for dinner every night. Are you spending your time and energy wisely meeting the real needs of the most important people in your life? You need to understand what the people in your life want and then dedicate yourself to meeting their legitimate needs. This is what will ultimately produce the best results for you.
4. How Do I Define Success?
At this point, if you have answered in detail the questions above, you should have a much clearer handle on what you want to accomplish in your life and what your priorities are. Now, you need to decide on what success looks like for you given what you now know. Success is unique to every person because it encompasses their life purpose and how they serve those most important to them.
Here are a few additional questions to ask yourself to help you define success:
- How are you going to measure your progress to be sure you get on and stay on the right track?
- What behaviors are you engaged in now that are producing the results you desire?
- What behaviors or habits do you need to eliminate?
- How well are you using your resources (finances, time, talents, etc.) to meet your priorities?
You need a clear picture in your mind of what success means to you so that you can commit to it for the long haul. What does your ideal life look like? Once you define success, then you can move on to determining how to achieve it.
5. What Is My Action Plan?
Finally, you have to develop a specific action plan for how you are going to get from where you are today to where you want to be a week, a month and a year from now. Nothing is going to change unless you get intentional about defining and executing the steps necessary to move you toward your definition of success. This plan has got to be more than a few ideas (or ideals) bouncing around in your head. You need to get it down on paper in an organized manner.
You can start your action plan by defining specific goals you want to accomplish. If you are new to setting goals, then you probably want to check out this highly productive strategy for goal setting and also read my 10 keys to achieving your goals. These will both help you get started down the right path to creating the changes in your life that you most want.
Five Important Questions to Live a Better Life
Answering these five questions isn’t easy and there are no “right” answers. The results are unique to you. That’s why you have to answer them for yourself and keep asking them over your lifetime. If you do, you will refine and hone the answers producing better and better results. You will also experience some “ah-ha” moments along the way that will help you to make big leaps toward your definition of success. Now is the time to start answering the five most important questions to live a better life. Get started!
Source (1 July 2011): mysuperchargedlife.com