Navigating our busy lives, it’s easy to get caught up in the whirlwind and lose sight of what truly matters.
I’ve been there, especially juggling roles as a writer and business owner.
However, a clear path emerges when I ask myself these eight questions.
If you’re feeling lost, stay with me.
These simple prompts could be the guiding light you’ve been searching for.
Let’s dive in.
1. What would I want written on my tombstone?
During a thought-provoking conversation over coffee some years back, a friend unexpectedly posed this question to me.
The weight of it hung in the air, pushing me to consider beyond my daily endeavors and accomplishments.
While it might seem somber at first glance, this question dives deep into the essence of legacy and the impact we wish to leave behind. I realized I wanted to be remembered not just for tangible achievements but for values, relationships, and the ripple effect of positive influence.
I am not sure where my friend came across it but I suppose this question draws inspiration from Stoic philosophy which teaches us the importance of memento mori, meaning “remember you must die.”
This reflection on mortality isn’t meant to be morbid but rather a tool to live a life of purpose, clarity, and gratitude.
While it’s never an easy one to answer, asking this question can be a profound exercise, aligning our daily actions with the enduring legacy we wish to create.
Keep in mind that your answer may change as you grow. Remember to check in to make sure you are not stuck on the path a less mature version of you wanted.
It challenges us to live intentionally, cherishing each moment while working towards leaving an indelible mark on the world.
2. Is fear holding me back or guiding me?
Fear can be a double-edged sword.
On one hand, it’s a primal emotion designed to protect us from genuine threats.
On the other, it can become an obstacle, preventing us from taking risks and pursuing our dreams. Distinguishing between these two roles of fear can be a game-changer.
I remember when I contemplated expanding my business into a new, unfamiliar domain. The fear was palpable, raising questions like “What if I fail?” and “Am I ready for this?”
But instead of letting it deter me, I delved deeper into its source. Was this fear a sign of genuine concern, or was it merely the discomfort of stepping outside my comfort zone?
The answer, in this case, doesn’t matter.
The point is this question urges us to confront and analyze our fears rather than shy away from them. It helps discern between protective caution and limiting self-doubt.
By understanding the nature of our fears, we can decide whether to heed its warning or to muster the courage to push beyond it.
3. Am I spending my energy in the best way?
We all have the same 24 hours, but where we channel our energy can make a world of difference.
Think of your energy as currency: you wouldn’t want to waste your money on things that don’t bring you value, so why waste your energy?
A while back, I found myself pouring hours into a project that, in the grand scheme of things, didn’t align with my broader goals. It was a passion project, sure, but it was draining me, leaving little enthusiasm for tasks that directly impacted my business and personal growth.
Asking this question made me reevaluate and redirect my efforts.
Whether it’s the people we engage with, the tasks we undertake, or the habits we cultivate, regularly assessing where our energy goes can significantly optimize our day-to-day effectiveness and overall contentment.
Remember, it’s not just about staying busy, but about staying productive in areas that truly matter.
4. Am I reacting or creating?
In a world inundated with notifications, news cycles, and constant stimuli, it’s all too easy to get trapped in a perpetual state of reaction.
We react to emails, social media updates, demands from colleagues, or even unexpected challenges that life throws our way. But when we’re always reacting, we can lose our sense of agency.
I once found myself buried under a pile of client requests and emails, constantly firefighting. It dawned on me that I was spending more time responding to the world around me than actually forging my own path.
While reactions are often necessary, it’s essential to carve out time to create – to take initiative, innovate, and build.
This question serves as a reminder to strike a balance. Are we setting the tone for our day, or are we letting external factors dictate our pace and focus?
By consciously choosing to create, we reclaim our narrative and shape our journey in a manner that aligns with our goals and values.
5. Am I prioritizing comfort over growth?
I have been guilty of this. And I’d bet many of you are.
Comfort zones, while familiar and safe, often become the very cages that limit our potential.
It’s human nature to seek comfort, but growth usually demands a degree of discomfort. Reflecting on whether we’re staying in a situation purely because it’s comfortable can reveal a lot about our current trajectory.
There was a phase in my life where I clung to certain routines and projects. They were comfortable, predictable, and I was good at them. But over time, I felt stagnant. I was stagnant and probably had been for too long.
It was only when I questioned this comfort that I realized I was missing out on opportunities to evolve and learn.
This question challenges us to examine our choices and motives critically. Are we taking the easier route because it’s truly the best choice, or is it just the most familiar?
Sometimes, stepping out of our comfort zones, while initially daunting, can lead to the most profound moments of personal and professional growth.
6. What would a good week look like?
In the daily hustle and bustle, it’s easy to lose sight of the bigger picture and get swept up in the immediacy of tasks at hand.
But the bigger picture is daunting in itself.
Pausing to envision the week ahead, and defining what would make it successful or fulfilling, can realign our priorities and provide a clear roadmap.
A while back, I found myself overwhelmed with daily to-dos, feeling like I was constantly playing catch-up.
Then, I began the habit of setting aside some quiet time every Sunday evening, asking myself, “What would a good week look like?”
This wasn’t about packing the week with tasks, but rather about identifying key objectives, both professional and personal, that would bring a sense of accomplishment and balance.
For one week, it could be finalizing a business proposal, while another might focus on spending quality time with family or revisiting a long-neglected hobby.
This question pushes us to be proactive rather than reactive, guiding our actions towards intentional goals. It helps create a vision for the immediate future, ensuring that our days contribute meaningfully to our overall well-being and purpose.
The bottom line
Life’s full of distractions, and it’s easy to get off track.
These questions are like a GPS, helping us navigate and stay true to our goals and values. They remind us to act with purpose and not just react to whatever comes our way.
It’s not just about the answers we find, but the clarity that comes from asking the right questions. By using them as a guide, we can move closer to a life that’s both purposeful and fulfilling.
Over to you – what pivotal questions do you ask yourself to find clarity?
We’d love for you to share them in the comments, as your insights could be the guiding light for someone else.