Questions to ask yourself to help you grow

Recently I watched Brendon Burchard’s Influencer Summit. I took 15 or 20 pages of notes throughout the sessions, and my brain is still swirling with all of the good information that Brendon and the other speakers gave. Since those sessions, I’ve been asking myself these three questions every single day: 1) What am I doing for others? 2) What am I doing to move the needle in the direction I want my life to go in? 3) Am I living with intention, or am I living reactively? You can ask yourself these questions to help you check in and make sure you’re still on the path that’s right for you, and to help you grow along the way.

The first one is the easiest to identify, but one that often gets forgotten when we get busy.

What am I doing for others – to make them feel loved, appreciated, seen, heard – or just in general?

Really, this question is a simple check-in with myself, to make sure that I’m not getting too absorbed in my own world, and to make sure that I’m always using my unique abilities to help others.

Sometimes this takes on the form of doing a big giveaway, like the one we just wrapped up, and sometimes it’s simply holding the door for someone or smiling at everyone I come into contact with.

Too often we think that if we aren’t making large gestures then our efforts don’t matter. But in reality, the small things we do for people each and every day can have just as big of an impact.

Answering the second question really has two parts: knowing what your happiest life looks like, and then moving the needle in that direction.

When you look at a map, you will sometimes see a pin in it, or a marker of some sort, to identify where you are on your journey. As you move forward, you move the pin forward towards your goal. This is the same concept.

You do some soul searching, determine what you want your life to look like, and then, make a game plan to get there. Then you take steps towards that life each and every day. These steps, are called “needle movers”, and they can be anything from taking a giant leap, to taking a baby step, or anything in between.

For example, let’s say that you’ve set a goal to pay off your house. What things can you do every day to help get you to that goal?

Eat more meals at home. Put money directly into your savings account so it’s not in your general spending account. Have a yard sale and clean out old items that you don’t need, while making some extra money to put towards the house.

Some days I only get one tiny thing done, like jotting down post ideas or painting a background for a picture. Other days I get in the zone and I’ll work for hours and get a lot done.

As you ask yourself these questions, make sure that what you’re working towards is a life that you would actually enjoy.

One of the things that I love about Brendon Burchard, is that he’s a big proponent of figuring out what type of lifestyle you want to have, and then tailoring your goals, your business plans, and your efforts, towards that lifestyle. This, rather than just working to achieve big things that you may not even actually care to have.

Not everyone wants to be a billionaire business person. The billions are always welcome, but the amount of work that someone has to put into getting that far isn’t something that everyone wants to take on. In the same respect, not everyone wants to be in the corporate world, going to meetings, looking at spread sheets, analyzing numbers, etc. Some would be perfectly content with making much less, having more time off, and spending less time working overall.

And this is perfectly ok. Both options are perfectly ok.

The point is, you have to sit down and really determine how you genuinely want to live and work.

Because the thing is, we’re only willing to put the work in to accomplish those things that we really, truly want. Sure, we may bust our butts for a while, working day in and day out to accomplish a goal, but at some point, if it’s not what we really ultimately want for our lives, we’re going to get tired of it; we’re going to end up burnt out.

The whole point of this is to find what brings us joy, to find our happiest lives. So make sure that all of the effort you’re putting in is going towards something that you really want to have.

The third question goes hand in hand with the second: Am I living with intention, or am I living reactively?

Let me explain what I mean by this first.

The concept of living with intention is nothing new, but it’s still something that most of us don’t do. The ah-ha moment for me was when Jay Shetty talked about how most of us spend the majority of our lives reacting to things, rather than purposefully choosing how we go through our day. For some reason, the phrase “living reactively” stuck with me more so than “living intentionally” ever has. The way that he described it made me take a hard look at how I go through my day, and it constantly makes me question my reactions. Are they mindless, automatic? Or am I acting with intention?  

He talks more about this in his book, “Think Like a Monk”, which I highly recommend.

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How can we change these automatic reactions?

Each day when you wake up, what is the first thing you do? For most of us, we react to our alarms by shutting it off, we react to what we see on our phones, we react to our families. Our day continues like this, on and on.

What if instead we made a conscious effort to create the day that we want from the beginning? We’ll still do some of the same things, but not in the same order, and not in the same way.

For instance, that alarm sound….does it, in essence, scare you awake? Try changing it to something happier and more upbeat; your favorite song, a tune that inspires you, or a noise that is at least less abrupt. Changing it to something that wakes you up, but does so a little more gently, can change your entire mood for the morning.

Another easy thing to do, especially if you’re alarm is on your phone, like mine is, make your lock screen, and your background, something that inspires you, that makes you smile. Then it will be the first thing you see each morning (and each time you check your phone).

After you turn your alarm off on the morning, try not looking at any social media or emails until after you’ve at least had a shower, or gotten ready for your day. Try not looking at your phone while you’re eating; or at the very least make what you’re looking at funny and happy.

Before you begin to interact with people, ask yourself how you want those interactions to look. Most of us wouldn’t say things like, “you know, I really want to have a fight with my spouse this morning”, or “I’m looking really forward to being hateful to the cashier at the store today”, but if we don’t set the intention NOT to do those things, we often do because our automatic thoughts take over.

Take just a minute or two before you get out of bed and set your intention for how you want to interact with people. Will you try to be more understanding? Do you want to learn more about someone? Can you find ways to be kinder, even when things go wrong?

I’m not saying that doing these things will make you jump out of bed and have a day filled with sunshine and roses, but it will help you to have a better perspective if you’re day is more thunderstorms and thorns.

From my experience lately, living less reactively takes a bit of practice.

I start off doing well, setting my intentions and being inspired, and then something happens to shift my day. If I’m not super careful, I can easily slip back into thoughtlessly reacting to what is going on around me instead of consciously choosing how I will react. But it’s getting easier every day.

I’ve found, that if I check in with myself in the morning, and throughout my day, by asking myself these three questions, I have much better, more productive days. I’m less stressed, and I’m able to flow a little more fluidly with the changes that inevitably arise.

Again, a work in progress.

If you want to learn more about all of this:

Read Jay’s book. The Audible version is great because he read it himself. He also does a podcast called, “On Purpose”, where he talks about all of these things. He interviews lots of different people to gain different perspectives, and learn.

I would also recommend listening to Brendon Burchard’s “Marketing and Influence Podcast”. The speakers that were part of the Influencer Summit are on there, talking about the same types of things.

What I quickly realized about Brendon, and a lot of other “business gurus”, is that he doesn’t just talk about business. He talks about mindset, about how to show up in the world, and about a lot of other things that most people can benefit from. You can listen to his podcasts with no intention of ever having a business, and still get a lot out of it.

You don’t have to ask yourself these questions in any certain order, or even in the same way that I have.

The whole point is to pay more attention to how your going through your day, and what you’re doing to make sure you live the happiest life you can. The small, consistent actions that we take each day add up. This goes both ways. Those actions can take us towards the life we’ve always wanted, or they can keep us in the same place.

Choose to intentionally take steps towards those things that you want in your life, towards the lifestyle that you look forward to enjoying. Choose to be grateful for those things that you have now, that are getting you to where you want to be, either by moving you forward, or helping you to learn. Check in with yourself every day and make sure that you’re on the path that you really want to be on.