“The quality of your life is determined by the quality of your questions” – Dr. John Demartini
The questions we ask ourselves determines what we focus on. If you want to produce better results in your life and business, it starts with asking yourself better questions.
High performers and elite entrepreneurs make it a daily habit of asking empowering questions that allow them to be fully present in the moment, do their best work, and focus on what matters most.
In this article, you’ll learn 3 questions to ask yourself daily to become more productive, feel fulfilled, and make a greater impact.
Before we dive in, it’s important to state what may be obvious to some. These questions aren’t a magic pill that will transform your life just by asking them. They must be followed up with consistent, purposeful action.
Each one of them has been a game-changer for me, and I’m confident they will be extremely valuable and helpful for you as well. Let’s dive in…
1. How can I serve today?
Research has shown the key to increasing productivity, work satisfaction and fulfillment is doing meaningful work.Advertising
When we attach what we do to a greater why – by finding meaning in what we do and doing work that matters – we show up consistently and require less external motivation and willpower to perform at our best.
Making it a daily habit of asking yourself the question “How can I serve today?” will help you focus on what matters most.
You’ll develop the mindset of a servant leader and be open to new opportunities to add value to the people around you, and solve bigger and better problems in the marketplace. This not only increases your impact but also your income. This is crucial for entrepreneurs to understand because as Jim Rohn said
“You don’t get paid by the hour, you get paid for the value you bring to the hour”
Another benefit is the fulfilling feeling you get knowing you’re contributing to something greater than yourself. This is one of the biggest motivators of successful entrepreneurs.
Doing meaningful work isn’t about ‘gaming the system’ or seeing how you can make the most money while providing the least amount of value. It’s about viewing the people you serve as real people – who have real dreams, desires, fears and frustrations. And then falling in love with the process of creating value, and doing work that makes a meaningful difference in their lives.
How can you serve today? How can you make an impact on someone’s life today?Advertising
2. What’s the one thing I can do today that will lead to meaningful progress towards my goal?
What’s your one thing? This is the activity that if you got done today, would make the biggest impact on bridging the gap from where you are right now, to where you ultimately want to be.
The most productive and high performing entrepreneurs know what this is before they sit down to do work.
What I personally do is plan out my day – including writing out my 3 tasks and my most important task – the night before.
Doing this allows you to start your day with the clarity of knowing exactly what needs to get done.
It’s not enough to just know what this one thing is, though. You have to design your day and create systems that ensure you get it done while in your most creative and productive state.
For me, this means getting my most important task done first thing in the morning right after doing my morning routine, which includes things like working out, journaling, box breathing, visualization, and reading for 15-30 minutes.Advertising
All these activities help prime my brain to be in the most focused, creative and productive state possible when it’s time to do work.
Figure out what works best for you. Make it a habit of executing on your one thing before anything else. This way you don’t use up your willpower and most productive hours on smaller, less important tasks.
3. What are my 3 wins for the day, and 3 things I can do to make tomorrow even better?
Recently I’ve made it a habit of opening my journal every evening and creating two sections: “Wins” and “Feedback”
Under “wins” I write down my 3 wins for the day, and under “feedback” I write 3 things I can do to make tomorrow even better. This is something I now look forward to doing every evening.
The ability to condition yourself to acknowledge your small wins will boost your confidence, creates momentum and inspires more purposeful action.
Giving yourself feedback at the end of each day is also powerful because it provides you with the one thing we need if we want to make any significant improvements in our lives – awareness.
If you notice for 3 days in a row under “feedback” you write: “spend less time on social media” or “get more sleep so I’m not so tired in the AM”, you’ll start to become aware that this is a recurring issue, and can create a plan of action to change it.Advertising
This isn’t about you beating yourself up. Look at it as coaching yourself, training your “awareness muscle”, and setting yourself up to master your day tomorrow.
It’s your turn…
I’m not sure who originally said this, but a quote that has stuck with me is “Nothing changes if nothing changes.”
You are one powerful question away from transforming your life and business.
I hope this article has inspired and provided you with at least one takeaway you can immediately implement and see results with.
To recap… Focus on serving others, take action on your “one thing”, celebrate your small wins, and create the space to get feedback.
It’s time to take action.
Last Updated on July 16, 2019
6 Effective Ways to Enhance Your Problem Solving Skills
Have you ever thought of yourself as a problem solver? I’m guessing not. But in reality, we are constantly solving problems. And the better our problem solving skills are, the easier our lives are.
Problems arise in many shapes and forms. They can be mundane, everyday problems, or larger more complex problems:
What to have for dinner tonight?
Which route to take to work?
How to fix a project that’s running behind schedule?
How to change from an uninspiring job to a career you’re really passionate about?
Every day, you’ll be faced with at least one problem to solve. But it gets easier when you realize that problems are simply choices. There’s nothing ‘scary’ about them other than having to make a decision.
No matter what job you’re in, where you live, who your partner is, how many friends you have, you will be judged on your ability to solve problems. Because problems equal hassles for everyone concerned. And people don’t like hassle. So the more problems you can solve, the less hassle all-round, the happier people are with you. Everyone wins.
Why Are Problem Solving Skills Important?
Problem is something hard to understand or accomplish or deal with. It can be a task, a situation, or even a person. Problem solving involves methods and skills to find the best solutions to problems.
Problem solving is important because we all have decisions to make, and questions to answer in our lives. Amazing people like Eleanor Roosevelt, Steve Jobs, Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr., are all great problems solvers. Good parents, teachers, doctors and waiters all have to be good at solving different sort of problems as well.
Problem solving skills are for our everyday lives.
How to Enhance Problem Solving Skills
Most people believe that you have to be very intelligent in order to be a good problem solver, but that’s not true.
You don’t have to be super smart to be a problem solver, you just need practice.
When you understand the different steps to solve a problem, you’ll be able to come up with great solutions.
1. Focus on the Solution, Not the Problem
Neuroscientists have proven that your brain cannot find solutions if you focus on the problem. This is because when you focus on the problem, you’re effectively feeding ‘negativity,’ which in turn activates negative emotions in the brain. These emotions block potential solutions.
I’m not saying you should ‘ignore the problem,’ instead, try to remain calm. It helps to first, acknowledge the problem; and then, move your focus to a solution-oriented mindset where you keep fixed on what the ‘answer’ could be, rather than lingering on ‘what went wrong’ and ‘who’s fault it is’.
2. Adapt 5 Whys to Clearly Define the Problem
5 Whys is a problem solving framework to help you get to the root of a problem.
By repeatedly asking the question “why” on a problem, you can dig into the root cause of a problem, and that’s how you can find the best solution to tackle the root problem once and for all. And it can go deeper than just asking why for five times.
If the problem is “always late to work”…
- Why am I late to work?
I always click the snooze button and just want to go on sleeping.
- Why do I want to go on sleeping?
I feel so tired in the morning.
- Why do I feel tired in the morning?
I slept late the night before, that’s why.
- Why did I sleep late?
I wasn’t sleepy after drinking coffee, and I just kept scrolling my Facebook feed and somehow I couldn’t stop.
- Why did I drink coffee?
Because I was too sleepy at work in the afternoon, not having enough sleep the night before.
So there you see, if you didn’t try to dig out the root of the problem, you may just set a few more alarms and have it beep every five minutes in the morning. But in fact, the problem you need to solve is to quit Facebook surfing endlessly at night so you’ll feel more energetic in the day time, and you won’t even need coffee.
3. Simplify Things
As human beings, we have a tendency to make things more complicated than they need to be! Try simplifying your problem by generalizing it.
Remove all the details and go back to the basics. Try looking for a really easy, obvious solution – you might be surprised at the results! And we all know that it’s often the simple things that are the most productive.
4. List out as Many Solutions as Possible
Try to come up with ‘ALL POSSIBLE SOLUTIONS’ – even if they seem ridiculous at first. It’s important you keep an open mind to boost creative thinking, which can trigger potential solutions.
Coming from 10 years in the corporate advertising industry, it is drummed into you that ‘No idea is a bad idea’ and this aids creative thinking in brainstorms and other problem-solving techniques.
Whatever you do, do not ridicule yourself for coming up with ‘stupid solutions’ as it’s often the crazy ideas that trigger other more viable solutions.
5. Think Laterally
Change the ‘direction’ of your thoughts by thinking laterally. Pay attention to the saying,
‘You cannot dig a hole in a different place by digging it deeper.”
Try to change your approach and look at things in a new way. You can try flipping your objective around and looking for a solution that is the polar opposite!
Even if it feels silly, a fresh and unique approach usually stimulates a fresh solution.
6. Use Language That Creates Possibility
Lead your thinking with phrases like ‘what if…’ and ‘imagine if…’ These terms open up our brains to think creatively and encourage solutions.
Avoid closed, negative language such as ‘I don’t think…’ or ‘But this is not right…’.
The Bottom Line
There’s nothing scary about a problem when you start to adapt my advice.
Try not to view problems as ‘scary’ things! If you think about what a problem really is, it’s really just feedback on your current situation.
Every problem is telling you that something is not currently working and that you need to find a new way around it.
So try to approach problems neutrally – without any judgment. Practice focusing on defining a problem, keep calm and not to make things too complicated.
More About Problem Solving
- How to Solve Any Problem Efficiently with 5 Whys (Step-By-Step Guide)
- 30 Tips to Rejuvenate Your Creativity
- The Power of Deep Thinking: Essence of Creativity
Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com
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