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The 3 Questions That Will Lead to Guaranteed Success

The 3 Questions That Will Lead to Guaranteed Success

Asking questions can be extremely powerful, but those questions must be relevant to your life, and you must take the time to answer them.

If you want to increase your productivity, efficiency, personal growth, and motivation there are 3 questions that will do exactly that. By taking the time to sit down and address them, you can drastically accelerate your progress on all your goals.

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Success is the sum of small efforts, repeated day in and day out.

    The 3 Questions That Will Lead to Massive Success

    The 3 questions are:
    1. What did you do today that moved you towards your goals?
    2. What actions did you take today that prevented you from achieving your goals?
    3. What new practices can accelerate your progress towards your goals?

    Before I jump into explaining how to use these specific questions I want to discuss why each one is powerful. Each question plays a very important and critical role.

    What did you do today that moved you towards your goals?

    You do things each week that move you towards your goals, and the more of these actions that you do, faster you will attain them. This question helps you identify those key behaviors, as you should aim to increase them.

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    What actions did you take today that prevented you from achieving your goals?

    You are likely also doing things that prevent you from achieving your goals. These behaviors become the barrier between you and your target, and the quicker you eliminate these behaviors from your life, the faster you will achieve your goals. This question helps you identify the specific things you did that are preventing you from achieving your dreams.

    What new practices can accelerate your progress towards your goals?

    No matter where you are in your life, there is always room for improvement. The key is to identify new practices that will accelerate you towards your goals, and this question helps you identify new tactics that will increase the rate by which you achieve your objective.

    How To Ask and Answer the 3 Key Questions

    Knowing the questions is powerful, but that alone isn’t enough: you need to take the time to sit down and answer each of them honestly as well, as ideas and concepts lead to nothing without action. Below is a specific step-by-step process to get the most out of them.

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    Step 1: Identify one goal you want to focus on.

    This is very important! Identify one specific goal you want to focus on—it can be anything but for now, so just choose one. Once you know your goal, move on to the next step.

    Step 2: Set up a Weekly Meeting With Yourself.

    Establish a time once per week where you will have a meeting with yourself. Never miss this meeting! During this meeting you will assess your progress on your goal using the three questions. Anytime is fine, as long as you can make it to the meeting and don’t forget about it.

    Step 3: Run the meeting.

    Now, it’s time to sit down and run the meeting. For this, you need the following:
    1) A timer
    2) A pen
    3) 4 pieces of lined paper (we will use the 4th piece of paper in step 4).

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    If you prefer to write on your computer that’s fine as well. At the top of the paper, write down the 1 goal you’ve chosen. On the first paper you are going to write down the first question: “What did I do over the last week that moved me towards my goal?” Set the timer for 4 minutes, and to write down everything you did over the last week that moved you towards your goal. Then do the exact same thing for the two remaining questions; one per sheet of paper. Once that’s completed, you move on to the next step.

    Step 4: Develop the Next Week’s Action Plan

    On the top of the 4th piece of paper, write “This week’s action plan” as the title. Just below that write out your goal, and then look at your responses to the first question. Choose 3 actions you are going to continue to do, and write those 3 behaviors down on the 4th sheet. Then, look at your answers to questions 2 and 3. Choose a behavior that you’re going to stop doing, and then choose a new one to replace the one you’re giving up. Now you have 4 very clear action steps.

    Step 5: Rinse, Repeat, Recycle.

    You have established a very clear plan to accelerate your progress towards your goals,  but doing this one time isn’t enough. It is critical to sit down each week and to do this. You will be amazed by the improvements you are able to make over time, as this is a built-in system that guarantees constant improvement from week to week. If you improve every week, it is just a matter of time until you achieve your goal.

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    The Gentle Art of Saying No

    The Gentle Art of Saying No

    No!

    It’s a simple fact that you can never be productive if you take on too many commitments — you simply spread yourself too thin and will not be able to get anything done, at least not well or on time.

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    But requests for your time are coming in all the time — through phone, email, IM or in person. To stay productive, and minimize stress, you have to learn the Gentle Art of Saying No — an art that many people have problems with.

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    What’s so hard about saying no? Well, to start with, it can hurt, anger or disappoint the person you’re saying “no” to, and that’s not usually a fun task. Second, if you hope to work with that person in the future, you’ll want to continue to have a good relationship with that person, and saying “no” in the wrong way can jeopardize that.

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    But it doesn’t have to be difficult or hard on your relationship. Here are the Top 10 tips for learning the Gentle Art of Saying No:

    1. Value your time. Know your commitments, and how valuable your precious time is. Then, when someone asks you to dedicate some of your time to a new commitment, you’ll know that you simply cannot do it. And tell them that: “I just can’t right now … my plate is overloaded as it is.”
    2. Know your priorities. Even if you do have some extra time (which for many of us is rare), is this new commitment really the way you want to spend that time? For myself, I know that more commitments means less time with my wife and kids, who are more important to me than anything.
    3. Practice saying no. Practice makes perfect. Saying “no” as often as you can is a great way to get better at it and more comfortable with saying the word. And sometimes, repeating the word is the only way to get a message through to extremely persistent people. When they keep insisting, just keep saying no. Eventually, they’ll get the message.
    4. Don’t apologize. A common way to start out is “I’m sorry but …” as people think that it sounds more polite. While politeness is important, apologizing just makes it sound weaker. You need to be firm, and unapologetic about guarding your time.
    5. Stop being nice. Again, it’s important to be polite, but being nice by saying yes all the time only hurts you. When you make it easy for people to grab your time (or money), they will continue to do it. But if you erect a wall, they will look for easier targets. Show them that your time is well guarded by being firm and turning down as many requests (that are not on your top priority list) as possible.
    6. Say no to your boss. Sometimes we feel that we have to say yes to our boss — they’re our boss, right? And if we say “no” then we look like we can’t handle the work — at least, that’s the common reasoning. But in fact, it’s the opposite — explain to your boss that by taking on too many commitments, you are weakening your productivity and jeopardizing your existing commitments. If your boss insists that you take on the project, go over your project or task list and ask him/her to re-prioritize, explaining that there’s only so much you can take on at one time.
    7. Pre-empting. It’s often much easier to pre-empt requests than to say “no” to them after the request has been made. If you know that requests are likely to be made, perhaps in a meeting, just say to everyone as soon as you come into the meeting, “Look guys, just to let you know, my week is booked full with some urgent projects and I won’t be able to take on any new requests.”
    8. Get back to you. Instead of providing an answer then and there, it’s often better to tell the person you’ll give their request some thought and get back to them. This will allow you to give it some consideration, and check your commitments and priorities. Then, if you can’t take on the request, simply tell them: “After giving this some thought, and checking my commitments, I won’t be able to accommodate the request at this time.” At least you gave it some consideration.
    9. Maybe later. If this is an option that you’d like to keep open, instead of just shutting the door on the person, it’s often better to just say, “This sounds like an interesting opportunity, but I just don’t have the time at the moment. Perhaps you could check back with me in [give a time frame].” Next time, when they check back with you, you might have some free time on your hands.
    10. It’s not you, it’s me. This classic dating rejection can work in other situations. Don’t be insincere about it, though. Often the person or project is a good one, but it’s just not right for you, at least not at this time. Simply say so — you can compliment the idea, the project, the person, the organization … but say that it’s not the right fit, or it’s not what you’re looking for at this time. Only say this if it’s true — people can sense insincerity.

    Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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