By: Sinem Günel
They’re challenging but worth answering.
If your life is anything like mine, you’re answering dozens of questions each day.
You’re replying to emails and text messages, are completing forms, and are probably even explaining the same things daily because your colleagues or clients usually ask the same questions on repeat.
Yet, even though we need to give so many answers, we barely take the time to ask the right questions.
But sometimes, asking the right questions at the right time can help us discover the answers we need to make profound changes in our lives.
How much time do I spend doing things I love? (And how can I possibly increase it?)
Here’s a quick question: What’s an activity you genuinely enjoy?
When are you in your zone of genius so that time flies and you feel emerged in the activity without thinking about anything else?
Is it sports? Reading? Hiking? Watching movies? Spending time with your friends? Drawing? Writing? Singing?
Now, here’s a follow-up question: How much time do you spend doing what you enjoy?
Most people don’t have enough time to do what they love. Or at least that’s what they think. They’re so busy that they neglect the activities that light up their hearts.
And guess what happens when you do that?
You lose motivation and drive.
Life starts to feel monotonous and boring. You feel like you’re just doing what others expect you to do. And worse, you feel like you don’t even deserve to be happy by doing things you enjoy.
Here’s the point: You don’t necessarily need to turn your passion into a career, but you should be able to take time for the activities that make you feel most alive.
What’s my definition of “success”?
Today, “success” is often tied to external factors like social media.
Young people are seeking followers and fame because they believe that’s what success looks like.
Yet, the reality is that success can have a different meaning for each of us, and that’s perfectly fine.
My definition of a successful life can be the opposite of yours, and we can both be perfectly happy because we’re living according to our own desires.
However, you can only find contentment and satisfaction if you know what you want.
So take your time to define your own version of success, and don’t let anyone else do it for you.
What do I need to forgive myself for?
Most people sabotage their peace of mind because they can’t let go of the past.
They can’t forgive others, but they also can’t forgive themselves for mistakes or wrong choices they made years ago.
Yet, the truth is that we all make mistakes.
Some of them are more painful than others, but regardless of how big the mistake was, holding on to it only makes things worse.
Mistakes are never fun, but they can be great teachers.
And even if there’s nothing you can learn, there’s no point in dwelling in the past and wasting even more time being stuck.
Forgiving yourself means letting go of anger and pain so you can live in the present moment and make the most of your future.
What if it works?
As a coach, one of the most frequent questions I hear from my clients is, what if it doesn’t work?
No matter our goals, we’re always afraid of failing or not being good enough.
And most importantly, we’re scared of making an effort but not getting rewarded.
My answer is always the same: Well, what if it does work?! Isn’t it worth trying?
If you have an opportunity but feel more afraid than excited, it’s probably a sign to just let it go.
But if there’s even a tiny chance of being rewarded with something great, your fears might be worth facing.
What have I been putting off for too long?
Did you ever feel like you have so many things to do that you don’t even know where to start?!
Yeah, me too.
When we feel that way, we usually struggle to do anything and instead end up procrastinating.
So here’s how to get out of that toxic loop: Grab a piece of paper and write down anything you’ve been putting off lately.
Your list might be long, but that’s okay.
Next, you want to ask yourself what’s been stopping you from actually doing each of those things.
Is it a lack of time?
Or a lack of other resources you currently don’t have access to?
Whatever it is, write it down.
Once you know what the problem is, you can take one small step at a time and deal with the items on your list one after the other.
Don’t expect to get everything done at once.
Instead, aim for continuous progress.
When do I feel most alive?
This question will help you discover where you want to be and who you want to be surrounded by in just a few seconds.
Even though we’re all chasing important goals, life is ultimately about the unpredictable moments that make us feel alive instead of busy and stressed.
Most people don’t feel alive when they’re at work.
They feel alive when surrounded by their friends and family or when doing things they’ve always enjoyed, like playing their favorite games or engaging in their favorite sports.
Ultimately, these are the things you want to spend more time on.
You’ll never be done ticking off items on your to-do list, but if you’re not careful, you might quickly miss your shots at doing the few things that make your heart dance.
What are my core values?
Values help you stick to your fundamental beliefs in life. They help you stay focused and use your time wisely, so you move in the right direction instead of wasting your time.
Without values, we easily waste our time by saying yes to things we don’t really want to do.
Knowing your values (and sticking to them) makes it easier to find alignment and satisfaction in life.
“At least three times every day take a moment and ask yourself what is really important. Have the wisdom and the courage to build your life around your answer.”
― Lee L. Jampolsky
Would I like me if I met me?
I know that’s a tough question to answer, but it’s equally powerful because it immediately shows us what we should change about our behavior.
If you wouldn’t like yourself, it’s probably because you’re not being kind, courteous, empowering, or friendly when meeting others.
If you wouldn’t like yourself, you might want to change how you make others feel about themselves in your daily interactions.
You don’t need to save the world. And neither do I. But if we both aimed to be more kind, caring, and compassionate, the world could easily be a much lovelier place.
How are my habits holding me back?
This is a powerful question to ask when reflecting on goals you’ve set but didn’t achieve yet.
The problem is, it requires radical honesty.
Which things, activities, relationships, or thoughts have been holding you back from getting where you want to be?
What is draining your time and energy?
And how can you possibly let go of it so you can spend your precious time working on your goals with clarity and joy?
How would my best self use this day?
This is my favorite question because it helps me visualize my future.
If you know who you want to be, you’ll quickly come up with various ideas on how to better use your time each day.
And even though life isn’t all about being productive and effective, your answers might help determine whether your daily actions lead you to the right path or not.
I see so many talented people who give up on themselves and their dreams because they believe they’re not “good enough.”
They think others are smarter, better looking, more credible, and just much likelier to do well in life.
Next time you’re wondering whether it’s time to give up on any of your goals, ask yourself why not?
Why should you not be able to achieve greatness?
Why shouldn’t it be you to win big?
You have everything you need to succeed in all the ways you dream of. And the only person holding you back from achieving your dreams is you.
So why not just let go of your excuses and do it?