The Questions That Changed My Life.
“Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow. The important thing is to not stop questioning.”- Albert Einstein
“There are years that ask questions and years that answer”- Nora Neale Hurston.
Over the years, I’ve started to become more conscious and aware of my actions and decisions. Much of our lives are pre-programmed for us. Graduate from high school, complete a degree at university, get a well paid job, take out a mortgage and spend the next 30 years working to pay it off. And only when we retire, do we have the money and resources to be able to travel and life a fruitful life- but by then, we usually don’t have the energy or desire to do so.
Not to sound cynical, but I have no intention or defaulting to the system and spending my years living in mediocrity. I have no regret in obtaining my university degrees and to have worked in well-paid jobs. However, over the course of the last 12-18 months I have learned that asking myself the right questions is essential. Without asking myself questions, my actions and behaviour have been reflective of a hamster running on a hamster wheel.
So, you’re probably wondering- what are the most important, life-changing questions I have asked myself?
A couple of years ago, someone asked me “What is your purpose in life? The sad reality is- I didn’t know. I hadn’t really thought about it. The mere fact that I hadn’t put any thought into why I was put on this earth, was enough for me to want to start thinking about my purpose. I started to ask myself questions such as:
It was through this thought process that I came up with the idea of starting my own blog and launching Boss in Heels. I wanted to make an impact and a difference to peoples lives. I wanted to help people realise their full potential and become the best version they could possible be.
Understanding my purpose and calling has enabled me to question every decision I make and ensure that it is in line with my longer term goals. It has also made it easier for me to say ‘no’ to people and things that are not in line with who I am or where I want to go.
Everything in our life from the everyday through to the extraordinary is a story waiting to be told. Our lives are a series of memories and milestones. However, our life is so much more than just the big moments. There are influences and interactions along the way that add to the story of who we are and what we value.
I found that once I reached a certain point in my career, people started to become more interested in my story and who I was as a person, rather than simply reciting facts about my experience.
I began to ask myself “what is my story?” If someone was to ask me to summarise my life in 2-3 sentences, what would I say? I started to consider my past experiences and current circumstances, and what makes me uniquely me.
Developing a story has encouraged me to have important conversations about life and determine what matters most.
This has been the single most impactful question I have asked myself. The question was inspired from listening to a podcast episode Tim Ferriss hosted with Debbie Millman. If you are serious about overcoming failures and living the life of your dreams, I strongly recommend you listen to the podcast. If you are time-poor, I suggest you listen from 1:24 onwards. However I have transcribed the exercise for you here.
In the podcast, Debbie shares the following exercise:
Create an essay whilst envisioning the life that you could have, if you pursued everything that you wanted with the certainty that whatever it is that you wanted you would succeed in.
“So let say it is Winter 2027. What does your life look like? What are you doing? Where are you living? Who are you living with? Do you have pets? What kind of house are you in? Is it an apartment are you in the city are you in the country? What does your furniture look like? What is your bed like? What are your sheets like? What kind of clothes do you wear? What kind of hair do you have?
Tell me about your pets, tell me about your significant other, do you have children? Do you have a car? Do you have a boat? Talk about your career. What do you want? What are you reading? What are you making? What excites you? What is your health like?
And write this day, this one day ten years from now. So one day in the winter of 2027, what does your whole day look like? Start from the minute you wake up, brush your teeth, have your coffee or tea, all the way through until minute you tuck yourself in at night. What is that day like for you?
Dream big, dreams without any fear. Write it all down. You don’t have to share it with anyone other than yourself. Put your whole heart into it. And write like there is no tomorrow; write like your life depends on it because it does.
And then read it, once a year, and see what happens.
What are some important questions you ask yourself? Let me know in the comments below!