3 Powerful New Years Questions

As is traditional for this time of year, many of us are beginning to review our past year and to set goals and resolutions for the year ahead. I have written previously on a tool for goal setting and for tracking progress towards goals, which I called the Personal Balanced Scorecard, which contains a method for goal setting which commences by reviewing your current situation across different areas of your life.

What I would like to propose here is three powerful New Years Questions – some provocative questions to help us think about what is most important to us at this time in our life.

Questions, thinking and reflection first, goal setting and resolutions later.

With that objective in mind, here are the three questions.

1. What am I most passionate about?

Passion is the force that sustains our interest, energy and enthusiasm, and allows us to perform at our peak on a sustained basis. The more passion we express in our professional and personal lives, the more rewarding and fulfilling our lives can be – and the more we can accomplish!

Ask yourself: “What am I most passionate about, both professionally and personally?” Grab a pad and paper, and make a list – brainstorm your passions! Or keep a pad with you as you travel at work and on holiday through the weeks ahead, and record a journal of what you are most passionate about – and why this activity fires your passions or imagination.

You might find it useful to rank-order your list of passions. Which ones are most vitally important to you? Do you have a list of ‘top 5’ passions?

Next, ask: “To what extent do I express these passions in my day to day professional and personal life?” The more you can express and align with your passions in your day to day professional and personal activities, the more rewarding your life can be. Is there a way to express each of your most highly rated passions more in your life?

For example, if one of your passions was creative writing, could you spend some time each day (perhaps an hour each morning) focused on creative writing – and hence fulfilling and developing this passion? You might not immediately leave your day job in accounting, but daily activity in your area of passion will leave you feeling empowered and creative at the beginning of each day, and who knows – may even develop into publishing short stories, a book, and perhaps develop into a career. Alternatively, you may be able to bring your flair for creativity and writing into developing materials such as marketing copy in your work environment. Similarly, if your passion is people relationships and your job is primarily financial analysis, bringing more of a people focus component into your job can leave you feeling charged and empowered – and vice versa if you are an analytic person operating in a people focused role.

Getting clear about your passions is one of the most important activities you can undertake, as your passions can both inform the direction you choose and provide the emotional fuel to take you on the journey to fulfilling them.

2. What are my strengths, and which ones do I most like using?

Your strengths may include assets such as your educational qualifications, your financial position, your mastery of English (the ‘lingua france’ so to speak of the modern world), ownership of your house, and so forth. What is particularly useful is to be aware of your key skills you like using, as building on these is a powerful approach to realising your goals.

As Marcus Buckingham suggests in his book GO Put Your Strengths to Work, clarify when and how using your strengths is most empowering and rewarding to you by asking yourself does it make a difference to your enjoyment:

  • why you are using the skill
  • who you undertake this activity with/to/for,
  • when you perform this activity, or
  • what domain this activity relates to?

For example, does it make a difference if you are using the skill commercially for profit or with your friends because you care; with particular types of people such as perhaps professionals or perhaps the less well off; whether you perform this activity at the beginning of a project or after its completion; or whether the skill is applied in relation to nuclear physics, alternative religious paths, or mainstream economics?

3. Who Am I?

Each of us is a complex individual with many parts or aspects to whom we are. Spend some time at this time of year getting to know yourself. There are many tools for getting to know yourself, and some suggestions include:

Write an essay or story for yourself about who you are and who you want to be. Such an essay might cover where and how you grew up, the people and events and influences in your life that helped shape who you are, your values, commitments, aspirations, strengths, weakenesses, likes, dislikes, style, and anything else that you may consider relevant. Talk about what makes you happy, your aspirations, regrets, beliefs. Be creative. Be honest. Let yourself give an answer that is different to yesterday or last month or last year – or feel free to write the same. Feel free to write something that might initially conflict with your values or other people’s expectations of you. Don’t edit yourself and make a polished professional final version of who you are as you write – you can come back and do that later.

Spend time with yourself. Go for long walks along the beach, or spend time in reflection and meditation.

Ask others. Ask other people in your life who they think you are. Get them to describe you. See yourself through others’ eyes. Is the ‘you’ they see the ‘you’ you think you are?

Challenge yourself. Put yourself in different situations – if you have been at the office all year and your holidays have all been at luxury resorts, try something different this year – perhaps scuba diving, abseiling, off-piste skiing, debating, join a choir, donate your time to charity, practice public speaking. Anything to put yourself in a different situation, to let yourself see who you are in a different situation and circumstance.

The more you know and can say honestly about who you are and what makes you tick, the more you can effectively set goals that you can realise. For example, if you are deeply averse to taking risk and value stability and certainty, then you might adopt a different approach towards your financial goals than someone who thrives on change and the opportunity inherent in uncertainty. Knowing yourself gives you the power to choose paths that suit you perfectly.

These three questions are powerful and important at any time in our lives, and the more we know the answers to these the better the life choices we can make.

Don’t forget though that we are contantly growing and unfolding, and we can develop or discover new passions and strengths. Someone totally uninterested in golf or gardening can discover a newfound delight in these activities, someone who was previously interested in global geopolitics might suddenly find the topic quite uninteresting. There are ebbs and flows in our passions and interests – and consequently checking in and asking ourselves what our strongest passions and most empowering strengths are on a regular basis can help us adjust and refocus.

Sorry, comments are closed for this post.

3 Powerful New Years Questions

As is traditional for this time of year, many of us are beginning to review our past year and to set goals and resolutions for the year ahead. I have written previously on a tool for goal setting and for tracking progress towards goals, which I called the Personal Balanced Scorecard, which contains a method for goal setting which commences by reviewing your current situation across different areas of your life.

What I would like to propose here is three powerful New Years Questions – some provocative questions to help us think about what is most important to us at this time in our life.

Questions, thinking and reflection first, goal setting and resolutions later.

With that objective in mind, here are the three questions.

1. What am I most passionate about?

Passion is the force that sustains our interest, energy and enthusiasm, and allows us to perform at our peak on a sustained basis. The more passion we express in our professional and personal lives, the more rewarding and fulfilling our lives can be – and the more we can accomplish!

Ask yourself: “What am I most passionate about, both professionally and personally?” Grab a pad and paper, and make a list – brainstorm your passions! Or keep a pad with you as you travel at work and on holiday through the weeks ahead, and record a journal of what you are most passionate about – and why this activity fires your passions or imagination.

You might find it useful to rank-order your list of passions. Which ones are most vitally important to you? Do you have a list of ‘top 5’ passions?

Next, ask: “To what extent do I express these passions in my day to day professional and personal life?” The more you can express and align with your passions in your day to day professional and personal activities, the more rewarding your life can be. Is there a way to express each of your most highly rated passions more in your life?

For example, if one of your passions was creative writing, could you spend some time each day (perhaps an hour each morning) focused on creative writing – and hence fulfilling and developing this passion? You might not immediately leave your day job in accounting, but daily activity in your area of passion will leave you feeling empowered and creative at the beginning of each day, and who knows – may even develop into publishing short stories, a book, and perhaps develop into a career. Alternatively, you may be able to bring your flair for creativity and writing into developing materials such as marketing copy in your work environment. Similarly, if your passion is people relationships and your job is primarily financial analysis, bringing more of a people focus component into your job can leave you feeling charged and empowered – and vice versa if you are an analytic person operating in a people focused role.

Getting clear about your passions is one of the most important activities you can undertake, as your passions can both inform the direction you choose and provide the emotional fuel to take you on the journey to fulfilling them.

2. What are my strengths, and which ones do I most like using?

Your strengths may include assets such as your educational qualifications, your financial position, your mastery of English (the ‘lingua france’ so to speak of the modern world), ownership of your house, and so forth. What is particularly useful is to be aware of your key skills you like using, as building on these is a powerful approach to realising your goals.

As Marcus Buckingham suggests in his book GO Put Your Strengths to Work, clarify when and how using your strengths is most empowering and rewarding to you by asking yourself does it make a difference to your enjoyment:

  • why you are using the skill
  • who you undertake this activity with/to/for,
  • when you perform this activity, or
  • what domain this activity relates to?

For example, does it make a difference if you are using the skill commercially for profit or with your friends because you care; with particular types of people such as perhaps professionals or perhaps the less well off; whether you perform this activity at the beginning of a project or after its completion; or whether the skill is applied in relation to nuclear physics, alternative religious paths, or mainstream economics?

3. Who Am I?

Each of us is a complex individual with many parts or aspects to whom we are. Spend some time at this time of year getting to know yourself. There are many tools for getting to know yourself, and some suggestions include:

Write an essay or story for yourself about who you are and who you want to be. Such an essay might cover where and how you grew up, the people and events and influences in your life that helped shape who you are, your values, commitments, aspirations, strengths, weakenesses, likes, dislikes, style, and anything else that you may consider relevant. Talk about what makes you happy, your aspirations, regrets, beliefs. Be creative. Be honest. Let yourself give an answer that is different to yesterday or last month or last year – or feel free to write the same. Feel free to write something that might initially conflict with your values or other people’s expectations of you. Don’t edit yourself and make a polished professional final version of who you are as you write – you can come back and do that later.

Spend time with yourself. Go for long walks along the beach, or spend time in reflection and meditation.

Ask others. Ask other people in your life who they think you are. Get them to describe you. See yourself through others’ eyes. Is the ‘you’ they see the ‘you’ you think you are?

Challenge yourself. Put yourself in different situations – if you have been at the office all year and your holidays have all been at luxury resorts, try something different this year – perhaps scuba diving, abseiling, off-piste skiing, debating, join a choir, donate your time to charity, practice public speaking. Anything to put yourself in a different situation, to let yourself see who you are in a different situation and circumstance.

The more you know and can say honestly about who you are and what makes you tick, the more you can effectively set goals that you can realise. For example, if you are deeply averse to taking risk and value stability and certainty, then you might adopt a different approach towards your financial goals than someone who thrives on change and the opportunity inherent in uncertainty. Knowing yourself gives you the power to choose paths that suit you perfectly.

These three questions are powerful and important at any time in our lives, and the more we know the answers to these the better the life choices we can make.

Don’t forget though that we are contantly growing and unfolding, and we can develop or discover new passions and strengths. Someone totally uninterested in golf or gardening can discover a newfound delight in these activities, someone who was previously interested in global geopolitics might suddenly find the topic quite uninteresting. There are ebbs and flows in our passions and interests – and consequently checking in and asking ourselves what our strongest passions and most empowering strengths are on a regular basis can help us adjust and refocus.

Sorry, comments are closed for this post.