Like most parents, my mom endured and answered a million questions from her curious child. I wanted to know as much as I could about things that interested me so I could make sense of my world. Why do I have to practice piano? If a train is going from Pittsburgh to Denver at 80 mph, why does it matter how long it takes the train going from Miami to Boston? Why is it not okay to feed the cat the apple cinnamon oatmeal I don’t want? (She LIKED oatmeal!)
At my first job after college, my new boss was challenged by all my questions. She saw them as a test of her authority. But really, my questions were – mostly – genuinely about learning. Why do you do registration this way? What if we organized the newsletter like this? Wouldn’t it be better to send the mailings on Mondays?
As you get older, you tend to stop asking questions. You think you already know all the answers. Or you don’t want to do the work to find out the answers. Or you don’t want to know the answers. Those are pretty much the top three reasons you stop asking. Unfortunately, that’s also why you stop learning important information that can not only help make sense of your world, but also make your world better.
Start Asking WHY Again
Why are you working at THIS job, or providing THIS service to your clients today? Is it because you LOVE what you’re doing? If it is, then ROCK ON! You are one of an elite group. More than likely though, you’re doing what you’re doing for some other reason. What is that reason?
No doubt, you’ve heard the “life is short” refrain a million times. And you get it, intellectually. Yeah, wow, Prince was only 57! Holy crap, George Michael was only 53! Maybe it hits home a little more when it’s your mom or a close friend who passes. But when do you get to the point of really taking action? When do you stop wasting hours on Facebook, stop driving an hour a day to a job that’s not fulfilling, stop hating yourself for skipping the gym in favor of kale chips and Cabernet on the couch watching “Dancing with the Stars?” And start asking the questions that get you closer to your bliss?
A New Year
It’s almost New Year’s Day and lots of people are talking about setting goals and making changes. Breathe deep. Ah, the fresh scent of a new year! Oh, but wait, the 2nd is still kind of a holiday. I’ll start on the 3rd. Oh, but then it’s my birthday. I’ll start on the 8th. Ack, then it’s MLK Day, the Inauguration, Super Bowl, Valentine’s Day, and so on.
The truth is you can decide to change any day of the year. Pick a day and start! And if for whatever reason, you’ve got to start over again three days later, then start over three days later. Keep starting until you get past starting. You gotta be bad before you can get better. So at first, focus on being bad. Gradually you can move up to “not so bad” and “not as bad as I was when I started.”
Inspired by my friend Tracy, I started a new weight training program in early July. Tracy came to my gym and showed me all the exercises she was doing and made sure I was using good form. For hip thrusts (which are great for the booty), she loaded the bar with 120 pounds. “Ok, start with that,” she suggested. Um, no I don’t think so, Ms. Universe. Help me, I can’t move this bar! The most I could do was 80.
Over the past six months, I’ve only gotten up to 100. Tracy is doing 215! So while I’m not able to go as heavy as Tracy, I can at least say, “well, I’m not as bad as I was when I started.”
Back to my point of asking questions and getting yourself to doing something you love. WHY are you providing this service? If you’re a financial adviser, is it because you love helping clients reach financial freedom? Or because you don’t know what else to do with your life? If you’re a leadership coach, is it because you love seeing your clients unlock their potential and reach new levels in their careers? Or is it because corporations will pay you big bucks to come in and work with their people?
Why are you living your life this way?
Whatever thought you JUST had, right there, in response to that question, that is NOT why. Yeah, yeah. We all need to make money to pay the bills. But that is your excuse. Your rationale. That is not why. Try again. This time let the real answer come out. If your answer is not some variation of “I’m afraid,” “I don’t know how to change it,” or “I’m not sure what I’d rather do,” you’re not being real.
How would you rather live? Keep asking questions and keep digging for your answers. You don’t have to climb an entire 25,600 step stairway all at once. Just take the first step. Keep going tomorrow. And the next day. And the next day. Eventually, you’ll uncover and learn a few things, you’ll get to your real and useful answers.
Is this a wishful thinking exercise? Not if you want your life to have meaning, to feel worthwhile, to feel fulfilling. You want your world to make sense? Stop settling for what you have and allow yourself to have more.
Life IS short
My theory is that when we get to the last moment, no matter if you’re 15, 53 or 105, you’ll look back and it’ll all seem like one big, long day that went by really quickly. I want to have made an impact, for my life to have counted for something. If you want the same, what questions are you going to ask to get yourself there?
If you’re already on the path of providing a service you’re excited about, but are challenged by the ability to create and develop relationships with potential clients and referral sources, check out The Quick Start Program. Learn how to find the right people, start productive conversations and maintain ongoing channels of communication.