Blog

digging deeper

When Marshall Goldsmith sent me his new book, Triggers, I read it cover to cover on my flight to Vegas. Great read. But what makes a good book a great book is when it leads you to action. This one did.

The Power of Daily Questions

It’s so simple. Goldsmith recommends asking yourself a few “easy” questions each day. Of course, I say easy because they should be straightforward. But we all know gut-check questions are some of the most difficult in the world.

He shares:

For years I’ve followed a nightly follow-up routine that I call Daily Questions, in which I have someone call me wherever I am in the world and listen while I answer a specific set of questions that I have written for myself. Every day. For the longest time there were thirteen questions, many focused on my physical well-being, because if you don’t have your health . . well, you know the rest. The first question was always “How happy was I today?” (because that’s important to me), followed by questions like:

How meaningful was my day?
How much do I weigh?
Did I say or do something nice for Lydia?

And so on. The nightly specter of honestly answering these questions kept me focused on my goal of being a happier and healthier individual. For more than a decade it was the one constant of self-regulated discipline in my otherwise chaotic 180-days-a year-on-the-road life. (I’m not boasting that I do this test; I’m confessing how much discipline I lack.)

For those who are stumped on where to start, he draws on research of behaviors that lead to employee engagement and comes up with six key questions.

  • Did I do my best to set clear goals today?
  • Did I do my best to make progress toward my goals today?
  • Did I do my best to find meaning today?
  • Did I do my best to be happy today?
  • Did I do my best to build positive relationships today?
  • Did I do my best to be fully engaged today?

What you’ll notice is the recurring theme is “do my best.” Yes, its subjective. You could cheat. But if no one else is looking…

My Big 5

Picking the questions is easy and hard. I have about 100 things I SHOULD be doing every day, but that’s not the point. The point is to focus on what Covey would call the “big rocks” not the pebbles.

It also occurred to me that these questions will need to change with the seasons. For me this summer is really heavy into content development. I have a book due to a publisher and an online course that we’re neck-deep in curriculum development. I need to be writing and developing content every day. In other seasons, it will be more about delivery and the questions will change.

Here are mine:

  • Did I write something meaningful that will help managers lead more effectively?
  • Did I actively work on growing my speaking and consulting business?
  • Did I add value to husband’s and sons’ day?
  • Did I connect with my father today (This is really important because my mom died recently. He lives close and it’s a blessing to have him so integrated in our lives)?
  • Did I exercise?

As the clock ticks away, it’s surprising how motivating knowing I’ll have to answer to myself will be.

Simple and effective.

Your turn. What techniques do you use to keep yourself moving toward your goals?
Filed Under:   Authenticity & Transparency, Career & Learning, Energy & Engagement
 
 
Karin Hurt
Karin Hurt
Karin Hurt helps leaders around the world achieve breakthrough results, without losing their soul. A former Verizon Wireless executive, she has over two decades of experience in sales, customer service, and HR. She was recently named on Inc's list of 100 Great Leadership Speakers, AMA's 50 Leaders to Watch in 2015, & Top Thought Leader in Trust by Trust Across America. She’s the author of 2 books: Winning Well: A Manager's Guide to Getting Results-Without Losing Your Soul and Overcoming an Imperfect Boss.
 

Join The Conversation

What People Are Saying

Ravi Manwani   |   24 June 2015   |   Reply

Hello Karin,

Really useful article and it gives good insight on the personal improvement and effectiveness of what we do.

Karin Hurt   |   24 June 2015   |   Reply

Ravi, Thanks so much. I’ve really gained a lot from the technique.

Steve Borek   |   24 June 2015   |   Reply

Huge of fan of Marshall!

Love his books, videos, free resources in his online library, etc.

Sitting on my desk is his newest book “Triggers.” I hope to dive into it this week.

To keep me focused on my goals, I talk with my own coach on a consistent basis. Coaching works.

I also post them online, write blog posts, and 30 day challenges.

Karin Hurt   |   24 June 2015   |   Reply

Me too. Triggers has been my favorite. I’ve had my husband read it too…. and I’ve noticed some nice changes ;-)

David Tumbarello   |   24 June 2015   |   Reply

Karin,
What a great nugget of inspiration!

Karin Hurt   |   24 June 2015   |   Reply

Thanks, David!

Brett Hutton   |   24 June 2015   |   Reply

Very insightful!

Karin Hurt   |   24 June 2015   |   Reply

Brett, Great to have you joining the conversation. Namaste.

John R. Stoker, Author, Overcoming Fake Talk   |   24 June 2015   |   Reply

Karen,
Thanks so much for sharing. Great questions really get to the heart of the matter and help us learn and see ourselves more completely, which is vital to improving ourselves. One of my favorite questions is, “What messages is my environment sending me?” This helps me to be more conscious of those messages that I often miss.

Karin Hurt   |   24 June 2015   |   Reply

John, Ohhhhh… that’s a GREAT one.

Terri Klass   |   24 June 2015   |   Reply

Excellent post, Karin with great suggestions!

Questions are what really drive innovation and change. Whenever I decide how to help a client, I ask tons of questions. What do you want to accomplish at the end of the day? What gap do you want to close? Am I the right fit for your needs? Yesterday while speaking with a potential client and asking my questions, we both realized what they thought they wanted wasn’t what they really needed.

Love the idea of personal satisfaction questions too!

Thanks for sharing Karin!

Karin Hurt   |   24 June 2015   |   Reply

Terri, Awesome. Great example. Thanks for sharing.

LeTrey Langston   |   04 July 2015   |   Reply

First, Thanks for the Connection…it means a lot to me! Second…the biggest one for me is finding meaning. We get so bogged down with the day to day, fire drills, and mundane tasks, that we (and our leadership) often lose sight on what is meaningful. Finding the meaningful gives me the fuel to be innovative, and insightful, and continue through those “less than sexy” days that are very often still necessary to keep things running.