Every day of our lives presents each of us with a new opportunity to be bold and try new things, yet often we find ourselves defaulting to our to-do list or hanging by our Outlook calendars. Or worse yet, we jump immediately into the email “black hole” and spend hours crafting and sending responses to messages—ultimately responding to other people’s priorities.
To help break free from the day-to-day grind, I start each day by asking myself a provocative question. One of my favorites, which was inspired by working with Keith Ferrazzi, is:
“What one action today would provide the highest return for me and my business?”
I find that asking this question typically leads to a focus on business development, but almost just as often allows me to zero in on a strategic project for one of my clients that really moves the needle for their business. I have further found that asking this question yields the following:
- The highest return actions on my to-do list almost always become crystal clear
- I realize how many of the tasks in front of me can either be delegated or “time dated” to be tackled later
- New insights emerge about where I need to spend my time that day/week/month/year
As an executive coach, the notion of using thought-provoking questions to yield greater exploration and awareness of new solutions, resources, and options, is top of mind for me at all times. So what provocative questions do you ask yourself to yield breakthrough ideas, greater focus, and ultimately greater success? If you are stuck, try starting a question with “Why does….” Or “What if…” and see where that gets you. Good luck.