Knowing when and how to ask yourself specific questions is an excellent way to self-mentor, self-coach, focus, improve yourself and your life.
As we are growing up, the roles different people play in our lives change. This also means that the way we take the advice they give us changes as we ourselves grow and change. An implication of this is that when we make up our minds around how we act and what we do – including how we limit ourselves – there will be many different people and organizations which influence our final actions.
I will call these groups our Formative Influencers. A sample timeline might be:
- [0-5 years old] .. As young children, we look up to our parents and believe absolutely what they say.
- [2-7+] .. As we grow interested in stories (eg bed-time stories and stories from TV, movies and media), these become important and children will play games based on these stories visualizing their play as if it were real.
- [2+] .. Right through childhood, there is likely to be at least some family figures such as grandparents, uncles, aunts or other relatives whose word we value. The influence of these family figures are likely to change somewhat through the years and may return stronger in later years after a period of rebellion.
- [2+] .. Television and Media typically plays a significant role once children are exposed, and the mass-media is undoubtedly a trusted source for people (including children) to draw advice on fashion, trends, what to buy, how to act, etc. (Note not all children will or should start watching TV at 2yo)
- [5+] .. Once we enter school, the influence of our peers and friends becomes stronger, typically increasing up to and through the teens before reducing, but remaining throughout life.
- [7+] .. Once we begin to read, a new world opens up where public figures and characters both fictional and real, living and dead become sources of truth, inspiration and ideas.
- [16+] .. In the workforce and in society, government and company regulations, standards, etc are an influence
- [16+] .. Once in a relationship, this our life partner will be a significant influence and source of truth.
- [25+] .. Our own children eventually become a source of information and advice as they grow.
Now, there is one constant through this whole process (our lives), and I hinted at it when I mentioned how children play totally engaged in their creative play. It is Yourself. You are, or at least can and should be the primary and most credible source of the advice (truth) that you believe, because only then can you live in a manner which is true to yourself and reach your own potential.
Given that you are the only person who knows how to live your life in a way that is true to yourself, how do you then draw out that knowledge and make use of it in your own life?
Ask yourself questions.
Asking yourself questions is about consciously asking yourself a specific question in a way similar to how a coach or mentor would ask to get and keep you on track. It is different from self-questioning or posing “life questions”. Self questioning often involves the big “Deep” questions like “Is there meaning in my life”, “If I could do it all over again, would I change anything?”, etc. Asking yourself questions is outcome-oriented.
Asking yourself questions is extremely powerful, because of all the influences in your life, you are your own most credible voice. The voice which no matter what stage in your life, you will believe provided you are being true to yourself.
What questions to ask?
The questions you should ask yourself are the questions that a coach or mentor would ask you. here you will then self-coach and self-mentor which is a key to the success of this technique because it allows you to get a little bit of professional distance and perspective.
Imagine you were coaching yourself, here are some idea-sparkers so you are prepared when the time comes.
What would you ask yourself if you are …
- getting cross?
- running out of ideas?
- needing to wind up a meeting?
- needing to motivate yourself?
Sample questions that I use:
I will be adding posts over the next few days/weeks, so keep an eye out for new questions with explanations. If you have good ones you use yourself then please let me know.
- What am I trying to achieve?
- Am I getting a tailwind from a trend or cycle?
Ask yourself these questions and improve yourself and your life - Ramon.