Character evolves. Our circumstances change. We are constantly bombarded with opportunities to grow, be better, and develop as human beings. Not everyone rises to the challenge. Some of us are afraid to because we think that people will judge us if we change or do things differently.
The point we want to make here is critical: a shift in your identity doesn’t make you a phony! You are allowed to fill new roles and take on new responsibilities. You may hang back, wondering “Who am I to…?
- Tell a teacher that there is too much homework?
- Ask for a meal not on the menu?
- Address this particular group on that topic?
- Offer to be chair of the fund-raising committee?
- Lobby the town counsel for a stop sign at a dangerous corner?
We encourage you to be willing to take on new roles. Where once our commentary or intervention was improper, now it may be precisely relevant. (Or it may have never been improper at all.)
Rather than asking yourself, “Who am I to…?” Why not change that question and ask yourself, “Did I do my best to…?” Why not stop holding yourself back and dive into being better? Why not prepare yourself for explosive growth by changing the questions you ask yourself?
This process of asking yourself “Did I do my best to….?” is called the Daily Questions and I use it every day. In fact, I pay a woman to call me up every day and ask me a series of questions that I wrote, such as: Did I do my best to be happy that day? Set goals? Make progress on those goals? Say or do something nice for my wife, my son, my daughter, and my grandchildren? If you do this yourself, you might even add the question, did I do my best to rise to the challenges put before me today?
I have about 40 Daily Questions and I think of these as a brief self-test on my life’s main priorities. My caller offers no judgment, she just listens politely and perhaps offers a few general words of encouragement before we hang up.
Asking myself “Did I do my best to…?” keeps me focused on becoming a happier, healthier person. It provides the discipline I sorely need in my busy working life as an executive coach, teacher, and speaker, which involves traveling 180 days out of the year to countries all over the globe.
I hope you’ll try this for yourself! I’d love to hear what questions you want to ask yourselves – please leave a comment! And if you’d like to see my questions, send me an email to Marshall@Marshallgoldsmith.com.