If Inside Out taught us anything, it’s that there’s a lot happening inside our heads. The more awareness we have over our thoughts and feelings, the better we’re able to manage them.
In the spirit of Disney’s newest animated film and the two-year anniversary of my coaching business, here are seven questions I love sharing with clients wanting an energy boost.
1. If all your life experiences to this point were clues as to what you are meant to do on this Earth, what would that be?
When it comes to life purpose, people spend decades of their lives on a spiritual scavenger hunt that ultimately leaves them right back where they started. Is my purpose here? No. How about here? Nope. Perhaps it’s over there? Still no. Or maybe it was back there…?
Stand still and reflect. What if your purpose wasn’t as elusive and confusing as people make it out to be? In fact, what if your life purpose is already “found”, and all you have to do is connect the dots leading to where you are now in life?
2. How much of your day is spent doing what you “should” be doing, and how much is spent doing what you want to be doing?
If you’re devoting the majority of your energy satisfying other people’s (or society’s) ever-changing expectations and needs, then where do you make time for yourself? This Q is ideal if you caught a case of the “should’s” and need an antidote that will cure you of your people-pleasing.
This question also draws a line between obligation and inspiration. We all have responsibilities to commit to, whether we like them or not. However, we also have a greater responsibility to honor our aspirations, invest in our well-being and respect our time.
3. How would the lives of others improve if you made yourself a priority?
How often do you feel selfish or guilty for taking care of yourself before you take care of others? Many people support others when ironically they are the ones who need support themselves. As a result, they exhaust themselves giving all they have to offer until they inevitably reach a point of depletion.
This question flips the assumption on its head to reveal the truth behind putting yourself first. This Q challenges you to consider how people benefit when you give yourself the “me” time you need.
4. What would change for you if you made decisions without having to justify them to yourself and others?
Our logic is responsible for weighing options and planning for the long-term. While it might feel good to make rational sense of our actions, a constant over-analysis can get in the way of our heart. With all the distractions of our physical and digital world, it’s important to turn down the noise and let your inner genius speak.
This question awakens our intuition, which is the voice inside us that seems to know exactly what we need to hear in the moment. The beautiful part about intuition is that it’s effortless. Answers and solutions simply come to us without need for justification or clarification. Use your logic assess your decisions, not limit them.
5. Why aren’t things worse?
When you find yourself in a slump and everything appears to be going wrong, ask yourself this question. Your answers will start revealing the things that are going well for you, whether big or small. By focusing on what’s right in the situation, we shift out of crisis mode and begin uncovering more productive ways to move forward.
6. How do you distinguish between a career and calling?
What you get paid to do might not be what you are called to do. For people looking for more fulfilling work, this question identifies the gap keeping you from finding meaning in your job. Enough research has been revealed to make us question how engaged we are in our current workplace. While a career is usually an exchange of time for money, status and achievement, a calling feels intrinsically rewarding because it’s aligned with who we are and what we care about most.
7. If you were to give your stress a microphone and podium, what would it want you to hear?
Our emotions are like feet. If we don’t air them out every once in a while, they start stinking everything up. This question gives attention to the challenging emotions you’ve been shoving away for a while. By letting our emotions breathe and hearing what thoughts are behind them, we allow them to feel acknowledged. Yes, feelings have feelings too! By first listening to our emotions when they appear, we create the power to then let them go.