The quickest way to increase and live our ideas of success is to pose questions which lead us into our own self-discovery. The purpose of asking questions is to generate the opportunity for each of us to live our own individual answers.
What do you want out of life? If being successful is your answer, ask yourself what it will take for you to succeed, then start living those answers.
1. Who are you to other people?
Ironic how we rarely think of who we are to other people because we’re too busy thinking about who and how other people are to us. When we’re consistently analyzing other people, we naturally turn to judgment. We become critical and nit-picky about the little things others do or don’t do for us. It takes little effort to judge and measure other people. Yet, this approach contributes little to nothing to our own success, and certainly nothing to theirs.
Successful people self-examine. It’s important to start thinking about who we are to other people. Consider what it might be like to be on the other side of you. When we focus on taking our own inventory is when we begin to experience the most significant and meaningful change. Envision the experience of you, the one you want others to have of you, and begin to make those changes.
Related: A Little Empathy Makes Good Leaders Great
2. How can you contribute?
Rather than focusing on what we are or aren’t getting, we need to focus on the areas in our lives where we can contribute to our own lives, careers, and to the happiness and success of our peers and colleagues. Learn to be unselfish. Success doesn’t come in the waiting for people to recognize us, take care of us, or to lift us up to a new place. We must work hard, compliment often, advocate for ourselves and others, and make the environment we’re in a better place to be when we’re around.
We become more successful by contributing something good to the world and the people around us. The holy grail of success isn’t money; it’s the deep feeling of happiness and satisfaction. We are drawn to work with and for those individuals we believe support us, and who also know we support them. When success is shared, it isn’t the money that is the ultimate achievement; it’s the triumph, the contribution, and the teamwork that gives us the happiness and satisfaction we seek.
3. How well do you listen?
We should ask ourselves how well we listen? To know who another person is and what they are genuinely about, we have to take them in. We cannot be effective communicators unless we are able to give others the space to tell us who they are. If we’re doing all the talking we’re not listening; we’re essentially selling ourselves and our ideas. There is no way to properly advise or help anyone if we can’t listen long enough to understand their needs.
The more intently we listen, the more we learn and the more educated we become when offering advice or feedback. When we move to advise or support someone after hearing them out, we must keep in mind to give them grace, especially if they’ve made a mistake or are headed in the wrong direction. Tone of voice and body language are hugely important when interacting with other people. We cannot shame or degrade people into success. We must treat people the way we envision others respectfully treating us. To listen we have to be focused, emotionally available and present. The most respectful thing we can offer anyone, is to listen without judgement.
Related: 5 Ways Listening Grows Your Business
4. How can you show up?
Have you ever thought about how you show up in the world? We all impact each other very deeply. We can tell a person’s mood without even speaking to them by their body language. To find a balance of elegance and firmness use the saying “watch your wake.” If the wake behind a boat is too big, too loud, or too rough other boats cannot get by. If the wake behind a boat is too small, the boat is not likely to get noticed, and will be run over. We must search to find the middle space of our personalities and operate in a way that when we show up, we are present, noticeable and recognized for our value, not our mouths or our bad moods.
5. What could you do less or more of?
What parts of your personality or lifestyle need some work, or could stand to be toned-down or amped-up? If we have the awareness that we can be unreasonable and difficult, or we know that we can be too meek or complain too much, and we choose not to do anything to work with these parts of our personalities, then we are standing in our own way of succeeding. Do you work too much, eat too much, talk too much, not stand strong enough in your ideas, thoughts or opinions to a point that it is has a negative impact? If you answered ‘yes’ to any of these questions, then work on refining yourself in the specific areas in need of your attention, to help you live with a healthier balance. Success without balance isn’t success, it’s a state of emptiness and misery.
6. How can you enhance who you are?
Whenever we feel we need to change, we are assuming something is wrong or that we are not good enough. We don’t need to change ourselves, we must enhance ourselves. We must hold visions of ourselves living as authentically and powerfully as we can. We must strive to be people we can love, respect, and admire. We should always be working to improve ourselves and our lives because without this type of personal work, our lives cannot grow. All of life is moving forward, and so must we. We can enhance ourselves by eating better, getting more sleep, carving out more alone time, taking more breaks to feel and experience joy, read, exercise, go to seminars, see a therapist etc. Whatever it is that will take us to our next level, we must do that.
Related: 4 Ways Your Company Benefits From Giving Back
7. Who can you appreciate?
It is easy to lump people into “good” and “bad” categories. There are good and bad people in our lives. Learn to appreciate both. Our more negative experiences with people are incredible teachers. We learn who we can and cannot work with, and who we need to keep at a great distance. We learn how to deal with conflict, and also to know when it’s best to say nothing. For this reason, appreciate these negative people and experiences.
It takes very little effort to show appreciation for those people we work well with. We must tell people what they do for us, and why it matters. It is amazing how much a little acknowledgement can do to create great change. Acknowledgement is the great inspirer of motivation.
Asking questions is the most authentic way to guide ourselves through and towards success. Success is the bigger picture we seek. To get there and to love our lives, we have to live the answers that naturally come from within, not the answers we think we should live, or need to live to impress others. There are so many layers to discover and uncover on our journey towards success, that the more questions we ask, the more wholeheartedly and deeply we come to live the ideas and visions that will take us there.