I love moments of transition — the proverbial ‘forks in the road’ when we ask ourselves, “What do I want to do?”
This is a big question for a lot of people, and it can be really difficult for some of us to answer it.
I see it in our classrooms all the time. For those of us that teach Influencer®, we know when we ask people to discover their vital behaviours, it’s actually really hard for people to figure out what they want to do and when they want to do it. That’s why VitalSmarts now offers Applied Influencer® Training — to help people figure that out.
I’ve come to believe that the questions we ask each other — in our workplaces and day-to-day conversations — might actually help us answer that big question we carry around in our hearts: What do I want to do?
I’ve had some beautiful, joyful moments of clarity while answering this question for myself. In particular, one of these moments hit me 13 years ago while taking a bite of a delicious waffle. The second I took this bite, I knew I needed to do something really important. This all stemmed from a question I was asked three years earlier.
Three years earlier, I was working in a mindless job and looking for love in all the wrong places. I knew I had work to do but had no clue what it was supposed to look like.
Then, one beautiful day while sitting on a pier overlooking the water, a close friend asked me this really important question: “What would your perfect day look like?”
We both decided to write down our answers. It was such fun imagining (with tremendous clarity) all the big and small details the perfect day would include. My perfect day looked something like this:
I was on a beautiful beach, wearing a long, flowing white dress and painting a picture of the surrounding views. Then, I walked barefooted across the warm sand to have breakfast with my husband and my children. The breakfast was delicious, and the best part was… I didn’t cook it. After breakfast, I changed into some high-powered work clothes and left to give an awesome speech to some executives.
This ‘perfect day’ exercise was 16 years ago. I was single without prospects. I was working in a call centre delivering technical training classes to the masses. My current life looked nothing like that perfect day I’d imagined.
But the perfect day I described sounded like a lot of fun to me, so I started to ask, “Could I have more fun right now?”
I thought to myself, “Hey, I could take a painting class. I could buy a long, flowing white dress.”
So… I did.
Three years later, I bit into a perfect waffle and knew I’d tasted it before — only I’d tasted it in my imagination. The moment I took that bite of the waffle that I didn’t cook for myself, I knew I wanted to marry the man that made it for me. Deep in my gut, I felt a visceral memory of enjoying waffles with him for years and I wanted that to become my everyday reality.
That one question all those years ago led me to find my husband and starting a beautiful family. It also brought me to a new job and wonderful work family at VitalSmarts.
Questions are such powerful tools. I love this quote from Nobel Prize Winner, Naguib Mahfouz: “You can tell whether a man is clever by his answers. You can tell whether a man is wise by his questions.”
Here’s the thing: We’re all pretty clever, right? We’ve all got some good answers. But, could we perhaps become a bit more wise?
Here are my questions to you:
What would your perfect day look like? At home? At work?
What behaviours do you need to change in yourself and others to make that perfect day a reality?
To learn more about creating lasting behaviour change in your organisation, visit vitalsmarts.com.au/events/ for Influencer® Training workshops, information sessions, and webinars.