Years ago, I remember hearing Anthony Robbins saying (and I paraphrase a bit) “the quality of your life, is directly related to the quality of the questions you ask”
I remember thinking, at the time…..that this was a pretty silly oversimplification far better suited for a 2am infomercial audience, than real people facing real challenges in the real world.
The older I get, the more I realize that the best advice is often the stuff you hear on infomercials at 2am. (other than the no money down real estate stuff. That doesn’t really work and ends badly. Trust me.)
One of the single best pieces of life advice I’ve gotten over the years, came from a 9 minute youtube video on finding one’s life purpose.
There is a whole funny back story behind this that i’ve shared elsewhere, and wont’ repeat all of the details here, but essentially, really late one night (after spending tons of money on Fiverr getting small outsourcing jobs done for weeks at a time) and drinking far too much red wine, I said to myself, “Wait……how come I’m not getting paid $5 by strangers to do small tasks that probably take 90 seconds?”
So, in my inebriated enthusiasm, I put an ad up that said something like “I will help you find your life purpose in 5 minutes”, promptly went back to watching Sportscenter highlights, and totally forgot all about it.
Imagine my horror the next morning when I woke up….noticed I had earned my first $5 on Fiverr (for a “gig”I didn’t remember posting) and now was tasked with helping some enthusiastic and trusting soul discover her life purpose in 5 minutes or less.
I spent the better part of the next day scouring Google for “how to discover your life purpose” until I found the 9 minute video above.
(this was before youtube was at the top of every search result for everything 🙂
And while I probably spent a total of 12 hours doing research to help one stranger discover her life purpose for $4 (my cut of the gig – Fiverr takes a buck for doing nothing 🙂 for whatever reason….that simple video, and it’s simple message, and it’s simple set of questions, have stuck in my head for years, and have informed so much of my work, and my ability to cut through the noise, both in my own projects….as well as helping, consulting and advising countless others.
The key for me?
It’s not asking myself the same question every day. (although every time I start something new, I repeat this process)
It’s asking MY IDEAS that has made all the difference. Books, blogs, articles, content, community, etc…..this same sequence of:
“Who are you? What do you do? Who do you do it for? What do THEY NEED? And how do they change, when you do what you do BEST, for them?”
…..has given me so much clarity, and has stripped away so much of the superfluousness, that I’m forever indebted to that wonderful woman who paid me $4 to help her discover her own.
This works for every type of product/program/inspired entrepreneurial idea but it works wonderfully well for authors. (especially those of us who can’t get unstuck)
Here is the exercise:
IF you are writing a non fiction book, simply look at the pages (or pixels) and everything that lies before you, and ask those 5 questions with passion and purpose.
The answers reveal themselves in surprising ways.
(no red wine required 🙂