Getting better results in work and life boils down to changing the thoughts, actions, and habits we have for the better. People trip themselves up in their efforts to grow when they are stuck with old mindsets and actions which do not bring the results they want. When they are unable to grow, they make excuses and blame others.
This cycle repeats itself mirroring the observation of Albert Einstein who is credited with saying that “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting different results.” People who hope their friends, family, colleagues, or even bosses to change to suit their desires are hoping in futile.
It is only when a decision is made to continuously develop that the victories come. If you want different results, then different approaches have to be made. One approach that has worked for us and our clients is the Daily Active Question (DAQ) process which shifts the focus away from external sources to you. This process echoes the wise words of Mahatma Gandhi who said, “Be the change that you want to see in the world.” By changing positively, you are poised to generate wins for exponential growth as you focus on the thoughts, actions, and habits to take you to where you want to go.
We have shared the DAQ with thousands of executives in our work as executive coaches through the years. The process is based on the importance of self-reflection as a daily practice to become more successful. This activity works because asking active questions instead of passive questions, changes the focus of the answers to empowers us to make changes needed.
For example, if someone asks, “Do I have good relationships at work?”, the question is in the passive voice. These passive questions describe a static condition. They cause people to think of what is being done to them rather than what they can do for themselves.
Another passive question is, “Do I have good relationships at work?” If the answer is yes, then people would think about how they like to work with someone. If the answer is no, they would think about what is wrong about the other person. The answers for both questions focuses on the environment and on external factors.
Now, change the question to an active voice, such as “Did I do my best to build positive relationships at work?” This question challenges people to reflect on their actions. It puts the responsibility for their relationships at work squarely on themselves. If positive relationships at work are important to you and you ask yourself this question every day, you would start doing your best to build positive relationships.
The good thing about beginning these questions with “Did I do my best to…” is that it is almost impossible to blame another person for failure. No one can be responsible for “Did I do my best to…” but you. It forces people to confront how they live their values every day. If they believe in what they value, people would put it on the list and check themselves everyday.
The following is an example of questions Marshall asks himself everyday to check on his growth in work and in life. The questions always begins with, “Did I do my best to …?”
1Set clear goals?
2Make progress toward goal achievement?
5Build positive relationships?
6Be fully engaged?
Test it out. Write the questions that you should ask yourself every day. Even the process of writing questions will help you better understand your own values and how you live or don’t live them on a daily basis. If you really have courage, have someone listen to your answers every day. You might be as amazed at the results as we have been!
Transformational Coaching Questions
Answer the questions below as you prepare to change for exponential growth. You might want to copy the questions to a separate document and save your answers for future use. If possible, discuss your answers with an accountability partner (link to ap pillar page) and encourage each other.
1What are your top priority goals in work and life?
2What are the top 5 things that you need to do daily to achieve your goals?
3What can you do daily to be a happier person?
4If you were fully engaged in your strengths & passion, what would you be doing?
5What can you do to build great relationships?
6How can you best motivate yourself on a daily basis?
5What is the one habit that you want to change to be more effective?
Your answers to the above questions would help you identify your daily active questions for filling up the following DAQ tool.
Listen to Marshall and Peter live!
World #1 Executive Coach Dr Marshall Goldsmith and World #1 Strategic Innovation Coach Dr Peter Chee will be sharing their wisdom on rising up for exponential growth at the Global Leadership eSummit this September. Sign up to quip yourself and your team with the knowledge and best practices to rise up for sustainable success.