Do you often feel overwhelmed? Are there times that you feel your career is in control of you rather than the other way around? Are there days when everything feels like it is going wrong and you are not sure how to get on top of things? You yearn for career growth, progression or transition yet despite your deep seated desire for change, seldom if ever does long term change emerge…
But what if 4 very simple questions could help you? What if the questions were powerfully simple and held the capacity to refuel your confidence and cognitive energy? What if they helped you make sense of your day and to plan better for tomorrow? What if you could write, mind map, doodle, vision board, or voice memo your answers in 60 seconds per day? What if you could answer them on your work commute, before bed, in those golden silences when the kids are sleep or during the ‘next episode is playing in 60 seconds’ on Netflix?
I know, … enough with the ‘what if’s’, what are the questions! So here you are. Simple in appearance, functional only as a complete set of four and powerful in their effect, use them wisely but consistently
- What was the worst part of my day?
- What was the best part of my day?
- What did I learn today?
- What can I do differently to improve tomorrow?
Set aside 60 seconds per day to answer them. The first two questions get you thinking about how your day was across the entire spectrum. Acknowledging, dealing with and owning the good, the bad and the ugly. While the final two questions are the future focused questions that set you up for professional clarity, insight, ownership, and growth.
What was the worst part of my day?
Using cursory phrases, words, images or doodles, explore and acknowledge what didn’t go so well today. Spend 10 seconds doing so and skip to question four. What could you do differently tomorrow to improve this situation? Focus on what is within your control to change, manage, or deal with differently. Come up with a few potential solutions and move on.
What was the best part of my day?
This question takes a little getting used to but quickly pays dividend. Too often we slip into all or nothing thinking and use phrases like ‘that was the worst day ever’, ‘nothing went right for me today’ or ‘I am stressed beyond imagination’ while paying little or no regard to what actually went well. Slow your mind. Switch your focus to what went well for you in the previous 24 hours. It doesn’t matter how small or apparently insignificant the best part of your day was, record, acknowledge and own your role in it. Now go to the fourth question- ‘What can I do differently tomorrow to improve this situation even more?’ Come up with a few potential solutions and move on.
What did I learn today?
Remember you are learning every single day but these micro moments typically pass without acknowledgment, lost in the hustle and bustle of life. Take a moment to look at the things that you see only when you slow down. Record, acknowledge and own your learnings. If you find over time that you are not learning or not progressing professionally you have some serious career questions to ask yourself. Again skip to question four and ask- ‘What can I do differently tomorrow to improve this?’
What can I do differently tomorrow to improve this?
Perhaps the single most important question – ‘What can I do differently tomorrow to improve?’ Asked at the end of each other question it switches you into solution mode and puts you back in the driver seat. While simultaneously moving you from thought to action it facilitates you to plan and propel yourself forward.
Your Grow Your Career Checklist
To help regain control of your life or career, ask yourself the following simple questions:
- What was the worst part of my day?
- What was the best part?
- What did I learn?
- What can I do differently tomorrow?
You’ll be amazed at how this 60-second exercise will remind you of your micro moments, boost your confidence and leave you better prepared to tackle tomorrow.
Remember, if you don’t design your own success somebody will do it for you and you might not like their version.
By Sinead Brady