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The quality of our lives has been equated to many things; the quality of our relationships, the quality of our diet, the quality of our physical environment, the quality of the people we surround ourselves, but I maintain that all of these things are simply the result of just one thing. It is the quality of the questions we ask ourselves that determine the quality, thrust and direction of our lives.
In her wonderful book, The Right Questions, Debbie Ford calls it the moment of choice; where our todays are based on the choices we made yesterday, and the ones we made three days ago, three months ago, and three years ago. The best you can do for yourself when you have a choice to make is ask yourself the ten questions outlined in her excellent book. But, for a gauge of where you stand right now in relationship to the most vibrant and happy authentic you there is just one short exercise and one question that you need to ask yourself.
Step one: You simply imagine yourself being your five year old self. Think about your hairstyle, your clothes and shoes, how you sit, stand or dangle your legs. Think about what is important to you at five years old, what you like doing, and what you expect from life
Step two: You simply ask five year old you "What would you most like to do, be or have? then imagine and feel the reaction of five year old you.
At five we are our most authentic, curious, vulnerable, socially adaptable and honest. A five year old jumps in puddles, kicks the seat in front of them, speaks their mind uncensored, questions authority, wears capes, and responds and acts out in ways that are completely unique and natural to them to any given situation.
So, now try this: imagine yourself being five years old and explaining to that child what you do for work, describe and the situations, the environment, the conversations, the travel, the people, the highs and lows. Would five year old you run to the future you and give you a big loving hug, would you scream and throw a tantrum on the floor, would you squeal with joy, would you throw something, would you kick older you, would you cry, would you draw a disturbing picture, would you run away and hide in your favourite hiding place, would you smile?
For the vast majority of folks, the five your old you would be horrified and not tolerate that situation for one minute. And for good measure, five year old you would make sure that that was completely understood though some diabolical behaviour. You see, we are all five year olds really, you only have to scratch the surface just a little. It's just that as we get older we learn to tolerate and absorb greater and greater levels of pain and constraint. And so here you are.
But you can easily start unearthing your best most authentic fun, yes fun - remember fun, and joyful life. I do this with my clients all the time and put to them: ask your five year old self "What would you most like to do, be or have?" then listen with patience and love to the answers and then make the choices that steer you back to you. The five year old you knows how you really want to spend your day, the sorts of people you want to be with, what you want to wear, the environment and climate you are happiest in, when you need rest, and what is most fun for you.
Blast through any confusion of your life, ask five year old you, the most authentic you: "What would you most like to do, be or have?". Listen carefully to the answer, consider what you could add or take away from your life that would feel easy, good and right to you. Get back to you. Keep asking the question because it is likely they hold the key to a brilliant business idea for you too.