Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Learn the Three Questions That Will Change Your Life - Every Day (Part 1)

One of the key elements of my coaching process is daily analysis. As simple as it may seem, when you conduct the mental exercise each and every day to look at your day in an objective manner, it forces you to look at your life differently. And you will see new possibilities that you've never seen before.

This basic "daily" analysis comes down to ending your day - every day - with three "simple" questions. These questions give you the power to look at your day with a whole new perspective while giving you the tools to learn both from what worked and what didn't work for you that day.

The Three Daily Questions - The "3Ds" (as one of my clients likes to call them) - each provide three very important aspects in the daily routine:

1. Recognize the things that worked well for you that day - so that you can do everything within your power to make sure they happen again and again in the coming days and weeks.

2. Face the brutal truth of the issues that didn't work for you that day - whether you had any say in the outcome or not.

3. Find the one thing that you can change for tomorrow that will have the biggest impact on your day / life - this may sound easy to do, but it is the one thing that most people completely ignore, but the truth is small daily changes generate tremendous growth over time.

The First Question:

What three things worked for you today?

How often do you, either in the end of the day or anytime during the day, ask yourself "What am I doing that is working for me right now?" If you are like most people . . . you don't.

That's not a bad thing, it just is. None of this is meant to judge your life or who you are, just figure how to make things in your life better than they are today. In fact, one of the keys to the 3Ds is that they are not intended to lay judgment on what you are or aren't doing. The questions are simply intended to help you understand what is helping you get closer or further from your goals.

So if you are wondering how I define "working", let me start there. The things that "work for you" are those actions or thoughts that helped you achieve or get closer to your goals or desired outcomes.

Nothing hard about that, right? It's not supposed to be hard - it's only supposed to help you understand your life a little better. Here are some actual example "things that worked" just in the past couple days from my clients:
  • One of the building managers for my most reliable customer sent pictures of our progress on a new project to three other building managers as testimonials of our work.
  • Customer was thrilled with work ethics of John, my brand new employee.
  • Watched Training CD - now I better understand Internet Marketing
  • Not giving up on what I'm doing. I may not be perfect in everything I do, but I will do my best anyway.
  • Had a great coaching session - learned more insight on how to implement daily analysis (sorry couldn't resist the plug)
Those are all good examples, but why waste time on looking at what worked, when what most people are concerned about is fixing everything that's broken. The reason for starting the analysis on the positive side is actually three fold:

1. It's very important to recognize all the things that are working for you every day because all too often, at the end of the day, we just feel completely frustrated and want to give up on everything. We forget to look back and see all the things / people that helped us get closer to accomplishing our goals. By making yourself do this exercise you can find the silver lining around any raincloud.

2. If you spend all day long focusing only on what doesn't work, it is quite possible to actually break the things that are working for you in order to fix the ones that aren't. And that wouldn't be good.

So as you look at what's working make sure you remind yourself, not to break these things. Literally, I tell my clients to think to themselves as they look for what worked for them to think of all the things that they would love to see happen every day - automatically.

3. The last reason we want to review what worked during the day is to capture the memory of those actions and thoughts in a way that helps ensure their repeated use and success. Unfortunately, our subconscious mind is not very smart at knowing good from bad, success from failure, and working from not working. It just knows what happened. So if we don't reflect on things (especially new processes or ideas) as working, there is no guarantee that it will be stored properly - only that you did it.

So, what worked for you today?

Can you name three things that helped you get closer to your goals or your life's vision?

This is just the first of three blogs in a three part series. If you are interested in learning about the other two questions and the hows and whys of their, please stay connected to this site over the next two days, as I reveal each of other two questions and how they fit into the daily analysis.


  1. Excellent post! I know for a fact that getting into the habit of asking yourself these three questions will truly change your outlook, thinking and ultimately your life. Thanks JJ for helping me discover the power in this simple to do introspection!

  2. Today -
    What worked: Staying/living and enjoying the present moment.
    What didn't: Running out of time to get every item on the 'to do' list done!
    Plan of Action: Stay in the moment - keep moving forward.

    I love questions and the ability we have to honestly look inside and answer ...
    Thanks JJ - can't wait for part 2 & 3