While polishing a module of my Coaching Style of Leadership program yesterday, I rediscovered a gem of wisdom from Marshal Goldsmith – the six active questions to ask yourself daily in pursuit of growing into the best version of yourself.
In a discussion with his daughter Goldsmith explored the perplexing question: Why do American companies invest billions in employee engagement training, yet witness disappointing returns?
Kelly astutely pointed out that the problem often lies in how these companies frame their questions. Traditional engagement surveys rely on passive questions such as “Do you have clear goals?”. The easy answer to this question is “No one gave me any.” This focuses on extrinsic factor to the person’s success rather than intrinsic. “There is a huge difference between “Do you have clear goals?” and “Did you do your best to set clear goals for yourself?” The former is trying to determine the employee’s state of mind; the latter challenges the employee to describe or defend a course of action”.
A shift to active questions, can work wonders in driving personal growth. By asking ourselves, “Did I do my best?” we shift our focus from circumstances to our actions, fostering a sense of accountability and ownership.
This revelation led Marshall to overhaul his daily self-reflection routine, and the results were nothing short of extraordinary. Here are the first 6 question he asks himself daily. (There are 32 which you can find at
- Did I do my best to increase my happiness?
- Did I do my best to find meaning?
- Did I do my best to be engaged?
- Did I do my best to build positive relationships?
- Did I do my best to set clear goals?
- Did I do my best to make progress toward goal achievement?
My challenge to you? As we get ready to re-engage with work and school routines, try it for yourself and see! If you like, try this for 2 weeks and then send me note about your results. I look forward to hearing from you!
- Goldsmith, M. (2016). Triggers. Profile Books Ltd.