Last week I posted about questions we can pose to ourselves that lead to being more productive. This week, I stumbled upon a two-part question that might be one of the most powerful tools I’ve ever found for unlocking a higher level of performance. It’s simple but requires some imagination. The first part is something all of us can answer, the second requires a level of gut check honesty that most of us aren’t prepared for.

If you knew it was a certainty that someone was going to give you the job you’ve always wanted, but you didn’t know when, how would you prepare?

Ponder that question for a minute. Think about how differently you might behave. If you knew that it was inevitable that you were going to get the opportunity of a lifetime, wouldn’t it change the way you spend your time?

Asking a version of this question, though not worded nearly as elegantly, has been one of the most positive experiences of my life and if came at a time when I needed it the most. During a period when I wasn’t finding fulfillment with my work and the opportunities that I chased didn’t work out, I asked myself if I were living my dream life, I would I spend my time? I knew that I wanted to speak and to serve others so there became a basis for a target. Next, I asked myself what skills I would need in order to live that life and it started this interesting journey of asking questions and looking for answers. It started reading a book a week, searching for opportunities to improve as a speaker, and ultimately to writing. It helped me discover more about me and then leverage it to be my best.

If someone was going to give you your opportunity of a lifetime, how would you prepare? What books would you read? How would you dress? What skills would you need to acquire? Yes, this is a simple question that requires a little imagination, but imagine how much further you would be toward living that life if you actually did those things?

What’s Stopping You?

Part two is much more difficult isn’t it? It’s difficult because our first impulse is to do one of two things: reject the premise of the first part, “That’s silly, it’s never going to happen”, or make an excuse ” I don’t have the…time, money, resources etc. etc. ” When we dig really deeply though and look for the answer to that question, we find a key that can unlock levels of performance we never knew we were capable of. That’s because the real answer is fear and when we over that, there really very little we can’t accomplish.

When we think about all that we have to do to be our best, that list can seem long and overwhelming, but I’ve found that simply asking this important two-part question: If you knew it was a certainty that someone was going to give you the job you’ve always wanted, but you didn’t know when, how would you prepare? What’s stopping you? Is a great way to focus on what we must do while facing the challenges preventing us from doing it. It’s a simple question that might just land us the job we’ve always wanted.

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