Seven Questions to Give Your (Work) Life the Momentum It Deserves

Things aren’t really moving forward in life; you’re easily irritable, perhaps at a loss? And while everyone else is joyfully talking about the “new normal,” you’re getting a rash? Here are the seven questions to ask yourself to move forward.

Seven Questions to Give Your (Work) Life the Momentum It Deserves

1. What Do I Need to Be Satisfied?

Name five things that you really need! Some find it easier and others more difficult to name these five things – very often, they are not material things or objects. They should be things that make your life better – both material and immaterial: love, attention, friends, a good office chair, an Interrail ticket?

Once you’ve made your list, next ask yourself: What’s missing in your life right now? If this list is shorter than the first, you’re on a good path. And if not, cross off the items that are less important to you until you are on the right track, and focus on those remaining items. 

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2. Who Am I When I Don’t Have to Pretend?

Most of us feel uncomfortable when we have to spend large parts of our (work) lives severely controlling our temper, not expressing opinions or otherwise pretending to be successful. A certain amount of self-control and temporary deferral of your own ideas and desires are beneficial – but if you’re expected to negate yourself constantly, it will eventually make you ill.

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The good news is that the world of work is so varied and diverse that there are always jobs that give you more freedom and development opportunities than in your previous job. More and more companies are also asking themselves how they can attract talented people – and unlike in previous decades, self-fulfillment is now part of the offer catalog!

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So ask yourself: If you didn’t have to perform any duties, didn’t have to worry about anything, and could be anything, who would you be? And: Would you then still be at the workplace you are now?

3. What Would I Do if I Had Unlimited Courage?

How are your fears blocking you? In many cases, we are less aware of subliminal worries – this is where asking friends can help put us on the right track. Then ask yourself what you can do about it. If you are aware of your fears, you have already taken the biggest step towards combating them.

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Too diffuse? Then be a little more specific: What are you not doing because you are afraid of failure or judgment from others? These are the most widespread fears in affluent Western societies.

4. What Limits Me?

Fears build barriers in the mind. But there are also actual barriers in life, and they are numerous. Often you can’t do anything about them directly – but a steady drop wears away the stone, and some barriers can be jumped over if you know where they are and how much effort you have to take, and from which direction.

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So what would happen if you no longer had to respect any financial, moral, social or intellectual boundaries? And: Which ones can be blown up or overcome, and how?

Tip: Classical literature is a good guide here. A good part of literature classics deals with overcoming boundaries. Take a look at our classic advice column to find out more.

5. Why All This?

What used to be the number one question only in personality advice books is now the number one question in the business world: What is your “why”? What difference do you want to make in this world? There is usually not just one answer to this, but many. However, it’s not the number that matters but the impetus to move toward achieving their goal.

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6. What’s My Legacy?

One day when you are no longer in this world, how would you like the people you have been involved with in your life to think and talk about you?

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Tip: Look at our biographies and pick out a historical person you empathize with. Do things that emulate her or him (just not if it’s a person from the dictator category…)!

7. What Stands Between My Present Life and a Better Life?

The answers you gave above can be summarized (after all, this is getAbstract), and then conclusions can be drawn about implementing your goals in reality: Where would you like to live? Who would you like to spend your time with? What are the people in your environment like? What profession would you like to pursue? How do you spend your free time? How do you feel now, and what do you want to change about it?

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It is worth keeping the lists and asking yourself the same questions again every few months – to see what progress you are making and to determine how serious you are about making a change. And if you are serious, be happy about how your life is getting the momentum it deserves!

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