I want to share a question that I first heard in August 2012. It’s a question I will be asking myself regularly for the rest of my life.
I was attending a certification event with my mentor, John C. Maxwell. I remember sitting on the front row of a training class when Paul Martinelli, the John Maxwell Team President, challenged us to ask ourselves a question.
There are some things I hear only once and never forget. This was one of those times. Since that day when I first heard that question, I have never stopped asking it, answering it, acting on it, or sharing it with others. It’s the guiding force behind my personal growth. This question has allowed me to move from wondering and wishing to being and doing. It has shaped, and continues to shape, my life.
Every one of us is someplace. However, most of us aspire to be in a different place. We come pre-loaded with an unlimited supply of aspiration. We all aspire to do more, be more, have more, and help more. But, most of us are uncertain about what to do to get from where we are to where we want to be.
If you don’t know, you first need to nail down the answers to these two sets of questions:
Who am I, and where am I?
These two establish your starting point.
Who do I want to become, and where do I want to be?
These two establish a destination. They also reveal a gap. I call this the “Aspiration Gap.” The gap between where you are and where you aspire to be.
The question that Paul shared with me in 2012 can help us close this gap. Here’s the question.
This question is packed full of potential just like me and you! The question is important. The answer is more important. But, our action is most important. It’s a simple concept actually. If the answer is yes, we do it. If the answer is no, we don’t do it. It says easy, but it does hard.
Les Brown said it best, “When we do what’s easy, life will be hard. But, when we do what’s hard, life will be easy.” When the answer is yes and we follow through, we close the gap. When the answer is no but we do it any way, we widen the gap.
Will what I’m about to do move me in the right direction? I use this question for big life changing events and small every day decisions. I actually used this question when I was asked to write this blog. Obviously, I felt the answer was yes. I want to help more people. I want to network. I want to add value to others. I want a bigger audience. I want more exposure.
As we grow and change, our values are also defined and refined. As a result, what would have been a “yes” in the past may become a “no” in the future. Or, what was a solid “no” in the past may become a burning “yes” in the future. Things we once valued may simply fall away without much sacrifice as we embrace and make more mature decisions and reap the rewards of doing the right things at the right time for the right reasons.
Growth doesn’t just happen. We have to become intentional and make it happen. The most important person you will ever talk to is yourself. Be careful what you say to yourself. Likewise, always be intentional about what you ask yourself.
Will what you’re about to do move you in the right direction? If so, make it happen!
Make an impact!
Mack Story’s passion is helping people understand what’s common sense isn’t always common practice. He helps leaders at all levels develop 360° of influence. The result: they take more responsibility and lead with speed. Mack is author of two terrific books: “10 Values of High Impact Leaders” and “Defining Influence.” You can connect with Mack @
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