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10 Mighty One-Minute Questions You Can Use to Gain Perspective

And why doing less, not more, is the answer to so many of them.

Greetings from Sao Miguel Island in the Azores!

Read Time: 2 minutes 14 seconds.

Summer is a season that demands we slow down. Both to remember why we work, but also to remember how we can work better.

We can recharge for our year-end push. And we can rethink the best way to use those months.

“Slow is smooth. And smooth is fast.”

The fastest path to changing my perspective is changing my location. Even the most routine tasks now require examination and thought. How exactly do I say “Thank you” in Portuguese? How many Bolo Levados are too many in one day? Should I swim in this waterfall or the next one?

The disruption fires new synapses and also creates space. And in that space, we can spend time examining more significant questions.

So even if you can only change your location by hitting a coffee shop or bringing your laptop to the beach, here are 10 questions that might bring you renewed clarity.

10 Questions To Change Your Perspective

What hard but necessary conversation am I putting off?

It is easy to hope things will change without our intervention. They rarely do. Instead of just focusing on the discomfort, visualize how things could improve afterward.

Tip: Acknowledge it’s hard. Labeling it as such somehow makes it easier for everyone involved.

If you fired yourself today and took over your life from scratch, what would you stop doing? - Shane Parrish

I shared this with Marsden, and she said without hesitation, “Stop worrying.” The harder question behind this instinct is, “What stops you from making this change today?”

Imagine a life where you did this once each year. We often underestimate the power of subtraction.

If you had to eliminate all but the most essential activity, which one would remain?

I use this one for our business regularly. It helps me see what limiting assumptions I’ve attached to our approach. For example, our MGMT Accelerator program is the last we’d eliminate. So what if we could only do that? How would we achieve our mission?

The program runs twice a week for one month. But what if we did a 2-day intensive? That small change creates 10x more capacity.

What would your 80-year-old self say about your decisions today? - Sahil Bloom

This zoom forward can help us zoom out. If we assume we’ve lived our best possible life, will this decision matter? Will I be proud of the risk I took? Will I be happy to share this with my grandchildren?

Time and mortality provide a strong pull on our moral compass.

What happens if I go off the grid for a week unannounced?

I remember taking time off at Bridgewater. I’d work so hard to ensure everything was accounted for that I’d be exhausted going into the vacation. I’d pretty much spend the first half just recovering. Silly.

Instead, those should have been my signals to delete, automate and delegate more. If you can’t be unreachable for a week without fearing disaster, that’s your roadmap.

What is one virtue I want to exhibit more of?

Am I showing up the way I intend? Are others telling me that’s how they experience me? And if not, how can I bring them into harmony?

Your leadership brand is defined daily by how you show up.

What would this look like if it were easy? - Tim Ferris

I believe in the power of doing hard things. This is how strength and resilience are built. But sometimes, this virtue can become our crutch.

What am I most proud of over the last year?

I want to a) manufacture more of this or b) set my sights even higher. Plus, we often fixate on diagnosing our problems instead of putting the same scrutiny on our wins.

Bonus: This answer to this question is often only apparent in hindsight. It’s the “type 2 fun” that is hard while in the process but produces pride after the fact.

What would I do to achieve my 5-year goals in 5 months?

This one is huge for me because I am prone to falling victim to Parkison’s Law. Half of it is the pride I get from doing things myself. The other half is knowing the power of iteration.

By compressing the time scale by an order of magnitude, you either have to get very comfortable going exceptionally fast or revisit your constraints and solve the problem very differently.

Are the people I love getting my best energy?

In our effort to do meaningful work and show up for our team, we can often neglect our team at home. Leaning on their support will be necessary at times.

But if it becomes the daily default, perhaps we’ve lost sight of exactly who we’re building for.

Everyday Rituals

I’ve written before about the power of rituals for leading your team. They’re more sacred than a meeting or a process. We don’t reschedule a ritual.

We received a “sleep ritual” complete with tea, something to spritz on our pillow, and a daily quote to ponder. This one hit home for me.

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