This exercise requires deep introspection.
I recommend setting aside a total of 5 hours to answer the following 8 questions.
Too many people run away from taking the time to think about what's truly important, and many, if ever, only do so when it's too late. 'Why' you ask? Because thinking is hard, and people are lazy. Here are 8 questions you need to ask yourself today to live a more purposeful life, get to know yourself better, and - above all - come to love yourself more.
1. "Who Am I?"
Narrow your answer to one word: I am a/an _________. Then also write a long-form definition. Go deep on the long-form and really identify who you are. This is your definition of yourself, not anybody else's.
2. "What do I Stand For?"
Define your values - what do you live by, or want to live by? List them out, and define each one. You can have as little as 5, or as many as 40. As a benchmark, I have 23.
3. "What's My Mission in Life?"
What will your legacy be? What are you here for? What impact do you want to leave? What impact will you leave?
4. "What Does My Ideal Day Look Like?"
Too many people postpone living happily (the extreme opposite is not postponing at all and living to satisfy all short-term desires, only to end up regretting it in the long-term). Draw out, from start to finish, what an ideal day looks like for you. Then work on living it. My ideal day includes success in most or all 10 of my life areas: community, capital, creative, self, health, faith, business, development, adventure, and philanthropy.
5. "What's My Current Image, and What Do I Want My Image to Be?"
How are you viewed by your community? What do they say about you? How do they describe you when you're not around? Do you like your current brand? If not, how would you like it to be portrayed, and how can you improve it?
6. “What Makes Me Happy?”
If you had a billion dollars in your Swiss bank account - and you didn't have to work for money - what would you spend your time doing? This isn't to say that it's what you should be doing as a career; it's to help you understand what fulfills you and brings out your smile. For instance, I would definitely play soccer with friends, have an adventure of some sorts with family, practice my faith, and work on building businesses (the last one is not for the money, but because it's what I truly love doing). Whether or not you pursue any of the things that make you happy as a career, you should always make sure to include them as part of your life.
7. "What Are My Core Competencies?"
What am I great at? Not good, great. And how can I leverage what I'm great at to bring value to my community and beyond?
8. "What Do I Want My Life to Look Like in 20 Years?"
Most people aimlessly go through life. They think they have a set goal, but most often it's only surface level. Most people don't even have their goals written down. Draw out your life in 2036. Who will be there? What will you be doing? What will you have accomplished? What will you own? How will others regard you? The point is not for it to play out exactly as you plan, which, depending on your level of commitment, may or may not be the case; the point is for you to have a roadmap to break through the noise.
Originally published on LinkedIn.com