This is an era that cries out for introspection. In a world where things are changing so quickly, we’ve got to reassess our reasons and methods for everything.
Here are four questions you should be asking yourself now, when it comes to divining your path through personal and business matters in this swiftly-evolving world!
1. What really makes me the most happy?
To put this a different way: What would be your ideal day? What do you want your life to look like, in a year? In the absence of your own dreams and desires, you’ll be fulfilling someone else’s.
And if that’s what makes you happiest, that’s fine. Most people want to pursue their own dreams and goals, though, but they don’t clearly define them. This is the hardest question to ask, and it’s even harder to answer, but writing it out on paper is a great way to start!
2. What three things are giving me anxiety today?
Write those down too, and take action to eliminate them. It seems simple, but you’d be surprised how few people do this, either. It can range from unimportant things that you’ve blown out of proportion (and that should become obvious when you write them down), to things that are important but scary … but will become less scary as you take action to deal with them.
3. What would I do, if I didn’t care about impressing anyone?
This is a slightly different way of asking the first question, but it’s important to identify what you may be doing mostly just to impress other people, versus what you’re doing to make yourself happy. That’s a critical step on the path toward operational efficiency in all aspects of business and life.
We’ve all got to care what other people think, to some extent, but that extent is much smaller than most of us realize!
4. What assumptions am I making in my business or career, that may no longer be valid?
This is another big one we don’t do often enough. The scary thing becomes, as soon as you challenge one assumption, and see the possibilities underneath, you’re likely to want to challenge all your assumptions. There’s of course a limit to how often you should do this, because you’ve got to spend some time actually working, after all!
So what are common ways of doing this? Say you’re in the business of making labels, or you’ve got a retail store where labels are sold. What types of labels are you providing for your customers, and why?
Are there new types of labels that are growing hot on trendsetting sites like Pinterest or Amazon? Would your customers potentially like those, as well? These are all great questions to ask, so you challenge the assumption that you should continue with the current line, instead of featuring another.
An additional way to challenge your existing decisions and make huge moves forward, is to look at your supply chain. To stick with the labels example (no pun intended), what are assumed to be the unchangeable elements of your suppliers?
Payment terms? Product specialties? Order sizes? Whatever the element, take a look at the scenario as it stands, and ask yourself: How could this be done better for my business and my customers? What would have to change?
It’s not out of the question that you might want to switch suppliers entirely. Maybe it’s a new label supplier with factory innovations that your customers would love, or that would offer you exponential savings compared to your existing product line supply.
In that business, you’d want to challenge every assumption, from what labels are hot, to what label makers and suppliers are perfect to serve that need for you.