5 Questions to Get Back on Track

With all of the roles we play — colleagues, leaders, mentors, parents — and a long list of things to be done each day, it’s easy to let our routines take over. In the rush of it all, we may miss the subtle ways we’re undermining our effectiveness and our happiness. Today, I want you take a few minutes for a quick tune-up. These five questions can help.

1. How are you showing up?

Whether you realize it or not, you are always communicating something. Sometimes it can be far from what you intend. During your next meeting, notice what you’re thinking. How are those thoughts affecting the way you’re participating and what messages you’re sending to others? An example: You find yourself thinking that the meeting is a waste of time, and you notice that you’re doodling and watching the clock. You realize you might be sending the message that you are disengaged and self-important.

2. Is your focus on the right work?

Keep in mind that 80 percent of your results come from 20 percent of your effort, so imagine what might be possible if you consistently focus on what matters most. I spend time on this with every client. Identify the three areas where you can have the most impact – what I like to call your “Big 3.” Having this clarity will help you make more deliberate choices about how you invest your time and energy.

3. Are you seeing the opportunities in front of you?

When we’re busy, we can overlook the power of individual moments. Remember that every meeting, phone call or interaction is an opportunity to reinforce your brand, build your credibility or bring a unique perspective. Take a minute to clarify what you want to get out of the interaction before you walk into one of these situations. It can make a big difference in your approach.

4. Do you take time for self-care?

Women often confuse self-care with selfishness. But what we’re really talking about is energy management. Resist the temptation to keep giving and giving without taking time to renew your own energy. As you may know from firsthand experience, it can lead to burnout or resentment pretty quickly.

5. Are you open to help?

For high-performing women who are used to being self-reliant, asking for help can take courage. What prevents you from asking for or accepting help? Maybe you’re a perfectionist, or you don’t want to impose or be viewed as incapable. Remind yourself that allowing others to help is not just about you: You’re giving them the chance to make a difference, develop their skills or get exposure.

This week, I challenge you to focus on one question from this list and identify one action you will take. You may be surprised at what you learn about yourself and how small steps can lead to big results.