The best part about being born in 1953 is the collective life experiences I have to draw from. Some of my best learning comes from asking myself this question. Is this working for me? Sounds like a simple question, yes? The true impact happens not with the simple question, but what follows.

Last month I was working on a major project that had a fast approaching deadline. I had been putting this project off for months. The excessive pressure and body discomfort built up while I felt trapped at my computer for days. I asked the simple question. Is this working for me? My answer? No. Even though I don’t have a crystal ball I could have predicted this stressful experience before it started. It’s unnecessary roughness when I put myself through over the top stress that was avoidable. The simple question was great, but I needed an immediate consistent commitment and/or action. In this case, I swore I would never let this happen again. I could have ended this conversation right there like I did in the past. It’s easy to forget the stress once you are through it. This time I took it one step further.

To understand how difficult this was for me you need to know my personality. My comfort zone is daydreaming about what could be and being a visionary. Reflecting back to the early 90’s, I used magical thinking. One example of my magical thinking was expecting a bag of money to fall from the sky and resolve my financial woes. I took no action to create that money. My weaker muscle in life has been taking actionable steps to create my heart’s desires or dreams.

Last month I became a mentor for a teenager who was having challenges with anxiety. He is in the process of completing his high school degree online with a teaching agency. He was overwhelmed with how far behind he was. What made his situation worse is that he didn’t have any motivation to do anything about it. It was fascinating how much he mirrored back my own challenges. As his mentor, I started speaking these incredible jewels of wisdom. Whatever project you are working on you need to break it down into smaller pieces. Okay, that isn’t rock science. Had I talked about or heard this before? Yes. What was different was my desire. It grew so big and strong to put specific actions in place. I was crystal clear what I needed to do next. My desire to complete the necessary actions increased because I have someone looking up to me. I am the inspiration for that person. Game on!

The plan I setup for this young man created miraculous results in a short time! For myself, I made an action plan so I would never feel the physical pain from that awful stress again. Step by step my high school student completed his high school requirements and is motivated to do so. Both of us are living lives that work!