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March 20, 2007

8 Powerful Questions About Your Future

“Most people don’t plan to fail. They just fail to plan.” This old saying which I learned from a coaching client who is a financial planner, really applies to any area of your life where you want to make some positive changes.

The most powerful advice I can give you is to get clear on your intentions, and then keep those intentions top-of-mind as you go about your daily life.

The following questions are designed to help you identify your priorities and GET AT what your intentions are. If you are like most people, you have a nagging, vague sense of where you need a course correction, but your thoughts are too fuzzy and ragged to have much of an impact.

These questions apply, whether you need to make major changes of simply fine-tune. The clearer you become with your intentions, the more fully you can live them.

Question 1.  What are your intentions for your next work chapter? Whether it’s a job or your business or some third possibility, what do you want to bring to it that has worked for you before, what do you want to do differently, what do you want to bring forth from yourself for this new adventure, what experience are you looking for, and what kind of support do you need for that to happen?

Question 2.  What are the things that you have tolerated or are currently tolerating (people, behaviors in yourself or others, low standards for this or that, etc.), and how can you eliminate these tolerations as you move forward?

Question 3.  What experiences do you want to have had, ten years from now, looking back over your previous ten years? You might express these experience in very concrete terms (“I want to have seen tulips in bloom in The Netherlands”) or more abstractly (“I want to have learned to recover quickly from “mistakes,” to have grown thick-skinned enough that I no longer dwell on things I wish I’d done differently,” or, “I want to do something groundbreaking with my team, where we all pull together and do something amazing.”)

Question 4.  What do you want to learn in your next professional chapter, whether at your current position or somewhere else?

Question 5.  Do you want to create some shift in any of these areas?
  • simplifying your life
  • completing incompletes
  • handling money, creating reserves
  • taking care of your mind, body, spirit
  • extending your boundaries, being well protected (insurance, as well as more abstract protections)
  • raising your standards
  • re-orienting your values, strengths, what delights you
  • creating a healthy support network
Question 6.  What are the things or kind of things that could get you off track or out of balance as your life gets busier, and what can you do in advance, so that doesn’t happen?

Question 7.  What are the ways that you are holding yourself back from dreaming big – ways you are telling yourself only to shoot for say, St. Louis, rather than the moon?

Question 8.  What do you most fear about your future? Get very vivid and clear and detailed about the fear; get friendly with it. Then figure out a way you would deal with “That Thing” not just how you would survive it, but how you would come through it with strength and even some grace? Then figure out yet another way you could deal with it. What is your intention regarding this fear?

(Sharon Teitelbaum, MA, MCC is accessible at She is a professional Work-Life and Career Coach, author and motivational speaker who specializes in coaching high achieving women, people at mid-career, and professionals seeking greater career satisfaction and work-life balance. She is the author of Getting Unstuck Without Coming Unglued: Restoring Work-Life Balance.)

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