Executive coach Marshal Goldsmith uses a daily activity to help trigger positive actions for leaders, managers, or just about anyone. In a recent podcast I heard, he suggests having time set aside every day for this activity. Further, he says it is best if someone else prompts you with your questions each day and listens to, or reads, your responses in person, on the phone, or by email. Goldsmith himself pays someone to call him daily to keep him on track with his questions. He recommends these six basic questions for everyone:
- Did I do my best to set clear goals?
- Did I do my best to make progress towards goal achievement?
- Did I do my best to find meaning?
- Did I do my best to be happy?
- Did I do my best to build positive relationships?
- Did I do my best to be fully engaged?
Goldsmith says the beginning phrase “Did I do my best to” of each question is important to stimulate active responses. Also, he suggests adding questions to your daily list that address more specifics about your business or personal situations. Some examples from his own list that he gave in his book Triggers: Creating Behavior That Lasts–Becoming the Person You Want to Be (co-authored with Mark Reiter) were “Did I do my best to”:
- Learn something new?
- Develop new material?
- Preserve all client relationships?
- Be grateful for what you have?
- Avoid angry or destructive comments about others?
- Forgive yourself and others for perceived mistakes?
- Avoid trying to prove you’re right when it’s not worth it?
- Not waste energy on what you cannot change?
- Get a good night’s sleep?
- Have a healthy diet?
- Say or do something nice for Lydia [his wife]?
- Say or do something nice for Bryan [his son]?
- Say or do something nice for Kelly [his daughter]?
- Say or do something nice for Reid [his son-in-law]?
If you want to hear more about this exercise and related topics, listen to the podcast from the Blanchard LeaderChat at https://leaderchat.files.wordpress.com/2016/10/blanchard-leaderchat-marshall-goldsmith-interview-final.mp3. In this segment, Chad Gordon interviews Dr. Goldsmith about the environmental and psychological triggers that can derail us at work and in life and what we can do about it. At the end, Dr. Ken Blanchard sums up the key takeaways from the topics raised in the interview.