A few weeks ago I read an article on LinkedIn, “Two Questions You Should Ask Yourself Every Morning” by Greg McKeown. During a talk at a Silicon Valley conference, he heard the questions posed by another speaker, Connie Podesta. She said, “I am going to share the 2 most important questions you will ever answer. If you answer no to either of them I will know some things about you. I will know you are more stressed than you need to be. I will know you are unhappier than you need to be.”
- Are you proud of the choices you’re making at home?
- Are you proud of the choices you’re making at work?
It’s incredibly simple. It’s an exercise in being present to action. It’s a practice of awareness. It’s Buddhist, and you know I can get behind that.
By asking myself those questions (and I do this twice a day, upon waking and upon turning off Seinfeld reruns), I have become mindful—sometimes painfully so—of missed moments and lost opportunities. I’m cognizant of the minuscule actions that make or break a day. I’m aware when I’ve spent too much time on my Twitter feed, forgot a networking event, or snapped at my child. I also celebrate when I’ve killed it in a meeting, when I’ve helped a client in a meaningful way, or when I’ve made someone feel important and valuable and heard. I’m inclined to listen more, show appreciation, and slow down.
That’s good for business.
What defines the day as something to be proud of or… something I’m going to play over and over and dissect it until I’m miserable? For me, the differentiator is action. While I love a good result—it gets me going—content marketing is a marathon. There are days I don’t achieve the results I’m looking for, and there are days when that end result seems so far out that it’s unattainable. By keeping the result in mind while focusing on the action, I’m a little more OK with the wait.
Results are born directly from the tiny, sometimes imperceptible actions we take every day. Setting the goal isn’t enough. What matters is getting down and dirty in the actions that aren’t typically as fun as the initial result-planning. What matters is the way we conduct the everyday. When, at the end of each day I ask myself those two questions, my answers are directly related to a stringing together of right actions throughout the day. It’s not about the victory (or the defeat).
There’s a saying that floats around (Insert Vice) Anonymous circles: Do the next right thing. Do that. Then watch what happens.
Sara Fraser – VP Content Strategy