Start the New Year by Asking “What Matters?”

Marilee Adams

Jan 9, 2014

Happy New Year! May 2014 be filled with health, happiness and deep fulfillment for every one of you. I am grateful for the many gifts that we (the Inquiry Institute) receive in the form of generous suggestions and communications from readers of Change Your Questions, Change Your Life, from clients (including the many of you who’ve taken courses with us), and those on our general mailing list.

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This post is a direct result of one of those gifts. Bill Hughes, an executive coach and financial and strategic advisor, sent us an article entitled What Matters: a simple plan with monumental results, by Rod Zeeb. Rod is the president of the Heritage Institute, which helps professional advisors and their client families create multi-generational legacies based on the premise that planning for the future of your family is much different than planning for the future of your money.  In short, if you want to provide for the enduring strength, unity and prosperity of your family for generations to come, you must put your values ahead of your valuables when you do your planning.

The article begins by describing a dinner conversation between a gentleman named Roger and his ten year-old daughter, Alexa. “Alexa described an assignment her class had been given. It sounded simple enough. Each student was to craft a list called: What Matters Most in My Life. ‘The problem is,’ Alexa said, ‘we can’t include any things, like toys or computers or ponies. We’re supposed to just list the kind of stuff we feel in our hearts. You know, like love, or helping other people, or being good. It’s hard.’”

She was right. It is hard. I decided to try my hand at that assignment—and I’m still working on it. If you want more information about doing that assignment yourself, you might want take a look at http://www.whatmattersbook.com/ and here is the link to the article. In the meantime, I also started musing on questions that would help me think about what matters for me in my own life. I hope some of these questions might be useful for you. If you think of others to add to the list, please do so– your thinking should reflect the unique circumstances of your own life.

These questions could be asked of ourselves and/or others in any particular situation and at any particular time, even moment by moment:

o       What matters the most to me?

o       What lights me up and brings me joy?

o       What matters right now?

o       What do I think will matter the most in 5 years, 10 years, at the end of my life? (etc.)

o       What would I do or say if I keep in mind what matters most to me?

o       What could distract me from paying attention to what really matters to me?

o       What might be the consequences if I don’t?

o       How would I like that question answered by my great, great, great grandchildren?

o       In doing my goals and planning for 2014, how would asking “What matters” change my priorities, relationships, experiences, behaviors and results?”

Written by:

Marilee Adams

Jan 9, 2014

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