It's easy for busy ambitious people to get lost in the day, week and even the month. Heck, I know people who are so driven they blink and a whole year is gone. I have no issue with being driven and productive. I, myself, love to accomplish and engage in new activities and opportunities continuously. But I also like to feel very connected to who I am and the people I choose to include in my life.
To make sure I keep the connection I consciously set aside time for self-reflection. This is different than time I take for prayer or meditation. This time is specifically focused on questions about my goals, my behavior, and my general state of mind. It may sound narcissistic to some, but I can't be of any good to other people unless I am first good to myself. So I set aside time every week to unplug from everybody and everything. I use the time to ask myself the following questions. This helps me make sure I am in touch with the deep part of my soul so I can be whole for the people I care about.
1. Am I living up to my core values and personal mission?
Without structure you can end up anywhere. I keep my own set of rules and guidelines to guide me. Then, I can evaluate whether I am following them or how deviation has led me astray.
2. Am I being a person others can respect?
It may, at times, be useful to think your actions don't matter to others, but of course they do. I want to always be a righteous person who earns respect. I review behavior and ponder improvements regularly. This includes showing more gratitude and appreciation wherever possible.
3. Am I respecting my body the way I should?
The world gets busy and the body gets lower priority. At nearly 50, that approach is no longer an option. This is a time to adjust my schedule and priorities to make my body the best it can be.
4. Am I meeting the expectations I set for others around me?
It's not my job to make everyone around me happy all the time, but disappointment is well within my control. I review my behavior to make sure I haven't led people astray. I much prefer to under promise and over deliver whenever possible.
5. Am I using my talents fully?
There is no point in having gifts if you don't use them. I have been blessed with the ability to identify useful patterns and share them through my writing. I recently expanded that activity because I reflected on my highest and best use.
6. Am I performing at my peak capacity?
I don't believe that an energetic person should go all out all the time. Peak capacity includes getting an ample amount of downtime and rest so that you are delivering both in quantity and quality.
7. Am I giving my family and friends my most and my best?
I am very selective about the people with whom I spend time, regardless of whether or not they are blood relations. I want my relationships both at work and play to be deep, fun and meaningful. That means I have to contribute significantly to the party.
8. Am I engaging in worthy activity?
I believe that most people want to matter at the end of their lives. I can't say everything I do adds up to significance, but sometimes creating a laugh or simple nice memory for someone is worthy enough.
9. Am I making a positive impact on the world?
I don't need a rule in my life like Google to tell me to "Do no harm." I have a fairly centered moral view, I believe. But there are choices every day that can impact the world in small ways. So I vote, and learn and voice opinions with an open mind.
10. Am I on the path to my preferred future?
I strongly believe that I have a hand in my own destiny, even if I don't have total control. I would rather that it happened with some aspect of design rather than total default. Even just thinking through who I wish to be in 10 years is helpful for making decisions that lead me down a preferred path.