Year in Review: The Questions You Should Ask to Maximize Your Life
Inner Excellence is not just a system for professional athletes to become world #1. More importantly, it’s a way of life for all of us, a way to live the best possible life.
The Best Possible Life (BPL) is one filled with deep contentment, joy and confidence, independent of your results and circumstances… it’s a meaningful, fulfilling life with extraordinary experiences and deep, enriching relationships, one that makes the world a better place.
To have this life, we must constantly be learning and growing and re-connecting to our purpose and vision. This means regularly checking in so you can see your life as it really is. This way you can know what you’ve been missing, and so in 2023 you won’t miss the extraordinary moments that await.
Here’s some questions you might ask yourself as 2022 comes to a close and 2023 rolls in.
Note: This letter normally comes out on the first and third Friday of the month. This is a bonus letter to share the same Year in Review questions I’ll be asking myself and sharing with my clients.
2nd Note: If you to skip ahead, scroll down and you’ll see The Questions. If you want to see the step by step plan (what I’ll do tomorrow), scroll farther down to Action steps to take.
“To know yourself, you must sacrifice the illusion that you already do.” – Vironika Tugaleva
This morning I drove to Tsawwassen, BC (just outside Point Roberts, Wa–my old stomping grounds!) to have dinner with great friends and prepare for my annual Year in Review. Tomorrow I’ll spend the day fasting (no food) and praying, journaling and dreaming… about the gifts I’ve been given, who I’ve been, and what I need to do to become the person I was created to become. I’ll think intently on The Most Important Question You’ll Ever Ask.
Over the holidays I spoke with Dr. Gaston Cordova (Director of Applied Science for Inner Excellence) and he mentioned he was re-reading chapter 7 from Inner Excellence about beliefs. We talked about why some people have a tough time achieving their goals and dreams.
One of the biggest reasons people get stuck and don’t achieve their goals is because they aren’t willing to let go of who they’ve been. In order to do extraordinary things you need to be willing to do things you’ve never done and feel things you’ve never felt (or were were afraid to feel), so you can become someone you’ve never been. You need to let go of your ego.
Many people fall into addiction (to drugs, sex, alcohol, money or perhaps fan memorabilia) because they had feelings they didn’t know how to handle and thoughts they didn’t know what to do with. Addiction comes from a series of choices that were initially poorly managed thoughts and feelings. The main challenge we’ve all faced in our addictions and in our lives, and the main thing that’s held us back is the same for all of us: self-centeredness.
As you may recall, Inner Excellence is about self-mastery, which means mastering the ego. Your ego is the person you think the world sees you as, or the person you feel you need to live up to or be so you can be ok/good enough/accepted.
If my identity lies in my ego (my achievements and how i compare), then it’s super difficult to let go of my past, because that’s who I am. Who am I without my ego? I would be gone and that would be the scariest thing ever: Death.
Humility, however, is an accurate view of self. It’s the recognition that 98% of your success and every good thing you’ve ever had or experienced was given to you, and that if you were born 400 years ago in Afghanistan, you would not have those things.
Fearlessness comes from the absence of self-concern and self-protection. It comes from selflessness, because when there’s no self to be concerned with or to be protected, fear is gone. And what’s left when fear is gone? Love. Love is fearless.
So if you’re willing to completely let go of your past, of your ego, and willing to step into the fearlessness of immersing yourself in unconditional love, then you can do extraordinary things.
Before we start with the questions, it’s helpful to know that everything you need to learn from last year revolves around the theme of “Who am I becoming?”. Who you’re becoming impacts everything you think and say, feel and do. In 2022 you became more of a certain type of person. You might think, “No, I stayed the same as I always have.” It certainly might feel like that, but think of it this way: You can never step into the same river twice.
Perhaps you forgot that even if you’re sitting completely motionless, the ground you’re on is moving roughly 1,000 miles an hour (spinning on its axis) and traveling around the sun at roughly 67,000 mph.
The one constant in life is change, and if you stayed the same (or felt like you did), then you didn’t notice all the changes happening around you and in you, and this is what we want to avoid. Self-awareness is crucial to living the BPL.
They say when you get old you become more of the person you’ve always been. If you’ve been grateful your whole life, you’ll be very grateful as you age (like my incredible mother). If you’ve been entitled your whole life, you’ll be more entitled in the rocking chair. Here’s to helping you become the former and not the latter.
- What is your life purpose? (If you’re not sure, ask yourself how you want to feel, how you want to live, and the type of person you want to become. Then add in your deepest values and put it into one sentence. My purpose, for example, is to share God’s love, wisdom, and courage with athletes and leaders around the world.)
- How well did you live your purpose last year?
- What are three words to describe last year?
- How would you describe last year in one sentence?
- What was the biggest learning for you last year?
- Did you become more grateful or more entitled last year? It’s one or the other and if you aren’t sure it was more grateful, then it was more entitled. (This is not a moral judgment but simply the realization that inner peace and inner strength are closely bonded, and gratitude is closely linked to inner peace).
- Did you become more self-centered or more others-centered last year? Did you walk in love or fear more often? Here’s two ways to check:
- Look at your bank account and see if you spent more money on yourself or others.
- How much time did you spend serving others (without pay or possibility for repayment)?
- What did you worry about most?
- What did you think about most?
- What was the biggest time consumer in your free time?
- Which goals did you achieve and which did you not?
- How did the two columns compare in terms of action steps on your calendar? (Goals are only wishes without a vision and a plan).
- What do you see when you look in the mirror? Go ahead and do this now before you read on…
- What you see is a reflection (literally!) of who you are.
- If you saw your appearance, that’s a dominant factor (mindset) in your life. Unless you change, you’ll spend your life trying to protect a diminishing asset.
- If you saw your flaws, that’s a dominant factor (mindset) in your life. Unless you change, you’ll spend your life in constant comparison and self-rejection.
- If you saw your accomplishments, that’s a dominant factor (mindset) in your life. Unless you change, you’ll spend your life in constant comparison and anxiety that one day you won’t be good enough or compare well enough.
- The more you saw a selfless servant, someone here to be their true self, to share their gifts with the world and make it a better place, the closer you are to being your true self. The closer you are towards being fearless. If you don’t change, you’ll move towards the BPL.
- What you see is a reflection (literally!) of who you are.
- How did you do last year with ego-mastery?
- Did you become more offendable or unoffendable?
- Did you become more embarrassable or unembarrassable?
- Did you become more distractable or undistractable (from your purpose and vision)?
- Look back on the moments that made you frustrated and angry… often those are ego moments (a feeling that some part of us was diminished because of what someone said or did, including yourself, or anger from what you weren’t able to accomplish).
- How did you do with being fully present day to day?
- How did you do with the 3 principles of Inner Excellence?
- Everything is here to teach me and help me, it’s all working for my good. Did you regularly remember this when your circumstances and results didn’t line up with what you wanted?
- Everyone does the best they can with what they have in their heart. Did you remember this when someone disappointed you or made you upset?
- Selfless is fearless. Self-mastery is mastery of the ego. Did you remember this when you didn’t perform your best?
Action to take
So here’s how to do the Year in Review and some questions to help you look back on your life and see how well you’re doing (with moving towards the fearlessness you’ll need to become your true self).
- Get out your 2022 calendar and journal. We want to get a good grasp of what happened, what you learned, and how you can move towards your true self and living the BPL (then go through the questions).
- Go through the year month by month.
- Note all significant events of that month. Each month generally has at least 2-3 events (does not have to be significant impact, but the most significant events of that month).
- Make note of highest and lowest moments so you can pray and meditate and journal on what you’ve been given and what you learned.
- When you pray, pray for wisdom on what the learning is from those difficult moments.
- Set aside at least 10-20 minutes to dream and pray about possibilities in your life.
- Set some goals and the action steps to achieve them.
I’d love to hear how it goes for you. Here’s to becoming more selfless so we can be more fearless, because the world especially needs it in 2023!
One of the big questions I’ll be asking God is, “Should I move to Tulum, Mexico? on March 1st?” But, of course, before I ask that question, I’ll go through the year, look back on what I’ve learned, give thanks for all the incredible gifts I’ve been given, and then ask about the future. I never want to consider important questions about the future without starting with gratitude.
We are on the backstretch for the Inner Excellence audiobook. Can you pray that it will come together in the most efficient way and empower all who listen?