The One Question That Will Transform Your Life

This article originally appeared in AllBusiness.

If you’ve been alive long enough, you know that there’s no end to the amount of books, studies, online courses, podcasts, conferences, videos, tips and tricks to tell you how to achieve your goals. While this information is valuable, it can get overwhelming, leaving you right where you started—stuck even.

Throughout my career, helping businesses scale and grow, I’ve landed on the one question that I believe you have to know the answer to before you can move forward with anything else:

What does ‘success’ mean to you?

Money, fame, stability, achievement, love—all of those? Trust me when I tell you those things alone won’t bring you happiness; in fact, most of the people I know who make a larger income than 99% of the country are far from “happy.” I believe it was Socrates or Notorious B.I.G. who famously spoke the truth of “mo’ money, mo’ problems,” and he wasn’t lying.

Typically we’ve found that the f-word (fulfillment) is what people are really searching for. The hard part about chasing fulfillment is that it’s different for everyone.

So ask yourself:

What does success look like to me?

If you want to put together a strategy for YOU, simply look into the distant future and put a pen to paper about what you really want in your life. Get a blank sheet of paper, and something to write with, and find a place where you can be alone for at least one hour (to start).

Consider yourself 20 to 30 years from now and imagine yourself truly pleased, content, happy, and (finally) fulfilled. Close your eyes. Let your mind run wild and don’t be limited by what you think will happen. Dwell on what you want, no matter how crazy it sounds, or what others will tell you is possible and impossible.

Take a look around and tell me what you see? Write it down!

  • Who are you?
  • What does your life look like?
  • Where do you live?
  • Who do you live for?
  • What kind of work do you do, even if it’s a hobby/personal pursuit?
  • What kind of wealth do you have, and how charitable are you?

Get really specific about these things and write them down in the present tense. Then, ask yourself:

What do I need to change?

Once you’ve committed to some objectives in writing, now it’s time to change.

Yes, I said change. The word that spurs feelings of fear and hesitation in the hearts of many. In order to achieve these future goals, you must break free of bad habits and start developing great ones. This step is where some people benefit from personal coaching. Whether it is your weight, your health, your creativity, or your personal interactions, a dose of discipline and the wisdom of a coach will help you break through barriers and discover new ways to navigate to those end goals.

So figure out what you want and find someone who can help you get there, faster. The clock is ticking.