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Questions for a New Phase of Life

An exploration of purpose.

Key points

  • The COVID crisis has given many people time to reflect on a new future.
  • Joy comes not from staying stuck in the old but from exploring the new.
  • Attempt to allow the process of change to be enjoyable by contemplating questions like, "What does hope bring to me?" or "What gives me energy?"

Change is not easy. It can be daunting to even think about the first small steps to change. Attempt to allow the process to be enjoyable. In many cases, we have worked our entire life to be afforded this time to change, so remember that it is a reward. Make it a sort of fantasy game.

Our brains like to play. Our brains love questions. That is why most board games involve questions and why people love crossword puzzles. Look at the number of game shows where we sit and watch people laugh and cry at questions. However, rarely do we see a game show with the question, “Why don’t you just quit your job and move on with your passion?” We can leave that to Dr. Phil, who also has a show based on questions.

The COVID crisis has given many people time to reflect on a new future. Many of us feel renewed in some ways and confused in other ways. We might have become much more aware of ourselves while we had nothing to do but were unsure what the change might be.

I hope that some of these questions might be stepping stones for contemplation.

Ask small questions like:

  • What can I do tomorrow that might make me happy or improve my life?
  • What is one small step that would bring me a feeling of accomplishment?
  • What do my friends love about me?
  • If I got out of bed one hour early tomorrow, what might I do that could make a difference?
  • What did I love as a kid? (very important question)
  • What if I called one person right now just to tell them I love them? What would they say? (“Have you been drinking?”)
  • What is on your bucket list?
  • What are your favorite songs, stories, jokes, movies, plays, and poems?

Ask important questions like:

  • What does hope mean to me?
  • What might bring a new purpose to my life?
  • What would make me feel more balanced in my life?
  • What gives me energy and motivation?
  • What is my greatest dream? What’s keeping me from living it? (Research your dream online and see who is doing it.)
  • What would your obituary say if you died today? What might it say differently if you die in twenty years?

Interestingly, some of our most challenging questions are the fun ones for our family and friends.

Choose one or two people and ask these questions:

  • What do you think is the most important talent I have to share with the world?
  • What do you think holds me back?
  • What kind of new career do you think would truly excite and motivate me?
  • Where would you say I have made mistakes?
  • Why do you love me?

A few more questions to explore:

  • Where were your parents stuck?
  • What were their challenges, and how did they react to them?
  • Where are you stuck?
  • How is it similar to where your parents were stuck?
  • Where are you blocking progress because of fear?
  • What people, situations, or circumstances deplete your energy?
  • What might you have to let go of in order to make a change?
  • What things can’t you live without?
  • What do you hear when you get quiet?
  • What is your definition of fun?

Throughout life, our calling, our purpose, continues to change. Joy comes not from staying stuck in the old but from exploring the new. Please make all these questions fun, not a chore.

  • What have been your callings in the past?
  • What, and who brought you joy?
  • How have those callings changed, and how have they led to a new calling? What elements of the past do you want to keep and use for your future?
  • List all memorable moments that influenced your life and who you are. Which ones make you smile?
  • Preferably with someone else, on a large pad or board, randomly brainstorm every possible thing you might do with your future. Don’t judge or edit. Just write everything that comes to mind.
  • Interview a close family member or friend and ask what subjects you often bring up and are passionate about.
  • What are some old habits that I might want to change? What about new habits?

Start a group of peers or friends that meet weekly to discuss your futures. Bring your favorite foods. Create an agenda each week of topics to discuss. Ask each member to come to the group with a list of unique questions to process. Turn it into a board game. Some of the best answers come from a community.

Have fun.