Dr. Daniel Friedland believes asking questions of ourselves is a crucial strategy to living a better life.
He outlines a four-step approach to help cultivate this mindset in his book Leading Well from Within: A Neuroscience and Mindfulness-Based Framework for Conscious Leadership. “More specifically, these steps cultivate our challenge response to stress, which helps us lean into our circumstances mindfully, with openness and curiosity, and leverage our stress and self-doubt to learn, grow, and achieve the outcomes that matter most.”
Step 1: Recognize and Manage Reactivity
* What are the sensations in my body?
* What am I feeling?
* What am I thinking?
* How am I fighting or taking flight right now?
* In this moment, are my defenses likely to do me and others more harm than good?
* How can I best calm myself?
* How can I best respond to this situation?
Step 2: Reappraise Stress and Self-Doubt
* What is triggering my stress? (Such as threats to Status, Certainty, Autonomy, Relatedness, and Fairness)?
* What is triggering my self-doubt?
* What just happened (just the plain facts)?
* What are my beliefs about what happened?
* Can I be absolutely sure the way I am seeing the situation is really true?
* How can I view the situation differently so that it causes me less stress and self-doubt?
Step 3: Cultivate Creativity
* In this challenging situation, what is it that I’m here to learn?
* How can I better connect with this person?
* How can I better connect with myself?
* What would be the healthiest thing to do right now?
* How can I connect more fully with my deepest source of inspiration?
* How can I best express myself?
* How can I best serve?
* How can I best manifest my vision for my life well lived?
Step 4: Catalyze Growth
Here, we “catalyze our growth from the first three steps by transforming our internal dialogue, so we can continually make the turn from reactivity to creativity and stay aligned, moment by moment, with our flow of inspiration and what’s truly most important in your life,” Danny writes.
Reflection: Consider a recent challenging experience. What is it I am here to learn?
Action: Journal my answers to some of Danny’s questions above.