When Did You Ask Yourself These Life Changing Questions?

transforming our relationships

Twenty-six years ago, I started asking myself questions and answering them. My life transformed. Socrates believed that if we ask ourselves the right questions, we come to our own truth; not our mother’s truth and not our spouse’s truth. We define our truth.

In 1990, I launched a question-driven group program that has transformed the professional lives of over 42,000 participants. For many, the experience is a very big surprise because so little time is spent exploring what we want and all that we have grown into. Socrates once said that the life that has not been examined is not worth living. Over watching so many people ask questions, my pronouncement is less harsh. I find that until we thoroughly examine our lives we are examining someone else’s life.

So, here are a few questions that fit the landscape of change that is impacting so many professional lives. None of these questions come from The Inspired Work Program. We will save that surprise for the people who participate.

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  • How can change impact your current profession, in positive ways?
  • In negative ways?
  • How comfortable are you with self-invention and self-change?
  • What do you need to learn and to do so self-invention and self-change happens more frequently and with greater pleasure?
  • Describe any areas of your life where you feel you have given up.
  • How could you reclaim that aspect of your life?
  • What kinds of help do you need to succeed in your business, your career or your profession?
  • You are looking back at this year and thinking of it as a turning point, that your life turned into one that exceeded your dreams. What happened? [/message][su_spacer]

Now if you want to really try on these questions, don’t read them. Write one down in your own handwriting and write out an answer.

Remember, the only unacceptable answer is “I don’t know.”


David Harder
David Harder
DAVID founded Inspired Work in 1990, which has helped over 42,000 professionals transform their relationship towards work. Individuals from all walks of life attend Inspired Work’s public programs to launch new careers, new business or to become more successful in their existing role. He views work as a profound opportunity to become more fulfilled, contributive and effective. Mr. Harder’s leadership, employee engagement, executive development and social networking programs are used in a wide variety of organizations including The Walt Disney Company, HBO, Sony Pictures Entertainment, Loyola Marymount University, University of Southern California, The United Church of Religious Science, Morgan Stanley, and many others. Inspired Work’s leadership programs, career development and team building programs produce some of the worlds most outstanding satisfaction numbers in any business: 92.6% out of a hundred. David has appeared on many business and human-interest programs including CNN, KTLA News, KFWB News and Business News Network. David’s book, new book, The Workplace Engagement Solution (Career Press) offers an entire “crack-the-code” approach to engagement.

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  1. Know yourself, the sentence inscribed in the temple of Apollo at Delphi, is perhaps the oldest teaching that comes to us from Western culture. Initially it was an invitation to acknowledge the limitations of our human condition. Later he began to mean the need to know the world from ourselves, and then a founding inner knowledge of the world.
    Often we can have the impression of knowing each other already, of having already understood who we are, of having arrived at a definitive and unalterable result, perhaps even for a long time. It is then, perhaps, more productive to return to the programmatic sense of that ancient sentence, which is, rather, to seek, to explore. Therefore remain in an attitude of total openness to everything that arrives, an attitude of discovery and continuous possibility of transformation.

  2. Visualization supports us through our daily routine and achieving our goals. If we see our lives as a play, a story, or a board game, we can craft the story, we can craft the rules; allowing us to architect ourselves to be people we want to be through asking the right questions and doing the right things.

  3. A very good article! I found Robert Nozick’s book – The Examined Life: Philosophical Meditations – some 25 years ago, and found it very worthwhile. I’m a great believer in examining one’s (my) life – questioning everything.

  4. David, I believe it is much harder today to self examine than ever before, even if one has the desire to do so. To do it effectively one must be alone. No cell phone ringing, no texting, no computer telling you that you have an email. We are so absorbed in “being in touch” that we may have lost our way as to being alone.

    I find that many people are simply uncomfortable at being alone. Having cleared that barrier though then comes self examination and that can be, and often is, painful.

    • While I agree that there are many people who find being alone difficult, I think an increasing number are becoming interested in self-reflection, judging by the number of books, courses and retreats on related subjects such as meditation, metaphysics, philosophy…and so on

    • Hello Ken, Thank you for your note. I agree to a point. When we begin self-examination, it is a good idea to have no distractions. We provide a safe and distraction free environment in our programs. But, we also want to build the muscle so that we are able to check in with our truth all of the time including the frenzy of modern life. It is a learnable skill.

    • Hello Ken, I appreciate your comments. Skilled self-inquiry becomes even more important as change accelerates. Our programs all use Socratic (question-based) curriculum. Usually, they come into a program to produce one big change. Today, I walk into the offices of past clients/participants and see our workbook on a desk or bookcase. We suggest that all of our organizational clients to a simple five-minute ritual at the beginning of each day – to prioritize their work and to recognize the areas that might be getting malnourished. The work becomes far less painful with time and with the experience of the benefits.