Alan Donegan: PopUp Business School Co-Founder, Entrepreneur, Financially Independent Pizza Lover, Marvel Movie fan and soon to be Script Writer
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I wanted to share with you the questions I ask once a month and then once a year to reflect on my life and build excitement for the future. Over the last 6 or 7 years I have been researching questions and collecting the best. Sitting down to discuss and answer a good questions can inspire ideas, creativity and change in your life. I am going to share with you some of the best I have found in this article!
Questions inspire conversation and thought
Just recently my business partner and I felt a little disconnected. With a heavy schedule of running PopUps around the world we hadn't spent much time together (which is ironic as we started the business to work together and the more successful we have become the less this has happened!) and we wanted to come together. We did a HUGELY powerful exercise where Simon wrote 10 questions for me and I wrote 10 for him and then we both answered both sets and discussed the answers together.
We were in Paris at the time working on a deal with HEC Paris University to take our methodology and use it across France and north Africa to inspire people to start businesses. It was an inspiring time and in a French Café in Paris we sat and discussed answers to some tough questions and really connected. We openly shared answers about painful problems, fears and hopes for the future and connected deeply once more.
The questions cut through to the heart of the issue and they really helped us to reconnect.
One of the ones that got me thinking the most from Simon was:
"If it all burnt down, if everything was destroyed with the business how would you start again?"
What a question! This got me thinking and got some interesting answers for us to discuss!
Asking and answering questions is something I do in all areas of my life. My wife and I have a monthly reflection where we answer a set of three questions and then share the answers, at work we do it annually and the whole team do the yearly reflection and then I use this process wherever I can. I find it incredibly powerful and the answers that come are amazing and thought provoking!
I had to share it with you.
The quality of the questions you ask directly affects the quality of the answers you get. So here are some of the best I have found.
Alan's Monthly Reflection Questions
This is the process I use once a month to examine my life and come up with things to do to improve. It has been so powerful for me. I take the questions below and in a blank OneNote page I type out my answers!
Process for reflection days:
1. Looking back. What has worked well? What are we proud of?
What have we enjoyed?
What isn't working well?
What are we going to celebrate?
2. Looking forward. What do we want to make happen? Where are we going in the future?
What do I want to make happen?
If we continue like this are we happy with where we are going?
What are you looking forward to that is already planned in? Remember we already have cool shit planned in. Get excited Mofo! xxx
4. What actions do we want to take? Who do we want to spend time with? Where do we want to go?
Every month I go through and answer these questions and it gives me actions to take, ideas to put into action and things to change. The question of "if we keep going this way are we happy with where we are going?" is so powerful! This one is so important to get honest with.
At many points this year I have written I am not happy with the direction of my health and then worked to take action as quickly as possible to put it right and get back on track. If you aren't looking at your current trajectory and where you are going how can you take action to make sure you are moving in the right direction and getting to where you want to go to!?!?
There are my monthly reflection questions.
I also do an annual process with the team at PopUp and for my life in general. The picture above is of me doing the questions in Tallin in Estonia right now! (I have notice that everyone of my blogs has a picture of me at the top so far and I am not sure if this is a brand or a bad thing yet! Please comment below!)
I have just done a video and a blog post about the annual reflection on the PopUp Business School website. If you want to find them and download them as a PDF then pop over to the PopUp Business School Blog here
Keys to making this work
There are a couple of key things to making this work that I wanted to share with you:
Use questions to generate discussion, examine your thinking and to generate ideas to help you improve your life. I will be writing some articles coming up on generating ideas and getting creative. If you want to be notified when there are new posts then sign up to the mailing list.
I will be adding in a form here once I have got it up and running!
How are you getting on?
I want this to be an interactive blog and I know that I can learn as much from you as you can from me with our different perspectives and ideas. Please let me know how you get on with the questions and thoughts and I wish you a HAPPY NEW YEAR and an amazing 2019!