As my first true blog post I want to pay tribute to some of the mentors who have influenced my life for over twenty years. As the title suggest, the four questions are as follows along with their source:
What did I do Right? And what can I do Better next time? Brian Tracy
What did I Learn? John Maxwell
What can I now do Extra? Napoleon Hill
There is a last step that is glue that ties these questions together and that is the discipline of Reflection. For this I owe both the late great Jim Rohn and John Maxwell.
You can apply these questions to any experience in life and they will absolutely pay dividends. For example, let’s say you’re in sales and you’re presenting to a group of end users for a major project.
Once the presentation is over, you pack up your materials, say your goodbyes, and leave. While driving back to your office or to your next appointment, you may focus on the positives of the meeting and yet also give considerable energy to the negatives. You may actually mentally beat yourself up for a given mistake or two and really allow it to affect your attitude.
A better approach is to go through the questions above. So what did you do right? Well, you had the ability to position your company to have the opportunity to present in the first place. Focus on coming up with the positives that you can take forward from the event.
Next, what can I do better next time? This is a critical differentiator from what most people do. What you give energy to, you manifest. To focus on your mistakes only manifest them in your mind and makes them worse. The more positive approach is to ask “what I can do better next time”. Brainstorming ways of improving is a far more productive activity that hammering yourself for your mistakes.
The third question is “what did I learn”. If you are well prepared, asking great questions, and have your antenna up, you will undoubtedly learn things that you can leverage for the positive in the future. Many times these lessons can also be applied in other areas of your life.
The fourth question is “what can I do extra”. In many cases, the critical extra details discovered will arm you with the info to “go the extra mile” and truly “wow” your customer. If there was ever a concept in life which allows you to set yourself apart from the competition, this is it. It’s the old “under promise and over deliver” and it will win you favor regardless of the situation.
The above questions work…if you take the time to do the work. Jim Rohn and John Maxwell are two of my long time mentors. Even though Jim passed away years ago, his work still influences me today. He used to teach the importance of pausing each day to “roll back the tapes”, and John Maxwell is also a strong proponent of this concept.
This doesn’t have to be a long laborious process. Just a few minutes to run back through the events of your day can make a huge difference. Personally, I use the voice recorder on my iPhone throughout the day. Then once I’m back in my home office at night, I will run through the recordings and take notes whether for business or personal. This can result in immediate action steps to be taken or just thoughts to file away for the future.
Either way, the following quote best sums up my last point:
Socrates: “The unexamined life is not worth living”
Be watching for my next post as I continue my “mentor” series with the story of how I met Zig Ziglar and the impact he made on my life.