There’s one simple question that, if you embrace it whole-heartedly, could be the most important question of your life.

It’ll be the game-changer that will elevate your marriage or relationships. It’ll be the question that elevates your business. It can inspire more efficient productivity and focus. It’ll be the question that leads you to greater happiness.

It’s this: In this situation, who do I want to be?

I began relentlessly asking myself this question about six years ago. If I was about to pop off a snippy comeback when I was irritated with my husband, I’d stop. Breathe. “Okay, Kate. In this situation, who do you want to be?”

When I was at a crossroads in my business, feeling the pinch of a shrinking bank account and not knowing what to do, or trying to figure out my next marketing approach, or being asked to endorse someone’s offering in a “you-scratch-my-back” kind of a deal that would feel inauthentic and crappy, I’d stop. Breathe. “In this situation, who do I want to be?”

Trying to decide which project to focus my time on? Okay, then–keep it simple, no need to go bust out a new day planner and try to quadrant my time down to the hour–instead, when managing my time, who do I want to be?

Getting Conscious

The question is powerful because another question is embedded within it. To answer the question of who you want to be means immediately asking another powerful question: “What will I choose?”

The truth is that we’re all already asking these two questions, constantly–but many of us are asking and answering while on auto-pilot. It’s when you’re not stopping to question the capital-S “Stories,” the narratives/beliefs/assumptions behind your answers, that you start living life on default.

You’ve got to get conscious about how you ask these questions.

When you’re not conscious about the process, you’ll choose who you want to be based on your anger or your sadness. That means that you’ll get the pot-shot in. When you get conscious about how you ask the questions, “Who do I want to be?” and “What do I want to choose?” there’s a conscious choice that could forever alter your life’s trajectory (in a positive way).

Deepening Understanding

There’s another layer to all of this, and it’s gaining presence about how you ended up…right here.

When you see that you were never getting conscious about the “Who do I want to be?” and “What do I want to choose?” questions, then you realize:

–Oh. That’s why that relationship failed. I went to anger and attack.
–Ah. That’s why this job is so soul-sucking. I’m routinely walking into work and responding to my co-workers or the task at hand, on auto-pilot.
–Mmmmmkay. So the reason I keep hitting the wine bottle is because I’m stressed-out and not having enough fun, elsewhere in my life.

Anger & attack, resenting your job, defaulting to a substance for pleasure? These are all choices made when someone isn’t being conscious with the question, “Who do I want to be?”

We all do it. We all have places in our life where we operate on auto-pilot.

Here is your opportunity to bring that consciousness and that presence.

You’ve got it in you to face the hard questions. The relief you feel when you face them, the power that you feel when you’re consciously choosing, will be worth the challenge.

Get conscious about the question “Who do I want to be?”, and every decision gets easier, every hour of your life becomes self-defining, every interaction with another human being has the opportunity for kindness.

Get conscious about that question, and it won’t be money or success that defines your happiness, it’ll be you being proud of you that creates your joy.