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American astronomer Carl Sagan said, “We make our world significant by the courage of our questions and by the depth of our answers.”

How many of us take time for self-reflection and to really dive into the deep areas of our life that help define us? I believe that we tend to spend more time researching the type of car or the juicer we’ll buy than thinking about our future or what we want out of life.

Perhaps it is the fear of what we’ll uncover that stops us short. It could also be the anxiety created at the thought of digging up the mistakes we’ve made or perhaps even resurfacing painful regrets. Whatever the reason, when we make time on a regular basis to look inward in an attempt to become more self aware, we stop the harmful cycle of self-deception that creates the repetition of non-nurturing choices.

Here are three questions I like to ask myself on a regular basis:

1. Why don’t I do the activities I know are best for me and that would serve me well? Asking this question helps you get right to the point. When you answer this question honestly, you’ll see the barriers you allow to get in your way. The tricker part is actually addressing what is stopping you and then taking steps to remove the barriers so you can get started with things you really want to do.

2. Am I being true to my innermost needs and values? If you feel trapped in a job that doesn’t align with your values, or you’re friends with people who do things that you don’t support, your mind and body will send you signals to advise you of the conflict you’re feeling. The more you suppress those toxic feelings, the more stress, anxiety and pain you’ll create internally. Depending on how you answer this question, go back to Question 1.

3. Are “shoulds” and “need to” getting in the way of my happiness? Life is about choices. When you replace the word “should” or “need to” with “I choose to” it helps to change the way you look at the actions and activities you engage in every day. Everything you do comes down to decisions you make either consciously or subconsciously. Sometimes you might feel trapped into doing something – as if you have no choice. When you feel this way, I invite you to explore what expectations you think others have of you, or the expectations you have placed on yourself. When you allow past conditioning and the fear of other’s perception of you to dominate your choices, you unintentionally keep happiness at bay. When you release these expectations, a world of possibility and choice suddenly becomes available.

On this week’s episode of Your Authentic Life, I have the great privilege of interviewing Dr. Alan Zimmerman. Dr. Zimmerman is a best-selling author, an internationally recognized motivational speaker and a brilliant teacher. He started selling door-to-door in second grade, everything from greeting cards to operating a small international import business by age 14. He worked his way through college and graduate school as a retail salesperson, radio broadcaster, recreation manager, and prison therapist.

During my live interview with Dr. Zimmerman, I’ll ask him about his new book, The Payoff Principle: Discover the 3 Secrets For Getting What You Want Out of Life and Work.” Tune in to find out more about the three elements that are the cornerstone of his book — purpose, passion, and process. We’ll discuss each of these elements in detail. This is an episode you won’t want to miss!

Please check out this broadcast on the Empowerment Channel of VoiceAmerica at 11am PT or 2pm ET on Wednesday, December 10. I can’t wait to talk to Dr. Zimmerman — the man who inspired my Wise Wednesday Tips.

I also invite you to subscribe to Dr. Zimmerman’s Tuesday Tip. His words and stories have inspired me for years and I hope they will do the same for you.