3 Questions To Ask This Year For Successful Professional Growth

At the beginning of each year, I talk to dozens of coaches and leaders with one question on their mind:

What do I need to invest in and commit to growing professionally, become successful, and really make it?

And each time I have that conversation, I can feel the pain and confusion in them as they try to choose.

The amount of time most coaches spend trying to select the RIGHT program or coach is staggering because . . .

  • The number of options and information for coaches is overwhelming.
  • Everyone makes BIG grandiose promises.
  • Few of those promises are backed up by results.
  • Even when you make a choice, you often don’t change, and you don’t know why.
    • And when that happens, you end up blaming yourself for making bad choices, which only erodes you’re already fragile confidence.

So it makes a lot of sense you’d have a hard time picking. It also makes a lot of sense that you would – – do a ton of research until your eyes glaze over – get enamored by a flashy coach and become convinced they hold the magic keys to success kingdom – try to take two programs at once and sort of half-ass both of them – sign up for whatever you can afford even if it’s not what you want and try to make do – decide you need to put into action all the stuff you already learned and then proceed to put your Facebook scrolling finger into action

These are common reactions to information overload and confidence underload. Instead of pivoting to tell you what I do and how hiring me is going to fix all of this, I’m going to share how I decide who to work with, how to choose between close options, and how to make the most out of what I choose.

Question 1 – What work should I be doing next? There is no such thing as the RIGHT work. All work and all coaches can have a powerful impact on you. And there’s really almost infinite work you can take on, so instead of trying to find the perfect thing let that go and try instead to answer the question, What work should I do next?

That’s really all you ever need to answer. If you keep asking this, you’ll keep choosing something, and in that choosing, you’ll learn and be guided to something next.

If you’re not sure what’s next here are some things to consider: Have I done a bunch of one kind of work? Have I stuck with the work I’m doing now for long enough? What work am I afraid to take on? What work would my best friends tell me to focus on? (You can ask them this as well) What does my gut say? Each time I consider what coach to hire or what to take on, I answer these questions, and then I make a guess. Sometimes I’m right, sometimes not. And that’s ok.

Often I’ll see something I want to take SOMEDAY, but I’m clear it’s not what there is to do next. And whenever I see something like that, I file it away and get back to what’s next.

Question 2 – Does this person/work both inspire and slightly intimidate me? Do they feel like they can lead me, or am I just in awe of them?

Often I’ll feel drawn to 1-3 types of work or coaches to hire. And it can be hard to pick, so whenever I do this, I look for the one that inspires and intimidates me. I also look to see if I feel on the same level as them.

Some of the BEST coaches I’ve hired have been ones that felt a little scary to work with, but who I didn’t just put on a pedestal and admire. They truly inspired me, and I felt like they could lead me.

Some of the most disappointing coaches and work that I’ve taken on were those that I admired deeply, but who didn’t feel like they could lead me or work that felt interesting, but that didn’t scare me a bit. In both cases, the relationships felt one-sided and flat, and once I saw what was really beyond the honeymoon period, the spark faded. That’s why I ALWAYS ask myself this question and trust my guts response.

Question 3 – What am I committed to getting out of this?

What I’m going to say next may strike some of you as a bit off, but I believe you can get whatever you want out of almost any kind of work you take on. Even if it’s a kind of work you think is totally full of it.

Let’s take Reiki, for example. My first instinct when I think about Reike is to roll my eyes, which is interesting because I’ve had DEEP experiences of energy being manipulated across space and time. Still, before I digress, I’ll just own that that’s my initial reaction. Nevertheless, I’m sure I could get something out of a Reiki session. IF I was committed to getting it. If I was committed to getting relaxation I could get that, IF I was committed to getting insight, I’d probably get that as well.

The same could be true of any experience, coach, or work that I take on. I used to think only a GREAT coach could give me insights until a GREAT coach challenged that idea. Ever since, I’ve gotten something out of almost any session I’ve had.

Now, this isn’t to say that a great coach couldn’t help me see more than a mediocre one, but it is saying that what I intend matters most of all.

So no matter WHAT work you choose, the #1 best way to make it the RIGHT work or coach is to be committed to getting something out of it. And to notice all the ways you avoid getting something out of your work.

My most common techniques for getting nothing out of work are: Be too arrogant to really be open to the work Find the flaws in the work and use those as reasons to ignore the good stuff Critique the coach or teacher’s style instead of trying to learn something Don’t really set an intention of what you want to get, just say you’ll get something and then when you get some sort of vague result, be upset that they didn’t give you something specific.

I also want to be clear that very often, I get WAY more than I intend to get. In fact, it’s vital that I stay open to getting whatever’s there, but it’s JUST as important that I be clear about what I’m going for.

OK THAT’S IT!!! I know making a choice for the type of work to choose or coach to work with can be tricky. But FEAR NOT. If you’re attentive, listen to your gut, and stay committed to getting something, you can have an INCREDIBLE year of deep work ahead of you.

And of course, remember that even if you make a bad choice, you can learn from even that. As the Dalai Lama is often quoted saying, “Remember that sometimes not getting what you want is a wonderful stroke of luck.”

Love, Toku


PS Have you ever been curious about what working with me 1-1 looks like? Wanted to reach out, but you were worried you weren’t ready or couldn’t afford it?

Now is a great time to find out. I just wrapped up a year-long coaching package, and I’m looking for my next incredible client, if you think that might be you, reach out, and we’ll set up a time to connect. Even if we’re not a fit, I’m happy to recommend a type of work or another coach to take on.


PS Have you ever wanted a personal recommendation to a coach or a type of work? Shoot me a DM or drop a comment below and let me know what you’re looking for, and I’ll send you some options of what I think might help.