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The 7 Questions


“If we would only give, just once, the same amount of reflection to what we want to get out of life that we give to the question of what to do with a two weeks’ vacation, we would be startled at our false standards and the aimless procession of our busy days.”

                                                                      –  Dorothy Canfield Fisher        



“Put your ear down close to your

soul    and listen hard.”


                          –  Anne Sexton




I want to share with you the Seven Personal Goal-setting Questions  (which my friend Jeff Goebel shared with me some years ago. I consider Jeff to be a High Soul, and an embodiment of progressive [and helpful] thinking.      I’ll put his site info at the end of this essay.

The poems & quotes are my additions.)



  1. What are the 5 things that you value most in life?    (– the foundation for all the other goals we set in life)   


2.  Take 30 seconds – and write down the 3 most important goals in your life right now.


3.  What would you do if you won a million dollars in the lottery tomorrow?   Answer this as though you have NO mental or physical limitations.  

(Anything you wrote as an answer to this question – you can be, have, or do.  The very fact that you can write the answer means that you are capable of accomplishing.)

4.  What would you do and how would you spend your time if you found out you have only 6 months to live?   [perfect health]    

(The answer to this will tell you what you value most in your life.)


“Your life feels different to you, once you greet death and understand your heart’s position. You wear your life like a garment from the mission bundle sale ever after – lightly because you realize you never paid nothing for it, cherishing because you know you won’t ever come by such a bargain again.”    

                                                                                         –    Louise Erdrich  



5.  What have you always wanted to do but have been afraid to           attempt?                                                  

(Habits hold us back … the fear of failure.  These have nothing to do with reality. Remember David Beckham’s counsel:  

“Impossible is just a big word thrown around by small men who find it easier to live in a world they’ve been given than to explore the power they have to change it.  Impossible is not a fact, It’s an opinion. Impossible is not a declaration. It’s a dare. Impossible is temporary. Impossible is nothing.”   


6.   Looking back at all the things you have done in your life, what               sort of things have given you the feeling of greatest importance /         self esteem / self worth ?                                                  

       (This is an indicator of your area of excellence – of what gives               you  the   greatest pleasure and self-esteem.   Steer toward this.)      



7.  If you were granted one wish – what one thing would you do – if           you knew you could not fail?        


Pick one major definite purpose … and FOCUS on it.


“Many persons have a wrong idea of what constitutes true happiness.  It is not attained through self-gratification but through fidelity to a worthy purpose.”

                                                                –  Helen Keller    


“The universe was not made in jest but in solemn incomprehensible earnest. By a power that is unfathomably secret, and holy, and fleet. There is nothing to be done about it but ignore it, or see. And then you walk fearlessly, eating what you must, growing wherever you can.”

                                                                                         –   Annie Dillard


“She’d teach them [her children] these things are nothing, the clothes, toys, and furniture.  These things fool people into thinking they must stay where the things are. Leave it all, she’d teach them even . . .  all your dreams of safe, calm places. Go with what is most terrifying. … Always choose love over safety, if you can tell the difference.” 

                                                    – Josephine Humphreys         Dreams of Sleep 




                                                            –  Mary Oliver     


“If you want to identify me, ask me not where I live, or what I like to eat, or how I comb my hair, but ask me what I am living for, in detail, ask me what I think is keeping me from living fully for the thing I want to live for.  Between these two answers you can determine the identity of any person. The better the answer he has, the more of a person he is.”                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         – Thomas Merton       




Wild Geese

You do not have to be good.

You do not have to walk on your knees

for a hundred miles through the desert, repenting.

You only have to let the soft animal of your body

love what it loves.

Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.

Meanwhile the world goes on.

Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain

are moving across the landscapes, over the prairies

and the deep trees, the mountains and the rivers.

Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,

are heading home again.

Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,

the world offers itself to your imagination,

calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting  –

over and over announcing your place

in the family of things.

                                                       –  Mary Oliver




Jeff Goebel


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