Corey Wilks, Psy.D.

Helping Creators Reach Their Potential

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5 Questions To Clarify What Matters In Your Life

“Life isn’t about right or wrong. Life is about perspective.”

— Dr. Keelon Hinton

This quote fundamentally changed how I think about the world.

But I didn’t read it in some ancient philosophy book.

It came from an unlikely source at a point in my life when I’d lost perspective on what mattered and where I wanted my life to go.

But since then, I’ve developed 5 questions that help me stay crystal clear on what matters, filter out what doesn’t, and achieve what I’m capable of.

Here’s the story…

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The Story

I was a college sophomore—the first in my family to go to a 4-year university—and I’d already changed majors multiple times. Business management, dietetics, general science, and now my official track was called undecided—meaning I was on track to get a regents degree (aka, a generic degree that says I went to college but never committed to anything).

Lost in life and unclear about my future, I bounced from one liberal arts required class to the next, hoping to find something I could stomach to turn into a job for the next 45 years of my life.

One of these required classes was a developmental psychology class, where you study how people change across the lifespan. It sounded boring as fuck.

The syllabus said the professor would be Dr. Hinton, so I assumed he’d be some old-ass white dude who was so monotonous, chalk dust would puff out of his armpits anytime he talked.

So when a young Black dude from Memphis, covered in tattoos and wearing a newsboy cap walked in, I perked up.

He didn’t speak all hifalutin or try to hide his accent. He talked like a real motherfucker.

This wasn’t a typical death-by-PowerPoint lecture copied and pasted out of a textbook.

The passion he had for applying real psychology to help real people achieve real results was infectious.

He helped me realize people are like puzzles—and psychology is how we can solve our own mind’s puzzle and help others solve theirs.

After that first day of class, I walked straight to the registrar’s office and changed my major to psychology.

Everything I’ve done and built since started with that class and the insights he shared.

All of human nature—everything we want, everything that holds us back, and everything we’re capable of achieving—can be boiled down to that quote:

“Life isn’t about right or wrong. Life is about perspective.”

Happiness is about perspective. Misery is about perspective. War is about perspective. Peace is about perspective. Everything in life is about perspective.

All of our problems can be traced to somehow losing perspective on what matters.

So the solution to overcoming these problems, reaching our potential, and building a fulfilling life, comes down to developing the right perspective.

Here are 5 questions I use to help my coaching clients, and myself, develop a perspective to get crystal clear on what matters, reach their potential, and align their life and business with doing meaningful, purpose-driven work that fulfills them.

I hope they help you, too.

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Question #1

“Will this matter in a day/week/month/year/decade?”

It’s easy to get so caught up in something, we lose perspective on if it’ll actually matter in the long-run.

  • That email that induced a lowkey panic attack? Probably won’t matter in a week.
  • Mess something up with your product launch? A year from now, you’ll laugh about it.
  • Sent your newsletter a day late *cough*? No one will care, or even remember, in a few days.

Very few things in life will matter in a decade. But the things that will matter are the ones worth dedicating our time, energy, and attention to.

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Question #2

“If this had been my last week alive, am I satisfied with how I spent my time?”

The typical thought exercise of “If you had a week to live, how would you spend it?” is useless. If you know it’s coming, you can go out with a bang—skydive, blow a bunch of money, eat fugu, whatever.

But if you can only look back at how you’ve already spent what could have been your last week alive—that’s powerful as fuck.

Because eventually, one week will have been your last alive.

If your answer is “no,” you can immediately pinpoint all the bullshit you let into your life you didn’t have to that made you miserable—so now you know exactly what to prioritize removing for next week.

I shared this question with Stephen Timoney, who’s a kickass performance coach, in this podcast episode (check it out if you want like performance psychology content).

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Question #3

“Does this goal or opportunity get me one step closer to, or further away from, a fulfilling life?”

This is great for quickly deciding what direction a decision can take you.

Sometimes a goal or opportunity seems great in the moment, but actually distracts you from making progress toward the life you want to build.

When I decided to leave therapy, I got a six-figure job offer to come back and practice therapy for a big company. Despite the money, it actually moved me further away from the life I wanted to build—where I get to coach, create content that helps creators like you reach their potential, and build a business aligned with doing meaningful, purpose-driven work that fulfills me and provides a great life for my loved ones. So I passed on it.

The next time you have an idea, goal, or an opportunity comes your way, use this question to quickly filter which ones are worth pursuing and which ones are a distraction.

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Question #4

“Is this urgent or emergent?”

If you struggle with the “Tyranny of the Urgent” where everything feels super important and you’re drowning in never-ending to-do lists, this question helps you quickly prioritize what you need to take care of NOW and what you can take care of LATER.

If it’s emergent, aka an emergency, that means you need to do it NOW.

If it’s urgent, it’s important but not so important you have to drop everything and do it now.

Here’s a clip from a past cohort of Intentional Life Design where I go over how to apply this in your life.

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Question #5

“What am I actually trying to accomplish here?”

As creators, it’s easy for us to overcomplicate things. We get so caught up in “optimizing,” we lose perspective on what we’re actually trying to do.

  • You’re not trying to build a super sophisticated funnel. You’re trying to get people to buy.
  • You’re not trying to find the best course hosting platform with all the bells and whistles. You’re trying to build a course people love.
  • You’re not trying to create videos with perfect production quality. You’re trying to create videos people want to watch.
  • You’re not trying to get hundreds of thousands of followers. You’re trying to build an engaged audience that loves what you do and invests in the work you create.

So the next time you start to get into the weeds or feel overwhelmed, as yourself what you’re actually trying to accomplish—then focus on the shortest path to doing that.

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Wrap Up

Everything I do revolves around helping creators like you reach their potential. And the way I do that is by constantly finding and honing strategies to help you develop the right perspective to clarify what matters, overcome what’s standing in your way, and develop strategies to succeed in life and business.

These 5 questions are a great starting point to help you on your journey.

Try them out, add them to your morning journal habit, or pull them out the next time you feel stuck.

Because after all, life is about perspective.

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PS

And if you want to go super deep on strategies to help you clarify what matters, overcome what’s standing in your way, and do meaningful, purpose-driven work that fulfills you—check out Build an Intentional Life.

It’s a convenient self-paced course that distills the best strategies I’ve developed over the last 15 years to help you build a fulfilling life and thriving business.

Build an Intentional Life

Reach Your Potential in Life and Business

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