This time of year lots of people are strategizing and planning for the next twelve months.  But without taking time to get your “head straight,” without clearing out the cobwebs, and sharpening your mindset, all your plans could just as easily take you off course.

You know, I’m getting ready to bring out my next business growth program, Business Profits Blueprint, but before I get started with that herculean undertaking, I wanted to make sure I got this short video into your hands first.

It’s called “10 Questions for Context.”  Make sure you write down the questions as you go, and then take time to answer them. Doing this will definitely help pave the way for a solid year to come.

The video is about 12 minutes, easy to watch, but it is kind of funky visually.  I’ve been experimenting with some production and frankly, I look a little green around the edges. I hope you don’t mind too much.

And please leave your comments and tell me what you think.  And if you have any questions of your own, add them in the comments as well.


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52 Responses

  1. frank

    I didn’t know what to expect from this video. I assumed it was going to be the same stuff everyone else is spewing out. But thankfully it wasn’t.

    I took notes and mind mapped out the 10 points.
    Then went through and asked myself the questions and came up with a lot of great information that will allow me to work towards my objectives now.



  2. Don Stanton


    The webinar was great timing, as I started working on my goals for the next one and a half years.

    At the present my goals are for getting my life back and rebuilding my business.

    You could say that my life and businesses were put on hold 5 years ago this month, when I became full time Custodial Caregiver of my mother. Last week, I told my sister that it is her turn, that she has to forget about her all so important social life and take over as our mother’s caregiver. Before January 2005, I had been part time (4 to 6 months each year) caregiver of my mother for 12 years.

    Now I have a lot of catching up to do and a lot of uncompleted work and new work that needs to be done and businesses to restart and build again.

    First I made lists for the things that need to be done for my personal life, my house, and my family.
    Then I made lists of the things I need to do for my businesses to get them started again.
    Then I made lists of the things I need to do rebuild my businesses and get traffic to and sales from them.
    Next I worked on timing schedules for doing everything.

    My goals for this year are to get a lot of all of this done, to have my businesses up and running and make at least $30,000 from the businesses.

    Long term goals will have to wait a little bit until I get caught up a bit.

    Thank you for the great webinar. I am looking forward to attending more of your training webinars.

  3. Jim Edward

    What an eye opening webinar last night Paul. I could have stayed online for another two hours.

    To go year after year with the same “mindset” or context and wondering why you are failing at your goals…
    I understand now. Being a solopreneur myself ,working in several partnerships, I owe it to myself to realign my context and keep daily track of my goals instead of external forces controlling me as they have in the past.

    You now have a fan, in case you haven’t noticed. I assume you will repost the webinar here?

  4. Mark Coudray

    Paul, Fantastic webinar. I would expect nothing less. This comes at a perfect time for me as we’re right in the middle of doing some serious self assessment. This is particularly important as we are dealing with letting go of legacy areas of our existing business.

    • admin

      Hey Mark, Do keep me posted. Would love to hear how you applied these focusing strategies to your business. –pl

  5. Jack

    You nailed it on the head Paul. Context is everything. The “frame” (of mind) is also key to actually achieving the goals.

    I hope you can share more about your experiences as to how to properly set or adjust the right “mind frames” (context) to suit the goals/tasks on hand.

    • admin

      Jack – It is amazing how shifting your frame of reference transforms not only how you perceive things, but your results. As Werner Erhardt said, humans are meaning-making machines, and with the wrong meaning, everything is just plain wrong. The flip side, of course, is very true. –pl

  6. Charles

    Thanks Paul. You’ve just increased my understand and knowledge on planning. You may not know the impact you’ve just made right now. This will help not only my family, my friends and me, but young people and adults who come to see me for advice. May God bless you.

    • admin

      Glenn — I’m all for knowledge and understanding. Now I want to hear about how you put it to use. Feel free to post on the impact you’re having. –pl

  7. Glenn

    Paul, wisdom continues to shine upon and through you. I always look forward to what you choose to share, this being no exception. Indeed, context affects an environment of decision. Discussing Be/Do/Have – particularly within this framework – lends to an increased appreciation of their significance toward achieving results consistent with greater understanding of our ‘desires’ and of those things that impede our progress. Such impediments are often invisible to us until we deliberately refine our objectives [and/or our understanding thereof]. In turn, this affects a context within which we can more clearly evaluate and manage available resources toward coordinated ends of our choosing.

  8. Garnet Bailey

    I thought each one of those questions was going to be easy to answer (!). Until I put them all in the SAME context. Wow, it’s gonna take quite some time to work through them all – gives much more of a laser focus to where I’m going. Thanks!

  9. George

    Another good sermon 😉 Most everything I’ve been exposed to before but it’s made all the more powerful by both its being grouped together in a logical way and by the timing of it.

    Sort of like Elsa (above), focus has been a challenge for me. But so has ‘fear of success’. It’s certainly something I denied having on a conscious level, but last year it became clear it was one of those ‘other questions I have to answer’ and a big one. I’m still digging through that but the path of discovery has been cathartic as I have broken it down into things like ‘What am I really expecting my life to be like if I’m successful in the ways I want?’ and ‘What are these expectations based on?’ and ‘How many of these expectations are myths?’

    Thanks again.

    • admin

      George – did you see the discussion on Fear of Failure and Fear of Success elsewhere on this blog?

  10. Dr. Frank Bonkowski

    Paul, I really enjoyed your brilliant, snappy overiew of “questioning technology.” Congratulations. Very well done. It’s a poweful tool for strategic planning that I will discuss and revisit frequently with my business partner, Dr. Fred. Together, we’ve been building our personal development website for midlifers and boomers ( for over a year now. We’ve made great strides in creating valuable content and in attracting organic traffic to our site. However, we’re at the stage of “monetization,” or revenue generation to put it simply. The last four questions you propose are particularly valuable for this stage of our development. With regards to question 10, another question we have been asking ourselves is what are midlifer perceived acute pains or problems and what solutions can we provide them? Do you have suggestions for ways of delving deeper into this question? Thanks, Dr. Frank

    • admin

      Dr Frank. Simple: ask them. Have you surveyed your list? Have you asked THEM what keeps them up at night? Or, ask them what is the most pressing question on their minds? –pl

  11. Ely

    Nice list, great talk. It would help to see these questions also listed in the post, they’d stick better in the mind.

  12. Alex So

    Peace and Joy, Tony.

    I experienced what you’re going through. I strongly believe we’re all creative and seeking expression. I have suppressed them to the point it led me to a series of depressions.

    It’s liberating once I finally decided to follow my natural inclination. I need to put the structure in place to support and direct my creativity. Otherwise, nothing happens.

    I used a series of assessments to understand who I am and what my strengths are. It helps me to say yes to opportunities that support in my growth and turn down the rest.

    Remember who gets priority of putting the oxygen mask when pressure drops in an airplane?

    So hang in there and stay true to yourself.

  13. Ken Noel

    I’ve been a gray-haired babe-in-the-woods about business. I didn’t even have a clue about what questions I needed to ask. Thanks for the help.

    My greatest needs are other peoples’ skills and talents, and their wisdom.

  14. Anu

    I’ve put it out to our staff as it can be used not only in business, but in home life as well…
    Ahhh, those New Year’s Resolutions already forgotten…

  15. Anu

    Thanks Paul….as always you have great ideas…simple enough to follow. good timing as well right now in our business. I will share with Archie and the group and let you know of their responses.

  16. John Chancellor

    While you may have looked a little green around the edges, those who follow your advice should avoid that fate. Great tips for improving or maintaining the health of your business/life.

    I often “preach” the be/do/have – and it is amazing how difficult it is for people to get it.

    The 10 questions are really great. Good logical step by step process.

  17. Graham Constantine

    Interesting set of questions and helped me become clearer on what I need to do next.
    Questions that have to answer are things that I started working on last year that I need to bring to fruition this year. Very useful post.
    Thank you
    Warm regards

  18. Alexandra Weaver

    Piercing video, Paul, bravo! It really put yourself in question.
    And what if answering these questions makes you discover a monkey trap that is, in fact, the main context of your goal.
    In other words what if we follow some known successful marketeers, apply their techniques by the book, spend time and energy trying to make it work, diversify to avoid “putting all your eggs in one basket”, believing, after all, that it must work, at some point AND still not seeing the end of the tunnel.

    Which brings an other question: “How long should we trust and follow different “gurus” techniques before realizing that we have to let go the banana?”

    • admin

      Alexandra, Being in the advice business, you know, I have something of a vested interest. Here’s my best prescription: Trust the gurus as long as following their advice gives you more of what you want. When it stops, drop the banana. –pl

  19. DocMercer

    Hey Paul,

    Happy New Year!

    That’s pretty progressive stuff, Paul, the Be, Do and Have stuff. You’re the first mainstreamer I’ve heard using it outright. I think its perfectly in line with rapidly shifting global consciousness towards “conscious creating” or “practical spirituality”.

    Are you addressing the “missing element” in this gargantuan project?

    Satisfy the “missing element” and you’re sure to experience gargantuan success.

    The “missing element” is this.

    What does it take to make me use the knowledge I have?

    It’ll be interesting to see what a brilliant fellow like yourself does with that part.

    Enjoy great success with your project.


    • admin

      Doc, will think on that and get back to you. But I can tell you that my new program (Business Profits Blueprint) is quite long on putting knowledge to use. Not philosophically, but practically – very “doing.” More later… –pl

  20. Tim

    Interesting video. It really got me thinking about the new year and what plans that I have for it so far. Ironically, your video summarized a book that I had just completed. Must be a message somewhere in there for me. I enjoyed the post.

    • admin

      Hope it’s a solid book Tim, but a friend said years ago that it was a rare book that couldn’t be summarized in 2 pages. Then you read the book for the “depth.”

  21. Tony Finbarr-Smith

    yes, it’s definitely the last question that will solve it for me.
    When I identify and answer those questions clouding my mind I’ll feel some freedom and clarity and be able to function a little more normally 🙂

    • admin

      Hey Tony – I know that one’s a bit more work, but if you ask they come pretty quickly. Answer that one. -pl

      • Tony Finbarr-Smith

        update: on recommendation just bought “Uncommon: Finding Your Path to Significance” by Tony Dungy… just waiting on the good peeps at Amazon to get it to me now.

        Never heard of the fella before, but hear it’s a great book for getting your head around your WHY, so I’m open to discovering my purpose 🙂

        Thanks for all teh cool free stuff you’re always giving us; it’s truly appreciated 🙂


  22. Tony Finbarr-Smith

    Hey Paul, loved the video, thanks – I’m getting onto those 10 questions now.

    I’ve made the decision to make 2010 my year, but had a bit of a crisis:

    I sit and think “what do I do now? If only I had a step-by-step system that showed me what to do…”
    but then I realise I DO already have these systems in my posession.

    I have them.
    Right here, in front of me.
    A whole bunch of them from different gurus.
    Even some of the really freakin expensive ones.

    So why do I not simply follow the instructions and reap the rewards?

    Maybe I’m enjoying the mystery of figuring out my own unique way?
    The Pursuit?
    Maybe I feel the need to conquer, to explore and stake my claim in this new territory.
    Maybe I’m just a bloody idiot.

    Who knows…

    …on the one hand a whole buttload of cash would be very cool…

    …but on the other hand, following the instructions and having no need to be all creative seems a bit like having a regular job to me…

    so here I am, having this crisis when I should be catching up on some work from my dayjob… you know, the one that pays the bills?

    Any suggestions on what to do?

    Find your WHY – I have a new baby – you’d think that would be enough to spark me off… to light the fire in my belly…. I have no doubts that whatever happens, I’ll provide for her. I hope that doesn’t sound like I’m a bad Dad; I DO want the best for her, but it’s simply not my number 1 why (it’s my #2 without a doubt)
    Truth is, I don’t know WHY I’m doing all this, but SOMETHING is driving me like some crazed addict looking for a fix!


    p.s. video tio: you’ve brightly litl your green screen but need to step further forward to prevent that green glare off your backdrop that gives the incredible hulk look.
    I think the overlay of yourself is so simple yet effective – brilliant!

    • admin

      Figure out how to get the nightjob to become your day job. (!) And DO figure out why it matters to you. Makes a world of difference.

  23. Elsa

    Hello Paul, Very good questions – more questions for me in this year, my year of giving “getting there” top priority.

    For me, the most valuable question was: what valuable things might you have to give up to get ahead faster?

    That question jumped out for me as there are many things I value, and my main site gives space to most of them. But are there any I need to put aside, for a while at least, to succeed more quickly?

    Another question that jumped out at me: what is missing? I’ve been trying to deal with that question. What other people and resources might be needed? Not always easy both to identify what’s missing and even harder to figure our what might really be right.

    Anyway, I’ve just set up a blog:

    I don’t have a recipe for success. But I’m exploring: what does success mean, and how do we create success on our own terms? I’m inviting anyone into creating success to come along and maybe share their ups, down, tips.

      • Elsa

        Hi Paul, First, thank you very much for answering.

        Then, for me it’s not – or anyway it doesn’t feel like – a monkey trap thing. It’s too many enthusiasms. I remember, at university, how much attracted me. That has been a strength as well as (possibly) a weakness in my life. Anyway, I’ve wound up with a triple-disciplinary PhD, have taught in 6 disciplines.

        The thing is, right now, this year, what is my best way of getting ahead?

        By the way, if you have a minute, here is my main site:

        Not only, by the way, does it give space to many of my creative and thinking passions, but I’ve created a space for some of my father’s works. I put some of his poems up about a year ago – they now get about 1000 page views a month. I put 3 of his stories up a month ago – within a couple of days, Google had taken notice. Creating a space for my father’s creativity: that was my Christmas gift to him. (He died 6 years ago, never having found a way of getting his works into the world.)

        But back to .. it doesn’t fel like the monkey trap to me – more like a need to get priorities straight. I don’t want to let go permanently of any one of my interests, but get my focus to be – for a while – the one or two projects that include revenue-generating products.

      • admin

        Elsa, You know, the “monkey trap” thing sounds a little bit insulting. It’s not meant to be, but as I see it, too many of us are unwilling to give up nice, warm, fun, even somewhat satisfying things… That just aren’t taking us where we want to go. And that is the real challenge with setting priorities. Deciding on your direction or outcomes, and then choosing to go THERE. Not for everybody. As Earl Nightingale said 60 years ago in, “The Strangest Secret,” “There are goal people and there are river people.”

      • Elsa

        Hi Paul, I like both the river and reaching goals. I have gone for a number of big goals. Very satisfying. Those goals have gone with my “inner river” – which might be quite far from the steady tug of life-as-it-is.

  24. David Miles

    Paul – Thanks for another great video 🙂 I look foreword to many more… *(you might want to fix up your green screen.. you look cana green in the video)
    What really matters is the content with in the video… and that is always top notch…



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