The 3 Most Important Questions (whether you're living with Parkinson's or not)

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Alright team, today I'm going to get a little personal.

If you're not into the warm fuzzy stuff, this is your time to bow out.


Still with me?



As some of you may know, I'm an avid podcast listener.

I spend a majority of my day driving around to clients homes, so podcasts are one of my favorite ways to pass the time. 

This week I was listening to an interview with Vishen Lakhiani, founder of MindValley, on Bulletproof Radio, and found myself pulled over just listening to him talk.

The topic? Optimizing your brain for happiness and fulfillment. 

You can see why I had to pull over. This definitely wasn't "light listening".

Vishen was talking about something I know well as a physical therapist: goal setting. 

However, Vishen was challenging the standard "SMART Goals" set-up, which stands for: Specific, Measurable, Actionable, Realistic, Timely.

Instead, he argued, if you really want to conjure up life goals that are truly motivating, they should be framed around what he refers to as the 3 Most Important Questions.

Truth be told, the reason I pulled over was because I had a very powerful realization:

I quit my comfortable job as an outpatient physical therapist because I was tired of my SMART goals.

I had shifted into the mindset of wanting to experience life, grow as a human being and professional, and contribute to the world before I go.

When I founded Invigorate, I had a lot of support. However, my critics outweighed my supporters 10:1. They'd have no problem listing all the reasons why Invigorate would fail: 

You don't take insurance? No one will come to you.

You want to talk to patients about nutrition and sleep? No one will listen to you.

You only see people with Parkinson's? There aren't enough people in Austin to sustain that model.

You don't have an office? You can't possibly give people the treatment they need without equipment and a space.

You want to tell people that they can get better and not worse? You're being way too optimistic and setting people up for disappointment.

You're going to charge people with Parkinson's money? You're taking advantage of a group of people who are in a very delicate place. Shame on you.

.... and these were just the tip of the iceberg. 

Yeah. Heavy stuff.

So, why on earth would I continue on?

There were (and still are!) SO MANY reasons to quit that went beyond criticism: 

... the financial investment my family committed to..

... the time commitment I continue to be bound by to make Invigorate grow and to properly serve my Parkinson's tribe...

... the emotional strain and overwhelm I often feel at 9:30pm when I'm just finishing work and the see the laundry, dishes, and unkempt yard-work piling up... 

Why keep going?

Because when I started Invigorate I asked myself the 3 Most Important Questions that Vishen often asks his tribe:

  1. What Experiences do you want to have in your life?

  2. How do you want to Grow as a human being in this life?

  3. What Contribution do you want to have to this planet and its future?

None of my answers to those questions included: Stay at a safe job, with a safe salary, and feed the status quo for healthcare. 

So, I left and haven't looked back.

(You can see why I'm so appreciative of your support along the way. It means more than you can imagine.)

Now, when I work with my Parkinson's clients, I also help them set goals for our time together. I try to go beyond simply "walk better" or "be more flexible" and really hit on WHY they want these things. 

How will it improve your life Experience? you Grow as a human being or Contribute to this world before you go?

If you're struggling to take action to improve your life, I highly encourage you go through this exercise to help you unearth your deep desires. Ones that make you feel fulfilled and truly happy. 

If you need help, Vishen has recorded this great video where he walks you through this exercise step-by-step

He also published a new book, titled The Code of the Extraordinary Mind, which I would HIGHLY recommend.

Grab a pencil and paper and sit down for this 7-minute exercise.

I promise it will be worth your time.

(To see my answers to Vishen's questions, scroll down to below the video.)

Sarah's answers to Vishen's 3 Most Important Questions:

What do you want to Experience?

  • Travel the world with my friends and family.

  • Work for pleasure, not out of necessity.

  • Hike mountains.

  • Experience every culture I can - eat, drink, and dance.

  • Take care of my body so I can move and think clearly until the last day of my life.

  • Play soccer.

  • Explore the outdoors.

  • See concerts and festivals of all types.

How do you want to Grow as a human being?

  • Grow my compassion, fearlessness, peacefulness, and inner calm.

  • Deepen my meditation practice.

  • Learn more about Taoism.

  • Learn more about music.

  • Learn to paint.

How do you want to Contribute to this world and the future?

  • Shift how we approach healthcare

  • Help people achieve true happiness

  • Grow the physical therapy profession to target prevention and wellness

  • Support businesses that make the world a better place

  • Raise kids that also embody that mindset

Whew, that was a deep one. I appreciate you sticking with me. 

Now, I'd love to know: 

What are YOUR answers to the 3 Most Important Questions?