“Don’t sit in the waiting room of life.”
– Dr. Seuss
Greetings. We’re David and Paul, a formerly married couple and now lifelong friends with a deep passion for helping people live their best lives. (Yes, divorced people can still love each other and run a successful business (think Sonny and Cher)! Paul’s a corporate refugee, David a serial entrepreneur. We have been working together coaching executives and work teams for two decades. We created “Ask What Matters?! ” to eradicate needless suffering in the world. “Wait a minute,” you may be asking, “needless suffering, what does that mean?” Think about it. As the saying goes, we are our own worst enemy. There is, in fact, a great deal of suffering that is internally generated or that we inadvertently allow into our life by the choices we make. Suffering that CAN be avoided
We witnessed this first hand when a good friend suffered a nervous breakdown brought on by unhappiness in his work and the fear of not having enough money. By most objective measures, he had savings that would have provided a healthy cushion for any changes in employment. However, fears of scarcity left him paralyzed. A second friend, having been unemployed for a year, suffered a great deal of depression and anxiety. After a long job search he landed a new position that very quickly didn’t work out. The following week, he attempted suicide. Amazingly, this same friend had beat stage 3 cancer just a few years earlier.
In the wake of these events, on a cool September night, we sat on our living room sofa dumbfounded. How could our friends’ lives have become so desperate? Then we realized that Paul, too, had not been immune to this type of suffering. Although he’d had what would be considered to be a very successful career, he had been plagued with a series of severe burnouts. The jobs were challenging and though he was more than capable of doing them, he drove himself nuts with zero tolerance for failure and a need for perfection. Irrational, yes, but it was very real for him just as our friends’ anxieties were real for them.
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As we thought about it more we observed that a lot of what Paul and our two friends were driven by was hyper inflated fear from internal and external drivers. In prehistoric times, when one was faced with a saber-toothed tiger, it was a matter of life or death. In the 21st century, the saber-toothed tiger has become worries of scarcity, status, shame, and embarrassment. Uncomfortable, yes? Life threatening, no.
With a new perspective, we started to notice a whole lot of needless suffering out there. Everything from negative body image, road rage, performance pressure on our kids, bullying, to the constant questioning of and am I measuring up? The level of pain we saw was not ok with us and we wanted to figure out a way to put this to an end.
So, we began regularly asking ourselves what matters. Then we started asking friends…family members…strangers in restaurants. Amazingly, what we found is that the very simple act of discussing the question without judging the responses was itself the beginning of an antidote to needless suffering. Through these conversations, the question, “what matters?”, then became a call to action (!). Your “what?,” does, in fact, “matter!” Dare to choose it!
We began to envision what life would be like if the Ask What Matters?! dialogue became part of our global culture. What if families made it part of their dinner time ritual; managers added it to their monthly agendas; teachers led these dialogues with their students?
In an effort to realize our vision, we reached out to some super talented friends of ours in the fields of neuroscience, psychology, education and marketing. The result? The creation of Ask What Matters?!, simple framework for living, easily incorporated into your daily routine, designed to help you gain clarity, reduce stress and make life-affirming choices.
In the past five years, we have introduced the Ask What Matters?! framework for total Well-Being to thousands of people. Committed to broadening our reach, in 2019, we were privileged to be joined by our dear friend and colleague, Carol Roby. An expert strategist and business developer who shares our passion for helping human beings to thrive, Carol is the right person at the right time to become the “third leg” of the Ask What Matters?! stool.