When I was growing up, my family was often dirt poor. At times we were living hand-to-mouth, so I understood from a very early age that I would need to earn a paycheck to carry my weight and help us meet our most basic needs. I knew there was always an end game: survival.

When you're that close to the edge, you become very results driven. Any time there was a choice to be made, I had to make the one that would actually work. It didn't matter if I had the best intentions or big plans for the future—all that mattered was the outcome. We even used to say, "You can't eat intentions, only results." Guess I really wanted to eat!

I suppose that's how I came up with one of my favorite questions: "How's that working for you?" When I ask that, I genuinely mean it. How is what you're doing working for you? Are you getting what you really want and need?

As you head into the New Year, you've probably made resolutions designed to improve your career, your relationships, your health. I'm a big fan of setting goals, so good for you—I think we should do it a lot more often than once a year! But ask yourself whether you had basically the same list in January 2013. If that's the case, then it's safe to say that what you've been doing isn't working.

Life is about choices. If you decide to spend more time on your career, your family may suffer. If you decide to spend more time with your family, your career may suffer. The choice is yours, but you must choose. Even not choosing is a choice.

Again, if you're not getting the outcome you want, your motivation doesn't matter. Have you punished your teenager to keep her from hanging with the wrong crowd only to discover that she's been sneaking out to do drugs? You may have the right intentions, but what you're doing isn't working. Maybe you're a tyrannical boss who demands perfection, but you can't keep good employees. That's not working either.

Next: Should you choose between right or choose between happy?


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