Photo of road signs pointing in different directions
To know where you are going, and to have the things you want, you first need to know who you are

Change your life – The soldier and the priest

16 June, 2014

Even the simplest stories can sometimes help us figure out who we are.

In his book  Leadership From the Inside Out by Kevin Cashman relates the tale of a priest, who was confronted by a soldier while he was walking down a road in pre-revolutionary Russia.

The soldier, aiming his rifle at the priest, commanded, “Who are you? Where are you going? Why are you going there ?”

Unfazed, the priest calmly replied, “How much do they pay you?”

Often people attempt to live their lives backwards: they try to have more things, or more money, in order to do more of what they want so that they will be happier. The way it actually works is the reverse. You must first be who you really are, then do what you need to do, in order to have what you want.” — Margaret Young

Somewhat surprised, the soldier responded, “Twenty-five kopecks a month.”

The priest paused, and in a deeply thoughtful manner said, “I have a proposal for you. I’ll pay you fifty kopecks each month if you stop me here every day and challenge me to respond to those same three questions.”

This is such a good story. The questions seem simple enough, but of course, they require considerable thought and a deep examination of your future direction.

Think about your life for a moment and ask yourself those same three questions?

• Who are you?

• Where are you going?

• Why are you going there?

The answers may surprise you.


  • Annabel Sutton is a Professional Certified Coach and Author.  She has lived in Los Angeles and Indonesia; survived earthquakes and riots, lived with head-hunters and enjoyed a portfolio career.  She now enjoys a somewhat quieter life in Somerset!  Her latest book, 52 Ways to Transform Your Life (Weekly Wisdom for Busy People), contains 52 inspiring, quick-to-read life tips and is available from . Find more information at