I love a good question. What makes a question good is often, just like beauty, in the mind of the person receiving it.
As many of you know, I recently left Coro and started my own consulting business. While I’m loving this stage of my career, one of the things I miss about Coro, and my work at USC and elsewhere, are vibrant learning communities. Like many of you, when I get together with friends we end up throwing around a few big meaning-of-life questions and also coaching each other through the messes and joys of daily work and life. I’m launching this blog to build an online community for those who like to ponder what it means to live a successful life, love a disruptive question, and enjoy that little niggle that comes from letting a thought roam around in our brains for a while.
Some of these questions invite you to submit your response on the blog. Some will be for your reflection. Some encourage you to ask them of others you know. I hope one or more will land with you and create some useful discomfort or thoughtful dialogue with others. I’ve organized them into three categories - one to share on the blog, one to reflect upon for yourself, and one to ask others (of course, these are just my categories - use whatever process works for you).
One To Share
What is the most provocative question you were asked this past year?
This should be a question directed personally at you. Perhaps it was something that challenged you to rethink your purpose or method or priorities, or upended your perspective on an issue.
One to reflect upon
What is the last thing you rationalized or justified when your inner voice told you otherwise?
What is one action you could take to reorient that justification?
One to ask
What has become clear to you since last we met?
That’s the question my friend and mentor Warren Bennis would ask of friends he hadn’t seen in some time. And no matter how many times I’ve heard it, I continue to think about it differently. Whether it’s a colleague at work, a family member you’ll see over the holidays, or a friend that you haven’t seen, hearing the process others use to reflect on their journey can inspire you to contemplate and potentially reorient your priorities and values.
For one day, try to live on the balcony - visualize yourself overlooking your daily interactions. Open your ears, open your eyes, and close your mouth.
And one resource
If you have not read David Foster Wallace’s graduation speech This is Water, I highly encourage you to do so. I was left wondering: What does it mean to live a compassionate life?