Last week, I had drinks with a consultant who spun off a side business with an unemployed brother he was trying to help. The arrangement was that they were partners. He provided his expertise in marketing and his brother was responsible for the operations. However, the situation devolved into him having to manage his brother. This wasn’t great for either of them.

I talked with the consultant for an hour about his situation and then he said, “Thanks man, I really appreciate the advice. This has been really helpful.”

The thing is, I didn’t give him any advice. All I did was ask him questions about the situation.

Advice is great. I’ve been helped by many people who have provided a relevant tip or suggestion.

But often advice misses the mark. The advice giver doesn’t fully understand the context of the situation or the person they intend to help.

Questions, on the other hand, are nearly always useful.

It improves the discernment of the person asking the question because they have to really try and understand the context and what matters. It helps the person answering the question because they have to consider their situation from a fresh perspective and call forth new insight within themselves.

Even better, questions don’t require another person to provide them. You can always self prompt with a question and make progress.

Here are the questions I ask myself every week as I look ahead and plan:

  • What would make this an excellent week?
  • What one thing would make everything easier or unnecessary?
  • How can I apply my strengths in support of these objectives?
  • What energized me last week? Drained me?
  • What am I curious about?
  • What am I looking forward to?

What weekly question or questions would best support your growth?

Featured image is my favorite mythological creature, the Sphinx. Caresses (1896) by Fernand Khnopff, a depiction of Oedipus and the Sphinx. Used under public domain.