The Most Important Question to Ask When Facing a Big Decision

What if you could pre-screen a movie of your life to help guide you in making your most pivotal decisions? Can you imagine knowing how your screenplay unfolds would guide your answers to the biggies:

  • Should I follow my passion and shift careers?
  • Should I relocate my family for that promotion?
  • Should I take the risk and stand up for what I  believe in?
  • Who should I seek out as a mentor?
  • Should I marry him?
  • Should I move to part-time while my children are little?
  • Who should I groom to carry on my legacy?

I was talking with LGL subscriber, David Oddis (below) after giving a Winning Well workshop for his organization. He shared a game changing question his mentor asked when he was contemplating taking on a new role.

davidHis mentor simply asked, “Is this move part of your story?”

Can you see the power of that question?

In other words, what is the story you are looking to write with your life?

Who are the central characters?

What values does your story represent?

How will you feel about that decision when you’re playing back the trailer?

If you make this decision, what doors does that open and close for the next scene?

David shared, “That question made it so simple for me. It was clear that move was not part of my story.”

Not all opportunities (no matter how good look on paper) take our story in the direction we want.

Of course we can’t write the whole story. No one invites cancer into their story. No bride marries knowing that divorce is in the next chapter. But we DO hold the pen as we write our response.

What does our story say about how hard we fight? What does our story say about how we show up for our children in the midst of the angst? What does our story say about how we find a new beginning?

When faced with a difficult decision ask yourself, “Is this part of my story?”

The answer may surprise you.

Are you interested in booking a Winning Well Workshop for your organization? Please call me at 443-750-1249.

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Posted in Career & Learning, confident humility and tagged , .

Karin Hurt

Karin Hurt, is CEO of Let’s Grow Leaders and a former Verizon Wireless executive. Karin was named on Inc.’s list of 100 Great Leadership Speakers for Your Next Conference, the American Management Association List of 50 Leaders to Watch, and as a Trust Across America Top Thought Leader in Trust. She’s the award-winning author of two books, Winning Well: A Manager’s Guide to Getting Results— Without Losing Your Soul, and Overcoming an Imperfect Boss. She’s regularly featured in business publications including Fast Company, Entrepreneur, and Inc.

12 Comments

  1. This is an incredibly powerful question. After all of our previous decisions have brought us to where we currently are in life. Those decisions have wrote the script of our life and the story of our lives are not yet over. The script goes on.

    • Lloyd, So beautifully said. Great to have you joining the conversation.

  2. Love that question about being part of story! I think when we cultivate the story we want to share and live, all our choices and decisions must support the script. That’s not to say we can’t change things up. When I moved from a financial career to a training career I still stuck with my same values and need to interact with people.

    Fantastic post and share Karin!

  3. Dan Rockwell did something very similar with me when I was recently contemplating a big career change. He asked tell me the story of doing ‘A’. Then he asked me to tell the story of doing ‘B’. It became very clear which one filled me with more energy and optimism and my decision was instantly made with no hesitation.

  4. Wow! What a powerful question! Thanks so much for sharing…

    It’s not the type of question that should be answered quickly, either. Will this move make an impact on the direction you want your life to go? We can then visualize where this move will take us—or not!

    Great post!

    • LaRae, Indded. These are the best kinds of questions. The ones with the slow and hard answers.

  5. Talk about a powerful question! It’s funny, a lot of my clients don’t feel that’s a question they’re able to ask. When we realize that the choices we make truly are ours, everything changes.

    Thanks for sharing, Karin! Sounds like a great workshop!

    • Alli, Thanks so much. One thing I’ve learned by being in the midst of my own and other people’s journeys. We can have so much more authoring powe than we think. We just have to pick up the pen.

  6. Glad to see others reflect and share on this topic… I’m lucky and privileged to be one of David’s mentors… In addition to David, I’ve shared this technique with several others and witnessed a fundamentally different pattern of thought and consideration in their decision making process…

    As leaders we should consider the amazing power of stories… How they can Connect, Inspire and open us to Discovery… If we take the time to “listen”, stories will develop across our organizations… And if we “listen” carefully we may become more informed, sensitive and tolerant, inspired to help and connected to our staff than ever before….

    “What if” we considered the following?
    1. Can stories be used to make me a better leader?
    2. Do I know the stories of those I work closely with?
    3. When results turn out less than perfect, do I listen, make sure I’m informed, appropriately sensitive and tolerant, inspired to help and engaged?
    4. How can stories use setbacks and failures to stimulate a future success?

    • Wow! Brandon. Thank you so much for extending the conversation. I LOVE all of your questions.

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