Experience is not the best teacher. As John Maxwell says,
“Reflective experience is the best teacher.”
I could touch a hot stove a thousand times. And unless, I figure out the stove is burning me and I shouldn't touch it, I'll get burned again and again.
What have you learned?
Kip, my husband, has a well-known saying around our house. After anyone makes a mistake, he'll look at them before addressing the mistake and say,
“What have you learned?”
So, whether it was my son shooting out the back window of the Durango with the beebee gun or me getting my feelings hurt because I trusted someone again who had not proven themselves trustworthy. “What have you learned?” Is our family saying when we make a mistake.
Craft Your Questions Based On Your “To Be” List
So, that is a great start. However, I've come to the point where I intentionally craft my questions based upon the person I want to become.
I first learned from my friend Angela Maiers to make my “to be” list before making my “to do” list. Admittedly, my questions often come from the Bible.
You'll have your own questions. I hope those of you who do not share the same faith as I do will understand that these are mine and will challenge yourself to create your own. I do believe in being truthful in who I am. So, here we go.
My Current Questions as Part of 80 Days of Excellence
But right now, I ask myself a few questions. The questions are first. the italicized items are just to clarify a question for you.
- Am I seeking first the kingdom of God? (What is God telling me to do?)
- How do I need to seek His righteousness? (What are my flaws that I am convicted I need to work on right now?)
- What things are being added unto me? (This is my gratitude list of things I've really seen and am excited about.)
- How am I seeking Kononia with others? (See 8 Great Ways to Develop Great Relationships where I explain this type of fellowship.)
- What Kairos moments are opportunities that I must seize today? (See Make Time County By Understanding the Two Kinds of Time — Kairos is a moment in time opportunity.)
- Personal Goal Questions. The next three questions are based on my personal 12 week goals for this period of the year.
- How am I progressing on building a healthy body?
- How am I progressing on building healthy finances?
- How am I progressing on learning about excellence and building a healthy mind?
Then, at the end of the day, I'm asking myself one question. (Hat tip to Kip.)
- What did I learn today?
Sometimes I write myself an answer that isn't something I learned but a question I still have or am grappling with now.
For example, today I interviewed a neuroscientist who was explaining the difference between empathy and compassion.
And while I don't want to steal the thunder of that upcoming podcast episode, I'm grappling with what this means for me and how I live my life. So, sometimes in addition to writing what I learned, I'll write the questions I have. These jog my memory as I seek wise counsel from my husband or talk to friends.
Grow Brave by Reflection
Leonardo da Vinci said,
I love those who can smile in trouble, who can gather strength from distress, and grow brave by reflection. ‘Tis the business of little minds to shrink, but they whose heart is firm, and whose conscience approves their conduct, will pursue their principles unto death. (emphasis mine)
Many days, the morning questions completely transform my day. As part of the 80 days of excellence, I'm reflecting on these questions for 80 straight days (not counting Sunday.)
I'm also writing here about excellence.
These eighty days have been a challenge for me as there are times that I feel like I'm writing only for myself and wonder if it is helping anyone else. However, I've learned that to not only reflect privately in my journal, but to write for an audience helps me understand more clearly what I think and who I am. It helps me become brave by reflection.
Challenge: Design Your Questions
So, your challenge today is to examine the questions you're asking yourself now. When can you ask yourself those questions for maximum impact?
Don't make them too long or too fancy.
Don't spend too long answering them, but do spend time asking yourself good questions based on your personal goals.
Tips for minimizing teacher stress
- Discover 10 stress-busting secrets for healthy teachers. What simple routines will help you handle the stress?
- Simple advice for coping with stress at work.
- Learn tips to help you deal with difficult colleagues and students (even those who "hate" you -- yes it is possible!)