In reading the book, Tribal Leadership by Dave Logan, John King and Halee Fischer-Wright, I am continually struck by how the best questions are the most simple. I meet with and work with companies that are complex in a lot of ways, and in that complexity the reason for existence gets blurry, muddy, or just plain lost. Here is the question:
“What are you most proud of?”
If you take that question in the broadest sense, you will get insightful and meaningful answers. That question gives us the fundamental building blocks to answer an even more profound question: Why? As in, why do I do what I do and live the way I live?
(I’m going to answer this question as it relates to my career and professional development because a holistic answer to this question would take many pages.)
I’m most proud that I have taken great strides to subjugate my own ego to truly serve and learn from others. I’m proud because my profile is a difficult one when it comes to listening and not seeing the success of others as detrimental to my own success. I am most proud of this because it has allowed me to be a better man. It has allowed me to impact the lives of others with selfless intent, and not claim ownership. It’s allowed me to create a timeline where I am able to measure myself, to a degree, through the eyes of those whom I’ve been able to help advance in the world. It’s also allowed me to see more clearly those whom I have let down, disappointed, and just plain failed. Admitting that I have failed others and will likely fail again is a freeing realization to me.
Right now, that is the best answer I can give relative to my career and professional development.
Exercise: What are you most proud of? Take 5 minutes today and reflect on that question. Whether your highest priority is managing difficult people, determining if you have organizational alignment, or simply learning your true core values, you’ll find this exercise worthwhile. If you struggle to focus, go for a walk, or close your door and shut your eyes. The answer to this question is of the utmost importance when looking at the larger question of: Why?