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Pivotal Questions to Start the Year

Pivotal Questions Blog PicPivotal Questions Blog PicHappy New Year, Y'all! If you think last year was an adventure, buckle up because it's aboutPivotal Questions Blog Pic to get really interesting.

Some like to start the new year by writing out some goals, but what if starting the new year off right could be more about questions than mere resolutions? Did you know that asking the wrong questions can limit our perspective and results?

We actually reveal more about ourselves by the questions we ask than our answers, and this is especially true for educators. 

Courage doesn’t happen when you have 
all the answers. It happens when you are 
ready to face the questions you have 
been avoiding your whole life.
— Shannon Alder  

Hopefully, you enjoyed fun parties, ate special foods, watched fireworks displays, and, if you’re a sports enthusiast, enjoyed some good games. That’s what keeps the New Year celebration so memorable!

All the food and festivities are great, but we also want to start the year with the right mindset.

Every day we ask pivotal questions that determine the pathway of our personal and professional lives. Asking questions is how we start to learn, but pursuing the wrong questions can have big consequences. Sometimes, they're the ones we ask in our own heads, and sometimes, it's the questions we're asking collectively. 

In the video below, NBA Star Giannis Antetokounmpo was frustrated with a reporter because he asked the wrong question that was focused on failure to win rather than growth achieved. The wisdom expressed in his response is a useful lesson in how we approach this year.

Giannis Antetokounmpo Press Conf

“You’re asking the wrong question!”

If he focused on the loss it could be viewed as a failure, but Giannis chose instead to see the growth that happened throughout the rugged regular season and playoff schedule. The players learned from the experience and then focused forward to what's next.

That’s what leaders do! That's what the most effective educators do!

The ability to ask great questions is indicative of our humility, curiosity, and wisdom. It's much easier to make assumptions and draw conclusions than to muster the courage to ask deeper questions, genuinely listen to the answers, and take the steps to success. 

As Giannis points out, there's no failure in life. Some days are good. Some days aren't. That's what life is about. Each day, we hone good habits, try to do even better, and then learn from the results.

This isn’t a subtle point! The ability to accept what is and move on to the next moment, the next day, and the next chapter is crucial to the fulfillment of your calling and finding joy in life.

Take the attitude of a student, never be 
too big to ask questions, never know 
too much to learn something new. 
— Og Mandino

I met a friend for lunch this week who is an experienced educator, but he also worked as a basketball referee at the secondary and college levels for many years. One of the skills he learned in dealing with the unpredictability of game situations, players, coaches, and fans was to understand how to make the best decision at the moment and then move on to the next play.  

That experience served him well in his role as a teacher and school administrator, helping him develop a composed demeanor when facing the stressful situations that come with education. 

Life can be devoured by the snare of despair as we struggle to relieve the awful pain. 
Yet we can also be grateful to know that we're strong enough to endure and grow.
The contributing factors are the same—pivotal questions raise or lower our game.
As the calendar turns we get to start anew, adjusting inside and out for a fresh debut.
Transforming our questions isn't that hard if we are vulnerable and drop our guard.
We still have that unique educator drive that keeps us in the arena, ready to thrive!  

Ask great questions to start this year right, my friend, carefully choosing the attitude and altitude that will give flight to your amazing talents.

Love'em and Lead'em!

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