Two Questions to Narrow Down Your What’s Next

Two Questions to Narrow Down Your What’s Next
Thomas Thompson
April 12, 2022
min read

“If money were no object, what would you do with your life?”

Worst.  Question.  Ever.

It’s a recipe for paralysis analysis.  Flush with choice, overwhelmed with options, our brains struggle to process what’s next.

Like a client of mine who was offered a dream job, and was told, “You can move anywhere in the country.”  He told me,

“If they had given me two options, like Portland and Austin, I could have decided.  But living ANYWHERE?  That was too big to wrap my mind around--it got me stuck.”

Similarly, when I am working with clients in transition, they are often looking to NARROW down what's next.

I find these 2 questions help narrow down your what’s next:

1. Who are the three people you would love to spend the most time with?

I don’t mean your spouse, your dog, and your children.  I mean the three kinds of people that you want to fill your calendar with.  The three people that you really resonate with.  People you would love to spend the day SERVING.

  • Sous-chefs looking to launch their own restaurant
  • Board members of nonprofits
  • Small business owners looking to open a second location
  • Stay at home moms seeking to work outside the home
  • Leaders trying to recover from a failure in their lives

Who jazzes you?  Who breaks your heart?  Who do you feel kinship and camaraderie with? Who do you celebrate with, knowing what it took for them to get there? Who do you weep with, knowing what they face?

For me, I am driven by the belief that most leaders have no one outside their organization to navigate with.  So my three people are all leaders of organizations who are trying to navigate what’s next:

  • in their career and life,
  • in the leveling up of their self-leadership
  • in the effectiveness, health, and productivity of the team they lead.

When I have days where these people populate my schedule, I CATAPULT from out the covers. These three people have given shape to my role as a transition coach.

Another way to get at this question?  Who did you wish had come alongside YOU during the biggest points of pain and challenge in your life?

2. What are the three conversations you would love to have all day long?

What are the topics that rev your engine?  The subjects that inexplicably fill your tank?  The ones that you would stay for 30 minutes after the meeting to keep plowing through?

  • Finishing your life well
  • Health and wellness
  • Strategically investing your time and resources
  • Solving societal problems
  • Organizing your office or home
  • Cooking with gluten free ingredients

My three topics are leading yourself to lead others, seeking the flourishing of your city, and finding your life as you give it away.*   When I find like minded people willing to dive into these topics with me–I’ll latch on and not let go.

These conversations require little breaks and recovery on my end.  They fill my tank.

Another way to get at this? If you had to speak on any topic for 30 minutes without any preparation, what would those three topics be?

Taken together, these two questions can narrow down your what’s next and focus you on the life that you would love.

ACTION STEP:  On one side of a notecard, write, “3 people” and the other side write, “3 topics.”  Keep this card with you over the next week and NOTICE which kinds of people and which topics you gravitate towards.  Keep refining this card, editing and adding, until you get your 3 people and three topics.

Then begin to ask, “Where do these 3 people and 3 topics most show up in the same places?”

How do focused questions begin to narrow the shape of your what’s next?

Thomas helps leaders navigate what’s next in their lives, leadership, and teams.  If he can serve you in this, reach out to him HERE.

*I could also add the history and lore of the Fallout Video Game series.

Photo by Julien Lanoy on Unsplash

I founded Thompson Leadership to come alongside leaders like you. Together, we will unpack your unique leadership, unearth your biggest challenge, and create an action plan to close the gap between where you are and where you want to be.
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