Multiplication Center

Eight Critical Life Questions for a Fresh Start

January 26, 2012

The beginning of a New Year is always an apt time for reflection.  I am indebted to Kim Ratliff, an investment banker in Birmingham and a consistent reader of these museletters, for sending me a set of insightful questions for the second half of life.  Come to think of it, these questions are pretty valuable at any stage of life.  I recently sent them to a 28 year old.

Questions are a great way to get yourself “thinking your confusion out loud” in preparation for a productive meeting.

Eight Critical Life Questions for a Fresh Start

  1. Who am I?
  2. What are my strengths?
  3. What is my place in the world?
  4. What do I value most and are my areas of greatest priority in life?
  5. What is my mission, purpose, and plan?
  6. How much am I willing to suffer or pay for what I value most in life and are my areas of greatest priority?
  7. How does the way I spend my time align with what I value most and are my greatest priorities?
  8. Write down what it would look like if things were going just the way I want them to be.

My New Year's challenge to you is to find a quiet space and see how your intuition and a prayerful inner spirit prompt you to answer these queries.  It might take a while.  It might be a good idea to capture your answers in writing.  If you want to go one brave step further, you might discuss your answers with someone who knows you well – maybe even someone who loves you well.

Learning by Listening

Lessons from a Great Leader

One of my favorite people in this life is a noble man named Wilson Goode.  He taught me a valuable lesson about listening when I interviewed him for my fourth book, Finishing Well.  Wilson was the first African American Mayor of Philadelphia.  The son of an illiterate share cropper in North Carolina, he won against all odds defeating Frank Rizzo, a two-time mayor and former police chief.  Wilson told me he ran for mayor because he was convinced it was what God wanted him to do.  Later, after he finished his term in office, he felt God was calling him to recruit mentors for some of the toughest kids in the country.  He founded a ministry called Amachi.  So I asked him, “Wilson, what was the size of your budget when you were mayor?”  He said, “Two billion dollars with 30,000 employees.”  I asked, “How many employees do you have now?”  He said, “Just me.”  When I asked him how that made any sense in terms of what he was doing before, he said very simply, “It's what God wants me to do.  If I listened to man and not God, I would be nowhere.”  So I asked him, “How do you figure out what God is telling you?”  And he said, “I listen.”

I asked, “How do you go about that?”  And Wilson replied, “I think that most of us are so noisy, we can't hear God's will.  We are so busy talking and listening to ourselves, and listening to other people's advice that we don't get quiet long enough to let God speak to us.  Consequently, we end up very unhappy.  I know its God's will when I am directed to something because I listen.”

Still curious, I wondered, “How do you know its God?”  Wilson told me, “Sometimes I just go in my living room and I just listen.  Early in the morning while the sun is coming up, I listen to God speak.  Sometimes it is hard to put into words, but you just know when you are in sync with God's way and with God's will for your life.  You know it works and there is harmony between you and God when that happens.”

About Amachi

To find out more about Amachi, see  Amachi currently mentors 250 children-of-prisoner-programs in 48 states. They have partnered with more than 6,000 churches and served at least 100,000 children!

About Finishing Well

Finishing Well is currently published in trade paperback version from Zondervan.  There are sixty-two inspiring stories of people including Peter Drucker, Roger Staubach, Jim Collins, Ken Blanchard, and Dallas Willard who have pioneered the art of finishing well in these modern times.

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