The 3 Best Questions a Mentor Can Ask
The most helpful answers aren't always the ones that come from questions you ask. Instead, sometimes they result from the questions others ask you. This occurred to me after a recent chat with a mentor friend. I was feeling restless. I had stuff in my heart that I didn't really understand. I felt all knotted up and I wanted to talk with my mentor about what was troubling me, but I didn't even know how to put words to it. My ever-wise friend moved us in the right direction with three well-pointed questions.
She started off with a simple question: "How are you doing?" I answered quickly: "Fine."
She shot me a look and asked me again. The emphasis she put on the word doing and the look in her eyes was a warning to slow down and really consider the question, so I did. Was I really fine? What were the uneasy things going on in my head and heart and what was prompting them? In really slowing down, it became apparent this actually wasn't a simple question at all. Was I taking care of myself by allowing the amount of margin and breathing space I knew I needed? What was my body saying? What were my emotions telling me? And this question wasn't just about how I was doing physically. How was I doing as a mom and a wife and a friend? A recent conversation where leaky eyes had crept up on me and took me by surprise came to mind. My friend just listened.
Then she moved on to the next question: "How are you and your job doing?" Not wanting her to repeat the look, I took this one slow. Everything was going well, but that wasn't really what she was asking. She was digging into how the relationship was going—between this job and me. Was I managing my work or was it managing me? Was I walking the gentle line of balance or was I tipping over to the side of working too long and too hard, as I was so inclined to do? Was I deriving my satisfaction with myself based on what I was able to accomplish, focusing solely on results and not paying attention to what was embedded in the process? Was I lending my heart to the people and the pain and the passion that was before me every workday? Was I taking time to celebrate the work God was allowing me to be a part of or was I just showing up and grinding it out? The answers poured out, even without my friend having to prompt me with the secondary questions. I felt my friend's kind eyes on me as if to say, are you listening to this?