A Rhetorical Question About Work

Peter Bregman recently wrote a post entitled “A Life-or-Death Question to Start Your Day”. He tells the story of how, during a long-ago trip with his wife to the wilderness for kayaking, they assessed the risks they were taking each morning. Every day before they left shore, they asked themselves: “If we died today, what mistake could have done us in?”

Years later, Peter still thinks of that approach to each day, except the questions (and the risks) are quite different. Peter’s take on the new questions is: “Am I prepared for this day? For the meetings I have planned? Have I anticipated the risks that might take me off track from achieving my goals?” Ultimately, Peter realized that if not prepared, each precious day could be withered away.

It’s a great story and a very meaningful lesson.

Yet I am thinking that the most important lesson for me might be to take it one more step.

Should my questions be:

  • If this were the last day of my life, how would I treat each person I come in contact with?
  • What would I appreciate most about life in each moment that I have left?
  • Would achievement and power, or collaboration and compromise be my approach to whatever has to be done?
  • Would I be concerned about my title or my salary – or would I recognize the opportunity I have, every moment, to be a thoughtful, kind and useful person?

These might be rhetorical questions, but I feel good about the perspective they push me to understand about life and work.  

Terry Del Percio. www.workstrategies.com

978.282.8900

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