During the first part of the 1980’s, while spending several years in preparation for ministry, I worked in sales. During this time I found I had a keen interest in the personalities and decisions which shaped my older clients. My interest involved the personal and business levels. Though I was in my early twenties, I knew that life was a fading vapor and that I would be their age before I could turn around. I found there was a wealth of knowledge to learn from the generation ahead of me if I knew what to ask. Also, I knew the Lord was calling me into ministry and that I had much to learn from those who were responsible for leading others, in the secular and the church world. I soon came up with 3 main questions to ask those I found interesting in order to extract wisdom from them.
- What do you believe are the three most important things in your life/success?
- If you were to live your life over, what would you do differently?
I can still see Mr. Ray, an old farmer and business owner in his eighties, as I asked him these questions. We sat down in his store and I hung on his words like a bee to honey. I was listening to him speak out of nearly a century of experience. He died a couple of weeks after I got to spend time with him. My heart was broken, but I’m thankful I slowed down enough to get to know him, and I still think of him often. The song, “I Believe” by Brooks and Dunn reminds me of him a lot!
Take time to ask! The treasures you discover may save you from repeating the same mistakes and advance your leadership abilities! There is a vast amount of wisdom and understanding to be gained from those who have gone before us. Isn’t that why we read books? Let us be sure to ask the ones still living…life is fleeting.
What questions would you ask? And Why?