Asking Myself Four Questions

Todd Henry

I was listening to an episode of Todd Henry’s podcast early last week and it struck a nerve with me. In it, he recommends asking yourself four specific questions to start 2022. He does this every year, but the questions change.

The questions this year are:

  1. What is my defining question right now?
  2. What do I know, but I’m afraid to admit?
  3. How will I grow this year?
  4. What is being asked of me right now?

I turned 50 a couple of months ago. If I live as long as my paternal grandmother, I would have another 50 years left, but only about 35 to 40 of me thinking clearly. I have already lived longer than my brother who died almost nine years ago.

Given this, the answer to question 1 slammed into me quickly and hard. It gets to the point without beating around the bush. “What am I going to do with the time I have left?”

The answers to questions 2 through 4 came at me almost equally as quickly and, much like with question 1, were like a really good friend who cares a lot about you so they’re bluntly honest and mean what they say with good intentions.

The answers to question 2 include the truths that:

  • If I don’t get my emotional eating under control I’ll probably have less time to do what I want to do with the time I have left.
  • If I don’t do that, spend less time looking at a screen, do something about the amount of clutter around me, I’m doing a disservice to my daughter (bad role model)
  • I need to get better at self-compassion and loving myself

Question 3 requires less painful introspection. How will I grow this year?

  • I want to hit my reading goal this year (at least 24 books)
  • I want to read / learn more about areas of education that will help me be a better educator
  • I want to journal everyday
  • I want to take notes on what I’m learning
  • I want to have the courage to be vulnerable and honest with myself and others about my needs and wants

Finally, question 4 got me thinking about how, given my current context, can I contribute this year.

  • Be supportive of my family, friends, and colleagues
  • Care for my own well-being to be a good role model and be around for my family
  • Contribute ideas and work to improve education
  • Produce good podcasts and blog post, and promote them consistently in an effort to help others

While this was exercise made my heart race a little faster and brought on some minor anxiety, I would still recommend doing it yourself. When we can’t be honest with ourselves, we can’t make the most of the time we have.

Listen to the podcast below. Also, Todd was on the Better Me Podcast in late 202 and you can listen to that episode as well.

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