“I read once, which I loved so much, that this great physicist who won a Nobel Prize said that every day when he got home, his dad asked him not what he learned in school but his dad said, ‘Did you ask any great questions today?’ And I always thought, what a beautiful way to educate kids that we’re excited by their questions, not by our answers and whether they can repeat our answers.” –Diane Sawyer
What a lovely anecdote and framework for living. If only it were widely accepted and practiced everywhere, I thought :).
It is evident to me that this very thing, the comfort level or permission for us to investigate beyond what we’re told, is generally absent the more informational interviews I have. Students and new professionals I chat with are always so worried about how they’re doing things, rather than if they’re enjoying it, or if it’s teaching them something. As they’re supposed to, every student asks me some variation of: How did you get to where you are? To which I always answer with some variation of: ASK a lot of questions; DO what you’re passionate about; and DON’T settle.
Sometimes I’m met with understanding, and most times I’m met with an “I want more” look, or some hint of confusion or hesitation. While the conversation usually progresses beyond this point, I find the initial reaction fascinating. What intrigues me about these reactions is the general inability to digest something that isn’t organized or structured. I’m not saying this as a knock, but rather an observation that many of us subscribe too often to the prescribed way of thinking. By this I mean, the track that we’re all ‘supposed’ to take: School, more school, professional organization, standard first communications job, and so on.
There’s nothing wrong with any of those things, and I’ve done them all, but what I didn’t do – and I think this an important discussion to have – was do them in order or how I saw others do them. I went to school for six years because I had to discover what I loved. I waited tables in fine dining establishments and learned a ton about people and customer service. I’ve had a variety of work and life experience based on MY process of discovery and what works for me. That philosophy and way of living has established within me a fierce faith and understanding in the whole process because of what’s been and continues to be revealed as the result of my actions. You should seek the same for yourself.
It doesn’t mean I’ve never doubted (or doubt), but because I seek answers to the questions I have, it allows me to better establish my footing and next step in everything I do. Following is boring and uneventful, so I challenge you to seek YOUR answers and desires in order to become and achieve whatever it is that you want; in your life; in your career; in everything you do. Seek your passion and keep asking questions instead of worrying about reciting the answers you think people want to hear. Life is so much more colorful this way.
Lisa Grimm has a strong background in integrated marketing communications, branding, public relations and emerging media. As digital PR specialist at Mall of America, Lisa’s time is devoted to developing and implementing social media strategy, community management and other marketing communications initiatives. She is an active member and volunteer of PRSA (Public Relations Society of America).