“If you were to ask one question of a famous or historical person, living or dead, what would it be?”
At some point you were probably asked this hypothetical question by a friend, at a party, or as part of an icebreaker or game, and the answer can be fun (and challenging) to think about and discuss.
Although most people answer this question with the name of a person that they are not likely to meet, identifying one question you’re burning to ask a person of interest is a great tool to use with people you meet everyday, including your teachers, mentors, role models, heroes, and even friends. Think of this as your “golden question”- the one question you are most curious to know the answer to from people you meet, particularly your budding professional relationships.
Asking your “golden question” will help build rapport with others, expand your possible career insights and options, and learn what has helped others achieve success in their careers.
Find your “golden question” from a place of genuine curiosity. It doesn’t need to be particularly unique or special, but a question that answers what you are most curious to know about a particular job, career or life path that provides useful insight for your own career path.
For example, if you’re an aspiring writer or director meeting with a more established professional, you may want to know the answers to questions like “How did they get to where they are now?” “What was the biggest challenge in their career?” “Who were their biggest mentors and how did they develop a relationship with them?” “What advice would they give their younger self?”
While the question doesn’t necessarily need to be exactly the same for every individual, look for the themes that emerge from their answers. The destination may have been similar for each person, but the circumstances that led them there were certainly unique. Knowing that there are many roads to success can be a comforting and empowering thought. What you learn from asking your “golden question” will help you make more informed, inspired, and confident choices in your career.
Before your next meeting or interview with someone new, take a moment to think about your “golden question,” the question you most want to ask to get their thoughts, feedback and insight on before you end your conversation. The answer you receive might be the very thing that inspires you to make a life-changing career choice.
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