A few weeks ago I started reading a book called How Great Women Lead, co-authored by Bonnie St. John and Darcy Deane. The book is a mother-daughter trip around the world interviewing extraordinary women in leadership positions about their lives and how their experiences have shaped their leadership style in the professional world. It is an extremely interesting and inspirational read (I mostly like the life stories and the lessons they learned). At the time I started reading this book, I was also completing Gretchen Rubin’s happiness interview, which I blogged about a few posts back. Since I started branching out in my book selections, I’ve found that I really enjoy reading books that are interview-based but provide a lot of dialogue between writer and interviewees. I’ve found that you can learn so much about yourself in reading about other people’s experiences – how your own life’s experiences may be relatable or entirely different but the moral is still the same. While Gretchen, Bonnie, and Darcy have narrow focuses (happiness and leadership, respectively) I find the process of learning about yourself and what’s important to you through others’ experiences and thought processes appealing. So, I decided I would give it a try too. Why not? It could be fun and it’s the whole reason I started blogging in the first place.
Since the gist of my blog is about finding balance, living a meaningful and successful life and setting goals/priorities, I wanted to create a broad base of questions to ask people. Although I feel like I can’t create one set of questions for all the people I would like to talk to like Gretchen does, I also don’t want to have a list of 50 questions like Bonnie and Darcy have. I certainly need to put some more thought into this whole process, but I’m a go-with-the-flow type of person. I’m thinking 10 questions to each interviewee should suffice and then sharing the answers on here. I started brainstorming some possible questions and so far I’ve come up with the following:
1. How are we to find direction and purpose? What does it mean to you to live a meaningful life?
2. What gets you out of bed in the morning? What drives you and inspires you?
3. Do you have any regrets? What would you change if you could? What advice can you give to someone trying to find themselves?
4. How do you balance work and life? How do you determine what your priorities are?
5. Eric Greitens states that to have a meaningful life you must be both good and strong. What does that mean for you? Or do you even agree?
6. What does it mean to you to be a good leader? Who (or what) has had the most impact in shaping your leadership style?
7. Is there a moment that changed your life for the better – or vice versa? How has it shaped who you are today, both professionally and personally.
8. How do you balance conflicting obligations? How do you say “no” when you’re a “yes” person?
I think it’s a good start so far. I think leaving two questions to be specific to that individual might be good too, but I’d love to get suggestions from you all. Like I said above, it’s a work in progress and I need to put a lot more thought into it.
I also started brainstorming people I wanted to interview. At the top of the list is Liz’s adopted grandmother, Barbara. I only hear about Barbara through Liz, but when she said she posed for Playboy back in the 1960s and had the magazine to prove it, I knew this woman had to have lived an interesting life. I’m curious to learn more and I think she may just have the secret to living a good life. Beyond that, my list gets really ambitious (like famous people ambitious) so again, I need to put some more thought into it.
That being said, I’m enlisting the help of my devoted 7 readers. Is there anyone you find inspirational who seems to have balance and purpose in their life? I’m really amazed by single moms (or dads) who have successful careers and I want to add them to my list. I’m really just looking for every day people so drop a comment or email me pretty please!