This month marks a year of growth that I only wish could have came sooner in my life. I’ve grown a lot as a man, person, lifter, and coach. But what I’ve taken away from this previous year is a simple three question guide that I’ve been using to help dictate who I surround myself with.
Think of it this way, you’re basically interviewing your circle by only using these three questions, and these three questions can tell you EVERYTHING you’d want to know about someone, and if you should continue to associate with them. The great thing is, there isn’t really any wrong answers. But there are preferred answers!
Let’s get to the questions.
What Is Your Passion?
In my opinion, this one question should be your guide. If someone has a hard time answering this question (they take longer than 5 seconds to spit out an answer), you can probably skip the next two questions.
The reason I love this question – it immediately dives in to the person’s interests and what pushes them forward each and every day. You can get a vast array of answers here. It can be their hobby, job, community service, or a simple activity.
For me, this is easy: powerlifting, coaching, and the health and fitness industry.
Everything I do every day is based around this. Some days this can get selfish with my powerlifting and training, while other days I’m entirely focused on how I can improve the field or my clients. Regardless, I wake up every day knowing what I’m going to surround myself with, and more importantly, it makes me HAPPY.
The kicker here is that you and the other person do not have to have the same passion. The key is that they HAVE a passion. So long as they have a passion, they can understand what it’s like to make sacrifices for other things that might seem minute to the average person.
For example, knowing that I’m passionate about powerlifting, I now know going forward, that if a person doesn’t have passion about something, they can NEVER understand what it’s like to want to break a PR, world record, or even just be one of the best. But if they have a passion, they can relate. You’ll just need to make sure that you can explain how your passion aligns within a context they can understand (ideally using their passion as an example).
That’s the key thing to take away here from asking this question. Find out what makes that person happy.
Your red flags?
- If someone takes too long to answer (more than five seconds)
- They have nothing to give
- “I don’t know…”
Immediately move on. This person will never understand you, because you have a meaning and passion for something that drives you forward in life. If someone doesn’t know what this is for them, you’re going to have a hard time communicating placing something else before them when you need to.
What Book Are You Reading?
This is probably my favorite question to ask. And to be honest, it’s my favorite question to be asked in an interview. I know it’s something that I can elaborate on and go into depth on why I’m reading it and what I’ve learned thus far in the material.
This question is important as it let’s you know a few key factors:
- Is the person a life-long learner?
- How involved is the person with technology?
I don’t know about you, but I’ve never met a person that is reading a book that just isn’t a fan of learning. This is becoming scarcer by the day to find people actually picking up and reading a book with how much can be done on the internet with YouTube and other media outlets, but a book just requires you to sit down in a quiet place, block out everything else, and dive nose first into something you probably know nothing about or something you want to learn more about.
In my opinion, this is vital. This will tell you whether the person you are interacting with not only wants to learn, but they will strive to figure out problems and think outside the box. They’ll go the extra step to seek out smarter people and use them as resources when they need advice. No one knows everything, and if someone isn’t reading and trying to get better, they are essentially satisfied. No thanks.
Reading also tells me that the person can step away from the technology and social media driven world we live in. While you can technically read a book on your Kindle, or listen to audio books on your drive, these people probably still enjoy actually picking up a book when they get the chance. Perhaps their lives just don’t let them pick up a book as often as they’d like (like the father driving two hours each way to work). However, these are exceptions. What I’m getting at is, if someone is reading a book, they can put down the cellphone for an hour and not worry about how many likes they got on a social media post. This means, that if you need their time, they can give it uninterrupted.
Your red flags?
- “I hate reading”
- “I don’t have time to read”
- High affinity for fiction based pieces (some is okay, but nothing but romance novels, for example, is a red flag)
What Is the Most Exciting Thing You’ve Done?
This is the odd ball question, which is why it’s saved for last. I like this question because it let’s me dive into the creativity of the person. Maybe this isn’t a passion, maybe it is, but what’s more important is that it can tell you whether a person is an introvert or extrovert. You can then compare this with your personality type, and understand how you might communicate best. This can also give you an idea of things that you might enjoy doing together.
There would be nothing worse than to get to know someone and find out they hate going out in public and being social, while you’d prefer to be out on the town at concerts and social outings. This doesn’t mean that things can’t work, but at least you’ll know from the get-go what you can expect (and not be surprised).
In addition to this, you can also see how much the person is willing to experiment and try new things. The kicker here is to not jump to any conclusions too quickly. You’ll want to measure this answer along with their response to question one, about passion. Is it similar? Totally irrelevant? This is what matters. Ideally you’re going to see something that is completely unrelated to their passion. You want to see how far they are willing to step outside their comfort zone and try new things.
Your red flags?
- “Umm..I don’t know”
- “I don’t get out much”
- “I’m not that exciting”
Could There Be More?
While these are merely only my three questions, I do feel that they give a great scope and provide an ample amount of detail about an individual. Sometimes we need to be selfish, and surround ourselves by those that have passions, are constantly learning, and are willing to live a little. This can ensure that our own personal development continues to push forward.
Not everyone wants to succeed, push forward, and continue on the road less traveled, and that’s okay. But if you’re someone that can answer these three questions, you indeed deserve to have a circle of friends, family, and support that can also answer them.
Don’t settle for less, you’re better than that.