next right step

One Simple Question to Ask When You’re Struggling

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Have you ever had friends reach out for advice as they deal with struggles in life? Me too. Sometimes they face a major job, parenting, or marriage decision. One of the best ways to help others find their answers is through your questions (even if you’re the one who’s personally struggling, asking the right questions is key). Intentional questions help expose a person to truths and solutions that are often already buried deep within them.

Of the multiple questions you could use, there is one simple question that has been most helpful for me: “What’s your next right step?” By asking this question, you’re not telling friends what to do, because that’s not what they want anyway. You are actually helping them figure out what next decision is best in their situation. Here are 2 important ingredients to finding your next right step.

1. Think big.

When faced with difficulties or life-changing decisions, it’s essential that you think big by seeing the bigger picture of what matters in the long run. People who fail to do this often find themselves making decisions they regret later. Friends on the verge of divorce, parents who are struggling with a wayward child, or men who are facing circumstances that seem out of their control need to think big. They can do this by looking beyond what their current feelings are telling them and asking themselves important questions about their next right step. Questions like:

Sometimes proper perspective requires that we look at the bigger picture at play and its longterm effects in light of our current decisions.

2. Think small.

Once you know what your long-term goals are in your situation, it’s time now to think small. While a person’s situation may be very complex, that doesn’t mean he or she needs multiple solutions. Simply encourage others or yourself to ask, “What is the one thing I can actually do today (or right now) to move me in the right direction in this situation? What is my next right step?”

Often, if we focus on all our problems and how to solve them, we lack the specificity to do anything at all. The old proverb is true: “How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.” By adjusting your focus specifically to the next right step, you have just tapped into the path to success, at least for now. After taking that necessary step, the question again becomes, “What is the next right step?” By approaching one’s struggles with this think small mindset, we are able to deal with the big issues we face in bite-sized pieces.

Earn some points: Are you married? If so, share the iMOM article How Your Greatest Struggles Shape You with your wife.

Sound off: How could this question help you in the areas where you’re currently struggling?

Huddle up with your kids and ask, “How can I help you with your next right step?”