10 Questions to Ask on a Personal Retreat

I use these questions to refocus myself on what matters.

Hey friends, here are 10 questions I use to refocus my life each month during my monthly prayer and planning retreats, this time on Kittatinny Mountain.

I hiked the Appalachian Trail through a place called “Knife’s Edge” to a rock outcropping called “Bake Oven Knob” which looks down on the valley below. From that beautiful vantage point, I pulled out a set of questions I’ve been using to evaluate my life and ministry for the past 25 years. They were written by a gifted leadership coach named Bob Biehl.

I closed my eyes and took a series of deep breaths for a couple of minutes to still my heart and focus my mind. Then, with the questions in front of me and the valley before me, I asked God to help me completely re-evaluate everything I’m doing.

One by one I answered each question, slowly. The process took two hours, and I ended up filling the entire sheet with notes, front and back.

I left with a list of to-do items, numbered in order of priority, to implement as soon as I got back. These are things I know God is asking me to do, stop or delegate. I leave knowing that I heard from God as best as I could.

Scripture tells us that when Jesus needed to make an important decision, he went away by himself to the mountains to pray (Matt. 14:23). I have discovered over the years why he did that. I do not exaggerate when I say that this is the single most important and rewarding day of the entire month, because I always leave with two things: greater clarity and greater conviction.

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If you’re wrestling with something right now, I’d really encourage you to put a day on the calendar, print off the questions, throw on your hiking boots and head to the mountains.

10 Questions to Refocus Your Life

“A leader knows what to do next, knows why that’s important and knows how to bring the appropriate resources to bear on the need at hand.”
—Bob Biehl

1. What is my single greatest strength? (What do I “do” the best?)
2. What three decisions are causing me the greatest stress?
3. What is overwhelming me?
4. What impassable roadblock has me stuck?
5. If I could only do three things before I die, what would I want to do?
6. What should I resign from or drop out of? As Peter Drucker said, “Efficiency is doing things right, effectiveness is doing the right things.”
7. What can I postpone?
8. What things on my “to do” list can someone else do at least 80 percent as well?
9. What are the “elephants” in my schedule? Pareto said, “If you’re Noah, and your ark is about to sink, look for the elephants first.”
10. What are the three things I could do in the next 90 days to make a 50 percent difference?

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This article originally appeared on BrianJones.com.