I like to think that I come to business meetings prepared. While I do not anticipate every question, I prepare knowing what is likely to come up. In the main, my preparation works. There are times where I do not know the precise answer; however, I could anticipate the broad question and am ready. Recently the opening question in an interview caught me off guarded. It was not that the question was unusual; it was the context and timing.
“I love your twenty-five years plus experience. You have had several amazing roles! As you look back, what was your single greatest achievement?”
As I look back on the moment, I think it was the word “single” that surprised me. Usually, the question is worded so that you can provide a top ten list, or at least a top three. In the pregnant pause that followed, I knew I had to answer. I could not ask for time to reflect and consider. It was as much a question of the heart as it was of the mind.
“In every role I have taken on I can think of at least one defining ‘wow’ moment. When I look at these over the past twenty-five years, one thing stands out.”
I went on to describe something I rarely think about but it was the candid truth. It had nothing to do with making money or doing what someone thought was impossible. My greatest achievement has to do with relationships I continue to have with individuals I have had an opportunity to work with. Without going into specifics, the attribute that exists in every one is sincere candor. In their openness with me, I was able to be open with them.
The lingering impact of the question and my answer haunts me. Am I willing to be sincerely candid with God? Am I willing to follow David’s advice to “Open up before God, keep nothing back; he’ll do whatever needs to be done:” (Psalm 37.5)
Because others took that step with me, I could act. It is time for boldness.