A Full Deck Of Questions

Corfu, Greece (Joe Jacobi Photo)

On a day that marks the completion of my 52nd lap around the sun, I thought to share some reflections that feel relevant at this moment in time.

These reflections may sometimes appear to contradict each other. But, as I have considered and embraced each one along my journey down the river, I hope that one of them, perhaps more, offers you an interesting perspective on this first Sunday of autumn… as they have for me.


  1. What if we reset our year in the autumn instead of January?
  2. What if Fridays mark the beginning of our week with two restful days instead of the weekend marking the end of our week?
  3. What if we reframe a finish line as the next start line?
  4. What do we notice when we stop noticing what we are measuring?
  5. Instead of pushing away negative or challenging feelings, what if we acknowledge them where they are?
  6. How could we focus on moments instead of months? Or weeks? Or even days?
  7. Which parts of our default belief system have been left unchecked for a long time?
  8. Instead of a destination, what if we focus on incremental movement every day?
  9. How would our resets change if we consistently take small steps as opposed to trying big leaps?
  10. How would our resets change if we are guided by what we want?
  11. What is good about right now?

Life As A River…

12. How would we change if we consider that a “timeout” does not really stop time?

13. A) What if we focus on how to collaborate with the rocks in our river instead of trying to eliminate them?

14. B) Are we confusing rocks with river current? And river current for rocks?

15. What if we sustain minimum speed without stopping as opposed to pursuing top speed with frequent stops?

16. What if successful navigation is less about making moves and more about better anticipation and correction of mistakes?

17. How often do we practice for making mistakes?

18. Can we find humility in the mildest stretches of the river ?

Health, Capacity, & Energy

19. What if we replaced “How can I find more time?” with “How can I better replenish and expend energy?”

20. How can we position ourselves to better leverage transfers of energy between us and unexpected and uncontrollable forces of power?

21. What if we spend the first five minutes of our day tuning out the voices of others and tuning into our own voice?

22. What if we choose rest?

23. What if we choose solitude?

24. A) When we are feeling bad, what if we serve someone else?

25. B) When we are feeling bad, what if we serve something bigger than ourselves?

26. Could the improved health of any collective community or society to which we belong or about which we care begin with improving with our own health?

27. A) If we keep moving up and up and up the mountain, where will we find the open space and oxygen to reset and grow?

28. B) Is there an an option to descend a few steps down the mountain before ascending again?

29. When we want to feel more present, what is the most accessible and free first step?

30. What if patience becomes one of our superpowers?


31. What can we change about our environment that would facilitate better relationships?

32. Could the impact of deeper relationships with fewer people exceed the impact of shallow relationships with many?

33. Is there a collaboration of goodness to be cultivated with others who seem to operate at the opposite end of the spectrum as we do?

34. A) What are the circumstances that make it more challenging for them?

35. B) How can we better convey to them that we see their circumstances?

36. How can we get outside of our own bubble?

37. What if we send more messages to people who make (or made) a difference in our lives?

38. Is our relationship with nature held to a similar standard to that of a good friend?

39. Is our relationship with ourselves held to a similar standard to that of a good friend?


40. Can we more frequently ask ourselves, “Could the opposite be true?”

41. What if we hold our “rules for living” with a loose grip instead of a tight one?

42. If we could only improve by subtraction, what would we subtract?

43. What if it is not a marathon but instead a series of short sprints?

44. If it is possible that nobody will remember, what would we be free to do?

45. How could life be different if we pair grit, resilience, and determination with catching our breath, the beauty of imperfection, and self-kindness?

46. Instead of trying to outrun our current situation to gain new perspective, what if we slow down to gain a new perspective?

47. How can we be more gentle with ourselves right now?

48. A) For what are we grateful?

49. B) What if we ask this “gratitude question” every day?

50. What if we let go?

51. What if we embrace all that we have and who we are while focusing less on what we want and who we hope to be?

52. How can we reframe our outlook about life as a series of questions?

With gratitude,


Connect with Joe:


Joe Jacobi is an Olympic Gold Medalist and Performance Coach who collaborates with leaders & teams by getting them outside the day-to-day rush of life and bringing focus to what truly matters most.

His strategies and concepts help clients, including sales and technology executives, doctors, senior-level bankers, and military leaders, to perform their best without compromising their lives.

Joe continually practices and refines his core principles and strategies via his own life and pursuits at his Pyrenees mountains home beside the 1992 Olympic Canoeing venue in La Seu d’Urgell in the Spanish state of Catalunya — the same canoeing venue where along with his canoeing partner, Scott Strausbaugh, Joe won America’s first-ever Olympic Gold Medal in the sport of Whitewater Canoe Slalom at the 1992 Olympic Games.




Olympic Gold Medalist & Performance Coach helping leaders & teams perform their best without compromising their lives. http://joejacobi.com/5-with-joe/

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Joe Jacobi

Joe Jacobi

Olympic Gold Medalist & Performance Coach helping leaders & teams perform their best without compromising their lives. http://joejacobi.com/5-with-joe/

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