The Delphi Oracle: A Wisdom Story of Asking the Perfect Question

Uncategorized Jun 10, 2019

If you were 100% certain you would receive a 100% True answer from ANY question you could ask, what question would you ask?

Think about it and journal your thoughts. 

Tough to formulate that perfect question, isn't it? 

Did you ask a question about your life?  Your family?  Your health?  career?  Something about the future of the world? 

Wisdom Story of the Delphi Oracle

There is a fascinating story from Ancient Greece about receiving Truth.  In the temple at Delphi, there was a priestess called, the Delphi Oracle.  It was believed she would respond with truth when the proper ceremony was performed and your question, asked.

The King of Lydia, Croesus contemplated attacking the Persian army and wanted to know if he would be victorious.  He went to the Delphi Oracle and asked if he would defeat the Persian Army.  As the story goes, the Delphi Oracle responded, "If Croesus goes to war, he will destroy a great empire." 

Confident of victory, Croesus left the Delphi Oracle and attacked King Cyrus of Persia….and was soundly defeated.   You got it, a great empire was destroyed.  He never thought it would be his own!

My Wisdom Story of a Delphi Oracle Question … Blown

I attended Brendon Burchard's High Performance Academy in March of 2017.  2000 people gathered to improve their lives and strive as high performers.  An epic event every time!

My relationship with Brendon Burchard, the highest paid coach on the planet, goes back to 2005 when he was just starting his career.  We both worked for a Big Consulting company and he was assigned to my project.  He was a phenomenal performer, but that's a story for another time.

12 years later after leaving Big Consulting and making HUGE leaps in the personal development arena Brendon was conducting his own events.  When I left Big Consulting after 28 years, I decided to jump into his world to learn how to become a world class entrepreneur.  So, there I was at his High Performance Academy.  Mentee turns into mentor.  Life is funny that way sometimes.

Day 3 of 4 at his High Performance Academy.  Next topic in the seminar, Productivity.  With 2000 people anxiously awaiting Brendon's knowledge nuggets, he says, "This afternoon we'll talk about Productivity.  But instead of hearing me talk about it, there's three people sitting among you who can share their expert thoughts about Productivity.  I'm going to ask each of them to come up here on stage and share.  Michael Hackman, who has sent satellites to Pluto.  Paula Abreu who has conducted seven figure launches in Brazil.  And my boss from Big Consulting, Patrick Mosher who has delivered huge strategic projects to Fortune 500 companies.  The three of you, come on backstage and we'll get you mic'd up." 


What a great opportunity!  How incredibly humbling and frightening.  15 minutes of preparation to extemporaneously speak to 2000 people.  I walked backstage where Brendon and his support team were ready to go. 

My brain is going all over the place!  What am I going to say?  Do I tell a story?  What concepts?  What will these people value? 

Backstage, I watch Michael and Paula off to the side, madly gathering and organizing their thoughts.  Brendon comes over to me with a big smile. 

"Hey you!" 

I thank him for this great opportunity and he promptly gives me a tour of his backstage setup.  Still trying to gather my thoughts, he explains how he keeps limber with these exercises and keeps fresh with this plate of blueberries and that bowl of spinach.  I'm smiling and wishing he would just leave me alone!  I look up at the countdown clock to see my short preparation time rush by in a blur.

90 seconds left, he asks,

"Any questions for me?"

My big moment.  All 2000 people out there would spend THOUSANDS of dollars for this moment.  Here is a wildly successful entrepreneur.  He's a coach to world class athletes and world leaders.  A New York Times best selling author.  Created wildly successful events, year over year.  And one of the most successful online marketers of our times. 

I get one question.  90 seconds.

"Where do you get your shoes?"

WHAT??!?!?  Did that question just fall out of my mouth?

Okay, I was curious about how he could walk, dance and pace for 8 hours over 4 days of training in dress shoes and NOT be crippled.  But, 'where do you get your shoes?'  Is that the MOST important question I could ask?

Brendon promptly describes the shoes and promises to send me a link to the home page -- which he did within 48 hours. 

Countdown clock reads zero.  Music comes up.  Introductions made.  The four of us walk on stage. 

Go Time!

Asking the Perfect Question

Backstage with Brendon, I totally BLEW my Delphi Oracle moment.  I promised myself that would NEVER happen again!  An incredibly valuable lesson gained by an opportunity missed. 

Now when I prepare for learning events or plan important interactions, I contemplate and fine tune the perfect question to ask.  The question that creates an authentic moment.  The question that enriches not only my life, but theirs. 


  • Think about your next important interaction. Perhaps it’s a meeting at work.  A talk with your teenage son.  A session with your coach.  A neighborhood block party.


  • What question would you ask if you were 100% certain of receiving a 100% truth in the response?


  • If the interaction is really important, review that question with others and fine tune it.

After all, you don't want to go to war with the Persians, do you?

Live 100% Empowered!

If you want to increase your Influencing Skills, join me in my monthly program, Authentic Interaction Mastery (AIM).

And if you're curious about how my 5 minutes on stage went, here's a link to my presentation.  I had SO MUCH fun!


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