I’ve had this weird thing going on with my eye, and been putting off getting it looked at. At random times, most often in the evening, my left eye would feel like something was in it and be quite uncomfortable. Flushing with didn’t help. Visually inspecting my eyeball didn’t reveal a problem. My eye seemed clear and I couldn’t figure out what was wrong.

Then the pain would go away and I would forget about it or procrastinate just a bit longer. But four or five nights later, I’d have the same irritating pain in my left eye.

A couple weeks I finally took myself to the optometrist for my long-overdue eye exam. To the question, “And how have you been feeling lately?” I filled him in on the discomfort I had been experiencing.

After follow-up questions, an inspection, and a few more questions, he diagnosed the most likely issue: my eyes get dry at night. (Who knew that dry eyes could feel like that!?)

So now I’m home with an eyedrop sample bottle, working the application into my evening and morning routine, and doing just dandy.

This most recent stint at the eye doctor reminds me how important it is to recognize what I don’t know I don’t know, and to seek support and expert input where necessary. I had no way of knowing that simply having dry eyes could feel that uncomfortable!

Rather than imagining worse-case scenarios, rather than putting it off because I was too busy, rather than continuing in discomfort, I had only to text the optometrist’s office and set up an appointment. The insurance has been paid, the benefits are there: All I need to do is ask for help. The optometrist shared a recommendation for relief within 20 minutes of walking in the office door.

Sometimes a visit to the doctor reveals a heart stopping problem. Sometimes it’s as simple as recommending eye drops. But for both, a visit to the doctor is a necessary step.

The way of a fool is right in his own eyes,
but a wise man listens to advice. (Proverbs 12:15)

Is there someone or somewhere you should reach out to today, to ask for input or expert advice? Questions aren’t only a tool to help someone else verbalize what they’re working through—questions are for you and me as well as we gather the information we need to do the next right thing. We don’t know what we don’t know.

Here’s how that poster in the office décor section at the decorating store puts it: Be strong enough to stand alone, smart enough to know when you need help, and brave enough to ask about it. Clichés work sometimes.

And if you live in San Antonio and need a good place to take your eyes, I’ve got one.

Need help knowing what questions to ask? Access free conversation starters from my book The Question Habit. They are organized around life stages and range from fun to thought-provoking to deep and real.

Free Conversation Questions