What Is Your Key Question?

/What Is Your Key Question?

What Is Your Key Question?

The “Weeds” series finale on the Showtime network left a lot of people disappointed. I was one of them until it hit me: The entire ending was about Nancy Botwin’s key question.

Here’s a short series recap for everyone who didn’t watch Weeds.

Nancy Botwin is a single mother left with no money and no traditional job skills to support her family after her husband’s sudden death. Her answer is to become a marijuana dealer. It turns out that she is quite good at it.

This begins a saga of a dysfunctional family where one son enters the family business; the second son murders someone; the brother-in-law provides some sense of stability while harboring feelings for Nancy; the youngest son (born from a failed marriage to a Mexican drug lord) grows up to be a standout high school soccer player, and the friend/accountant tags along for the weed while trying to score his next scam.

Through it all – and that includes a Mexican drug cartel, Russian mobsters, a stint in prison, and being shot in the head – Nancy strives to be a good mother who wants a better life for her children.

 So let’s go back to that series finale that takes place some years in the future.

Nancy owns a chain of marijuana cafes that Starbucks wants to purchase. The drug growing son lives in California where he supervises the growth of the product. The son that killed someone – admittedly she was a bad person – is now a police officer with a 1970’s mustache and a drinking problem. The brother-in-law has moved back to California as well and built a stable, satisfying life. The accountant has started a new religion. The youngest son appears completely normal and wants to go away to prep school.

The answer to Nancy’s question arrives in a comment from her youngest son: “You have always been there to look out and take care of me.”

And with that, Nancy has what she has needed her entire life –confirmation and acknowledgement that she was a good mother. She is now free to sell her business take on whatever new challenge awaits her.


Each of us has a key question that drives us, validates, us, and defines our success.

Sally Field showed us her question when she responded to winning the academy award by saying, “You like me. You really like me.”

My mother asked me her question a few short weeks before she died: “Will everyone be OK?” Or put another way, did I do a good job raising my children to be self-sufficient.

For my work life, the question has always been, “Did I add value and help my clients succeed?”

What is your key question? Embracing your question provides the measuring stick for your success. It lights the path toward the results you need to achieve in order to be fulfilled. And, it defines what it means to be significant and contribute.