The Power of Questions
Saturday is Tell the Truth Day and there is no better way to get to the truth than through the power of questions.
I am a huge believer that the questions we ask ourselves and others throughout our lives inform our decisions, our priorities, and ultimately our outcomes. In fact, in one aspect of my business, using provocative questioning is the cornerstone of being an effective leadership coach and executive consultant. It is NOT about me having all the answers (thank goodness, or I would most certainly fail in that role!); yet it IS about asking questions to stimulate the inner genius in each of us to rise up and be heard.
So, in that vein, I am offering a few key questions which have helped me throughout the years. Whether you use these at the start of a new year, a new quarter, or re-visit throughout the year, these questions can be used to help you stay focused.
- What are we pretending NOT to know? We are often in denial about at least one aspect in our lives. We don’t want to ask the questions about which we are afraid of the answers! Yet – pretending is child’s folly. As adults – we own it – so we must look ourselves directly in the mirror, and face reality. This ultimately will open the door to countless opportunities.
- In what ways are you being perceived, in which you are not aware? Whew – this is a question every single one of my clients has been asked AND it is the most concerning. The adage “perception is reality” is true. When I ask my clients if they have a “brand” – and they say no – I challenge this, as we ALL have a brand. It is what folks think about us when our names are mentioned. Is this how you want to be remembered? If not – then start writing YOUR story. For in the absence of a story, they will write their own.
- What is your Why? I know I have referenced Simon Sinek in other articles. His powerful TED Video is well worth the few minutes to watch (or re-watch). We each need to have a compelling and BIG why – as we will always figure out the WHAT and the HOW……IF our WHY informs our life’s choices in a rooted, inspiring, and fulfilling way. And, as my clients know from my coaching and writing, my definition of alignment is: loving what you do, being good at it, AND most importantly – having your work tied to something greater than yourself. That last piece…IS your WHY!
- What should I focus on – today or tomorrow? Well, in my first book, “Is This Seat Taken?” I focus on the magic of the present moment and the random encounters that change your life. So, yes, I err on the side of living in the present. However, I also believe life is all about balancing the ability to reflect on what we have learned and experienced (the past), as well as planning for the future. We need to know when and how to plant the seeds for tomorrow’s harvest. Without that, we are not being responsible with our lives.
- What do you want your life to be in 5 years? If we do not know where we are going, we will never get there – as the famous quote from Alice in Wonderland (Lewis Carroll) so wisely states. We have to have aspirational goals. What can we do – today – to get started? What is our 5 year plan? Of course, our plans may change (they almost always do in some shape, form, or fashion); yet, at least you have a point on the horizon to which you are directed. That is key.
Questions can serve as the pointers for our lives. As Voltaire offered: “Judge a man by his questions rather than his answers.” Yes, our questions will help us to create the life we want.
Other articles you may be interested in:
- Ask Questions to Move Beyond Problems to Possibilities! by Jude Olson
- A Leader’s Most Important Team Building Tool by Julie Chance
- The Need for Women of Prominence by Alicia Morgan
- Are You Committed to Endure? by Dolores Garza