‘What’s wrong with me, why doesn’t anything go right for me?’
This was the question presented by a friend. Before I could reply another frustration fuelled question came.
‘You’re a coach, what should do’
I replied – ‘You should ask better questions’.
(I had another answer which I’ll put in part 2 of this post)
This might seem counter intuitive but one reason people don’t get what they want in life is because they’re asking the wrong questions. Most of us are not consciously aware we’re asking ourselves questions.
What I want you to know is that the questions you ask yourself are super important – You live into them. They question your capabilities, frame your beliefs, prime your thoughts and create self fulfilling prophecies. They’re powerful.
They’re just as important as knowledge because It’s often not information and our capacity to remember but where we place our attention and what we think about that makes the most difference in our lives.
Think back over the last few days, have you said:
- ‘Why me?’
- ‘Why don’t they realise?’
- ‘What’s wrong with ‘x’?’
- ‘Why do I ‘x’ all the time?’
- ‘What will I do when ‘x’?’
- ‘What am I doing with my life?’
- ‘How did I get into this situation?’
- ‘Why are you doing this to me?’
- ‘What will they think?’
- ‘What If I fail?’
- Who am I to ‘x’?’
Do you recognise some of these? What I want you to realise now is that these questions anchor you. They focus your attention on scarcity and problems. They limit you, hold you back and put your precious attention on the wrong things. It’s a bad habit and ineffective.
“A PROBLEM WELL STATED IS A PROBLEM HALF SOLVED.” JOHN DEWEY
A better way is to ask questions that point you in the direction for what you want [not what you don’t want]. Ask questions that help you tell the story you want to tell. Questions that highlight the constraints and obstacles. Questions that put you in a position of ownership because It’s only when we own it can we change it. If we give our power away, even in a question, we limit ourselves.
HOW YOU KNOW GOOD QUESTIONS
- Will this keep me still or lead to a better future?
- Am I getting a long term perspective or short term gratification?
- Am I focusing on the problem or the solution?
- Does the question empower me?
Here are some examples:
|Old Question||Better Question|
|What am I doing with my life||What would I like to do with my life|
|Why don’t they realise||Are they ready for this|
|How did I get into this situation||What can I learn here and how can I apply it in the future|
|What will they think||Is this the story I want to tell|
|Who am I to ‘x’||How can I make a contribution|
|What if I fail||How good could this be|
Last thought – If you’re working with a coach right now, don’t wait for them to ask you all the questions. Knowing what questions you are living into will make your coaching sessions so much more powerful.