Ask GREAT Questions & See What Happens
Have you been paying attention to the questions you’ve been asking yourself lately?
I talk to myself. Yes! It’s true. I bet you do too! Sometimes it’s a conversation in my head; other times its actual words spoken out loud. These conversations take place in the car, while doing chores around the house, even on my morning walks.
What’s most fascinating about the conversations I have with myself? The questions I’m asking! My questions reveal so much about my mindset and beliefs. They reveal what I treasure and what I fear.
In the past, I frequently asked myself “How will I do _________ if my breathing doesn’t improve?” You see, asthma was a very real part of my life. And when I contracted Lyme disease, my breathing got even worse. Surprisingly, the inability to breathe affects nearly every area of life. It wasn’t fun. The question I was asking myself exposed my doubts and fears – would God see me through my serious health issues?
When I began asking “What will God do to improve my breathing?” or “How will God help me do such and such today?” my focus shifted and my heart expectantly searched for ways God was at work.
I am thrilled to share with you that my breathing is fantastic now. It no longer keeps me from doing the activities I adore!
I’ve previously confessed that I’m a recovering perfectionist. As a result of striving for perfection, I asked myself questions like “Why can’t you get it right?” or “Why are you bothering?” or “Who even cares about what you are doing?”
Can you feel the negativity in what I was asking myself? That way of inquiring didn’t get me where I wanted to be.
I’ve been asking myself better questions like…
- What can I do? This helps me to focus on what’s possible rather than what’s not.
- What would make a difference? This encourages me to focus on impacting others.
- How can I spread HOPE? It’s my One Word this year and I think we can all use more hope, right?
Whether you are aware of it or not, you are continually asking yourself questions too. Those questions have a powerful impact on your mindset and the choices you make. In the end, the questions you ask determine the results you get both personally and professionally.
Are you asking yourself…
- What if I fail?
- Who will take me seriously?
- What if I don’t have what it takes?
- How will I do it all?
- What if I make a mistake?
- Why bother?
- What will others think?
- What if things never change?
Pause. Think back. What questions have you been going through your mind? Chances are that you’ve been ignoring your inner dialogue, so it might take a minute to recall your questions. Persist! Be brutally honest with yourself.
Better Self-Talk, Better Results
If you want to get better or different results, consider switching the questions you are asking yourself. At first it might be a little scary, but it’s worth pushing through the discomfort and fear! With the above questions in mind, here are some examples to consider. Instead of asking…
- What if I fail? ASK What steps can I take towards success?
- Who will take me seriously? ASK How will I make a difference in the lives of others? Or What steps can I take to be more credible?
- What if I don’t have what it takes? ASK How can I develop myself?
- How will I do it all? ASK What can I do?
- What if I make a mistake? ASK What will I miss out on learning if I don’t try?
- Why bother? ASK Why not try? Or What’s the best next step?
- What will others think? ASK What do I really want?
- What if nothing ever changes? ASK What will I change?
Asking yourself better questions is more than just turning them into positive questions. When your questions reflect curiosity, encourage growth, and move your forward, they are GREAT questions! Questions determine your results.
You have a choice. You can keep asking in a negative and critical way that take you off track, or you can start asking questions that reveal the possibilities, lead to solutions, and create forward momentum.
Asking GREAT questions takes practice. Be patient with yourself. It’s worth the effort! Here are 10 reasons to do the work:
1. You Get A Taste of Victory
The path to victory begins when you start asking yourself positive questions – questions that invite you to fearlessly take risks, learn, and grow.
2. Your Mood Is Better
Positive questions are hopeful questions that lead to new discoveries. Those new insights invite you to take action! And when you feel like you have positive options it’s a giant boost to your mood. Enjoy!
3. You Are More Fun To Be Around
Let’s face it. Negative people are not a whole lot of fun to be around! On the flip side, we naturally gravitate towards positive people – they bring us joy! When your inner dialogue is more positive, the odds are good that your dialogue with those around you will be more uplifting too. Others will want to be with you.
4. You Experience Less Stress
Fretting about my breathing and whether or not I would be able to do this or that is stressful! The same is true when you are doubting your success or striving to be perfect! Questions that shift your attention to negative “what if’s” rarely leave you feeling a sense of calm and peace.
Sadly, stress zaps your energy, creativity, and it makes you grumpy! Stress also takes a toll on your health and well-being. You want to avoid that!
Are you asking yourself questions that are creating unnecessary pressure like I was by asking myself “Why can’t I get it right (perfect)?
Instead, ask questions that are more optimistic and that encourage you to learn and grow. Those kinds of questions are inspiring!
5. You Have More Opportunities
Positive curiosity leads to amazing discoveries – discoveries that have the potential to keep you moving forward.
On the flip side, critical questions are discouraging and likely to keep you stuck.
6. Better Communication
Good communication is 20% telling and 80% asking. Learning to ask better questions when you talk to yourself, helps you ask others better questions when communicating with others too. And you might be surprised at how that translates into much more meaningful conversations.
7. Improved Leadership Skills
If your own inner dialogue is inhibiting your progress, chances are the way you interact with those you lead or those around you isn’t working either. Practice being curious and challenging your assumptions in your conversations with yourself and with others! Not only will it lead to more innovative solutions, but it will also enable you to work more collaboratively with others.
It takes time and effort to notice the questions you are asking yourself and switch them to GREAT questions. It’s a process, but the better your questions, the better your results in your work, your relationships, and so much more!
What GREAT questions are you asking yourself?