The twist in this blog is that instead of asking these questions of someone else, I’m going to show you how you can ask better questions of yourself. The power of a great question to reframe a situation never ceases to amaze me. It’s incredibly powerful and yet very simple as well.
Many people stumble blindly on day by day without stopping to ask what they really want. Similarly when they are hit with something they don’t want, like a job loss or a relationship breakdown, they tend to ask “Why does this always happen to me?” Instead they could start to look at more focussed positive questions such as “What does this allow me to do now?”; “What can I learn from this situation?”
I remember trying this approach with a friend who runs a training business. He’d worked hard to build a very successful business and was just beginning to reap the rewards. He rang me to say that the Government had just created a scheme whereby the equivalent course qualification to his would be offered free of charge. There was sense of panic as he could see his business disappearing very quickly and he was already losing customers. When I started with “What’s the opportunity this provides then?” His response was swift and not publishable!
I pushed on and got him to list some better questions to write down and start to answer. After all I reminded him, if he’s going to lose the business anyway, what has he got to lose? We figured out some questions and he went away and worked on them. He rang me back a couple of days of later, a lot quieter and calmer than before. He identified ways that he could start to approach this seemingly insurmountable issue and strengthen his business. Ultimately, the industry persuaded Government not to follow through with its plans in the proposed format.
The work he did on business though, meant that he emerged much stronger and with a much clearer vision about his business. He repositioned his offer as one of the top end offers in the marketplace; increasing his prices in line with the real value of the experience. The funny thing is this price rise attracted more of the right customers. His business is continuing to evolve by asking better questions.
Interestingly as well, he asks attendees on his courses better questions about what they intend to do post training. This seems to make a clear impact on their ideas and the enthusiasm they bring to the course as they are much clearer about what they want out of the course.
Internationally renowned success coach, Tony Robbins says that in his experience “successful people ask better questions, and as a result, they get better answers.” This is not a one-off exercise though and he adds that “the genuine quality of life comes from consistent, quality questions.”
As with all things though, simply thinking about this changes very little. I’d like you to start by writing out (pen and paper works best) the following questions and add some answers.
1. How do I really want to live? ……………………….
2. What gets me most excited? ……………………….
3. What’s my current philosophy? ……………………….
4. What actions could I take today, next week and the week after to start making a change? ……………………….
5. What do I really value and want? (money, love, recognition, health, etc.) ……………………….
So few people devote the necessary time to this form of exercise despite the tremendously positive results it produces. This simple, yet extremely powerful exercise will help to start you on the road to your success. As you progress, start to think of different questions that you can ask and how they change the way you look, feel or engage with a situation.
Andrew Ramwell is a business coach and managing director at Know+Do Limited. He works across the private, public and charity sectors helping people and organisations to improve performance. You can connect with Andrew @ KnowAndDo.com or on LinkedIn or on his blog: BusinessOfSuccess.co.uk/