“What’s wrong with me?” Joe exclaimed. Joe was in a tailspin, overwhelmed with his present circumstances. He had recently been laid off from his job leaving him with just enough money to make his monthly rent and bill payments. Joe’s stress was palpable. I listened empathetically and astutely with my “coaching cap” on.
I could hear that what Joe needed was some prodding questions to help him shift his perspective. By shifting his perspective, Joe could begin to see where he needed to take action in order to move forward and deal effectively with his emotions, creating an even better situation for himself.
If Joe continued to ask himself the question, “What is wrong with me?” he would likely find himself facing few proactive options, obscuring his view of his talents, and what next action step might be most advantageous for him to take.
How does Joe’s story relate to you and me? Think of a time when you have faced a challenge or ventured into unknown territory. Now, recall the questions you asked yourself that helped you to chart your direction. The questions you asked yourself, or, more importantly, the questions you didn’t ask yourself, have a monumental impact in shaping your life’s direction.
It’s simple. Ask better questions. Get better results. You will go further, faster by focusing on the right questions. Asking the right questions helps you to transform your challenging life situations, unveil new opportunities, and reveal possibilities you may have otherwise missed.
And what might those questions be, you may ask yourself? According to Dr. Adams, founder of the Inquiry Institute, we get the best results by using “Learner Questions,” which lead to discovery, understanding, connection, and accountability versus “Judger Questions,” which more often lead to overwhelm, narrow-mindedness, regret, and blame.
I consider “Learner Questions” to be life inspiring, which add energy to your life and “Judger Questions” to be life draining, which suck the life force energy right out of you.
For example, the difference between asking, “Why is this happening to me?” (a life draining question) to “What can I learn from this situation?” or “How is this situation useful for my personal growth?” (a life inspiring question) will make all the difference in how you feel about your circumstance and, therefore, how you respond to it.
Where life-draining questions evoke a feeling of victimhood and a loss of power, life-inspiring questions presuppose that you are in a place of power, creativity, and possibility.
Take a look at this list of life draining questions and life inspiring questions.
Life Draining Questions
Life Inspiring Questions
|What’s wrong?||What am I responsible for?|
|Who is to blame?||What works?|
|Why bother?||What do I want?|
|Why is that other person so clueless?||What can I learn from this person, place or situation?|
|How can this have happened to me?||What is possible?|
|Why me, I don’t deserve this?||How can this be my best opportunity ever?|
|How can I get back control?||How can I make this a win-win?|
|Where can I get revenge?||What assumptions am I making?|
How can you apply life inspiring questions to your personal process? Where are you feeling stuck or frustrated? Do you have a relationship that is getting you down? Are you burning out at your job? Notice if you are being a judger or a learner. Make the switch from asking life draining questions to asking life inspiring questions. It is a simple strategy. You can do it!
The goal is to integrate life inspiring questions into your daily life.
Switching from asking life draining questions and being in “judger” mode starts with observation. When you catch yourself judging, which is perfectly normal, pause, take a deep breath, and shift into your “learner” mindset by asking life inspiring questions. Pull from the list above, print it out, put it in your pocket, and place it on the fridge.
Joe discovered that asking himself “What do I want?” got him back on track and out of the dog-chasing-tail question loop of “What’s wrong with me?” Joe then asked, “How can this be my best opportunity ever?” Joe connected to his deeper passions, which were not being fulfilled at his old job, and then asked, “What are my next best action steps to achieve my new career goals?” Joe gave himself time to vent his frustration appropriately and found it helpful to write out his feelings, so he could move on with a clean slate.
“Way to go Joe!”
Got good questions? What are some of your favorite empowering questions? Write in and share them…