Friday Review: Questions

Friday Review: Questions

How often do you question the things you hear or read? Here are a few related posts you may have missed.

“What was the key takeaway from the specific situation?”

 

 

 

 

Alter your thinking about thinking. Sometimes sitting with a question can expand your mind without always needing to find an answer.

 

 

 

“If you have a pulse, you have a purpose.”

 

 

 

 

Alter your thinking about thinking

Alter your thinking about thinking. Sometimes sitting with a question can expand your mind without always needing to find an answer.

—Calm App Reflection

Image from Unsplash by Eugene Lagunov

A powerful question can act like a mind-altering substance. It can be a catalyst to help fire previously underused neurons and emit floods of neurotransmitters to help us think new thoughts.

Modifying our thinking on our own can be difficult. We are constantly bathing our minds with many of the same messages, 24/7. Consider relating this idea to Newton’s Law of Inertia which states:

“Every object will remain at rest or in uniform motion in a straight line unless compelled to change its state by the action of an external force.”

EXERCISE:

What are some ways you can alter your current thinking?

What are some internal and external forces that can support you to change your life for the better?

What questions can you sit with that may help you in this effort?

Embrace life’s questions and live your way into the answers

Embrace life’s questions and live your way into the answers. Don’t rush. Learn to take pleasure in the process of discovery.

—Calm App Reflection

Image from Unsplash by Towfiqu Barbhuiya

Of all the coaching tools I’ve come to value most over the years, one is the good old open-ended question.

I love that the trigger words of Who, What, Where, When, Why, and How allow us to dig deeper into answers that can differ widely for each person.

When we combine questions like these in sequence with sincere interest and honorable listening, we often discover many of life’s most important answers.

EXERCISE:

Consider picking up a copy of The Coaching Habit by Michael Bungay Stainer or A More Beautiful Question by Warren Berger to help you and others live into the answers of your life.

In all affairs, it’s a healthy thing now and then to hang a question mark

“In all affairs, it’s a healthy thing now and then to hang a question mark on the things you have taken for granted.”

Bertrand Russell, 20th Century British Philosopher

Image from Unsplash by Jon Tyson

Did you do a year-in-review assessment for 2022?

If you did, where did you notice things not progressing as you had wished? You may have even noticed some areas regressing.

If this is the case, it may be because we keep doing and thinking the same things over and over since they worked reasonably well in the past.

So many things around us have changed in the past year. When we remain fundamentally the same, it’s not surprising that a good number of our efforts miss the mark.

Questioning our thinking and adapting our behaviors accordingly seems like a wiser strategy for the year ahead.

EXERCISE:

In what areas of life would a few more question marks help you break some of your personal patterns so that new worlds may emerge?

“If you have a pulse, you have a purpose.”

“If you have a pulse, you have a purpose.”

—Richard Leider, Faculty member of the Modern Elder Academy

Image from Unsplash by Mockup Graphics

Ask yourself the following questions:

  • Am I doing what I love to do?
  • Is what I do helpful to others?
  • Does it energize me or drain me?

Consider modifying these closed questions to open ended questions such as….

  • How often do I get to do what I love?
  • How are my efforts helpful to others?
  • How energized and alive do I feel when engaged in these activities?

EXERCISE:

What are some ways you can and will increase your heart rate to live an even more inspired and purposeful life?

The marvelous thing about a good question is that it shapes our identity as much by the asking as it does by answering

“The marvelous thing about a good question is that it shapes our identity as much by the asking as it does by answering.”

—David Whyte, Anglo-Irish poet

Image from Unsplash by Hadija Saidi

What are some of the questions you have been asking yourself and others over the past couple of years?

As a lifelong learner, I marvel at the power and insights offered by provocative open-ended questions.  These tools dig below the surface of our day-to-day experiences to uncover new depths of understanding of one another and the world.

In the coaching profession we often say “let your questions do the heavy lifting.”  The surprising thing for me, based on Whyte’s quote, is that both parties can be shaped through these exchanges.

EXERCISE:

What are some of your favorite “stop you in your tracks” questions?

How have these questions shaped your identity and opened up pathways for you?

Two books I’ve found very useful on this subject are A More Beautiful Question by Warren Berger and The Coaching Habit by Michael Bungay Stainer.

“Has the most important thing changed? Am I chasing an outdated target?

“Has the most important thing changed? Am I chasing an outdated target?”

—James Clear, author, entrepreneur, and photographer

Image from Unsplash by Ross Findon

Today’s quote contains two closed-ended questions. Did you answer yes or no to either or both?

Let’s change them a bit to make them open-ended….

What important things in your life have changed in the past year?
Where are you chasing a goal or target that is no longer relevant or essential?

EXERCISE:

Explore both the open and closed-ended approaches with a friend, family member, mentor, or coach.

Please let me know what new insights and actions result from this inquiry.

“What was the key takeaway from the specific situation?”

“What was the key takeaway from the specific situation?”

—U.S. Dept. of Veteran Affairs: 100 Sample Interview Questions

Image from Unsplash by Gigi

Of all the tools in a coach’s toolbox, none gets used more often than powerful questions. Open-ended question — those that begin with who, what, where, when, why, and how — are very handy in establishing and deepening relationships for the rest of us as well.

Today’s quote is commonly used by seasoned interviewers when evaluating candidates for various job opportunities. This question seeks to determine the applicant’s openness and receptivity to various inputs and types of feedback from significant experiences and events in their past.

EXERCISE:

How can and will you use today’s question to squeeze more teachable moments out of your communities? Please be sure to ask and answer the question yourself, to act as your own coach.

 

“Be grateful for people’s complaints. Turn a complaint into a question.”

“Be grateful for people’s complaints. Turn a complaint into a question.”

—Author Unknown

Image from Unslpash by Analia Baggiano

We all complain from time to time. I’m sure you see a bunch of whining and complaining within your various communities. How often do you think or even say some expletive aloud, to silence all the negativity?

Effective coaches and communicators know the value of questions, especially open-ended questions that can have the power of an “off” switch of negativity and an “on” switch of possibility.

Consider the following questions, and perhaps make up a few of your own:

  • How would you like things to be?
  • What could you do to improve the situation?
  • What ideas do you have to resolve this issue?
  • Where could you look for solutions to this challenge?
  • What alternative approaches can be taken to improve things?

EXERCISE:

How can you find more silver linings and gratitude in the complaints you currently experience?

How can the right question at the right moment be used to move your world forward today?