If you foul up at work, do you ask, “Why do I always do that?” Or do you ask, “How can I work on correcting that?”
If you can’t seem to get the kids to listen and stop acting like maniacs, do you ask, “Why am I failing at this parental thing?” Or do you ask, “Where are some resources–people or literature or something–that can give me some suggestions?”
Do you see the difference? If you ask yourself one of those questions, what answers does your brain provide? Compare the two options.
I’d never thought about the power of questions before.
I’ve been guilty: “Brett, you idiot, why do you make the same mistake over and over again?”
When I ask a question like this, my brain will oblige with an answer: “Well, Brett, you make the same mistake because you’re probably an idiot.” Or, “Brett, you obviously make that mistake because you have two loose screws and got dropped on your head as a kid.”
And if I made that same mistake (again and again) and asked myself: “Brett, how can you approach this problem differently? Who do you know that seems to have success here?”
Again, my brain will go to work on the question and work on some answers. This time, though, the answers will be productive. They will solve problems. They will build up and not tear down.
In full disclosure, I’d never thought of this until reading Anthony Robbins’ book Awaken the Giant Within. I picked it up at The Hope Store for $.50. It takes a lot for me to admit to reading Robbins, but that tall dude has some good ideas.
Let’s do a little exercise…
1. When did something not go right over the last couple days?
2. Which area of life was it? (work, home, relationships, finances)
3. Is this a common trip-up?
4. What is your inner dialogue when it happens? Are there questions?
5. What are they?
6. Now, write down some questions that are encouraging and geared to problem solving.
7. Start asking yourself those questions.
How does asking those new questions feel? Where does your brain and your heart go vs. where it normally goes? More productive? More affirming?
Try some good questions on other things that aren’t a problem:
- What are some ways I can create some great memories for my family this summer?
- What are some things that I can do for a client that are completely unexpected?
- How lucky am I to be with my wife?
Have fun with it!
What are you planning on doing this weekend? How can you make it a fun one? (I’m practicing some good questions)