Why seek answers when you can ask questions?

As humans, we can’t help but seek clarity on things that matter to us or pique our curiosity. We’re constantly looking for answers to help us get from where we are to where we want to be. Could that be the cycle of life? I’m really not sure. But that’s what we often default to when in doubt.

Years ago I learned that the key to having great answers is to ask good questions. And while it may sound counterintuitive, I’m believe that as thinking beings we have to constantly strive at asking better questions instead of seeking answers. For example, the questions below may sound just the same but will elicit different responses:

  1. Why do you have to get up so early?
  2. What makes you want to get up so early?

Try it out with your spouse, the significant other, or your closest friend and observe the differences. Chances are, the first question would make them come up with reasons, explanations, and even justifications! The second question, however, would go a level deeper, giving you insights on what really drives them.

Isn’t that valuable information? Wouldn’t that help you know them a little better? Now, imagine what could happen if someone were to ask you such questions? I can bet you will have more clarity on your motives and desires than a weak question such as, “hey, how do I start getting up early?”

From my coaching practice, I’ve observed that most clients towards the end of our engagement have mastered the art of asking themselves key questions that would shape their thoughts and actions. These could be simple, complex, or somewhere between. I’ve jotted down a few that have been the most helpful to me, my clients, and you, if you’re bold enough to ask them every single day.

And if you’re not into the habit of journaling yet, asking these questions can be a solid start to your practice. So, here we go:

  • What does my ideal day look like?
  • Am I doing my job? And doing it well?
  • What is that one thing I would like to achieve today?
  • What’s the worst that could happen?
  • What is in my control?
  • Does this actually matter?
  • Whom do I want to spend time with?
  • Is this who I want to be?

That’s it! I could elaborate on each of these questions (perhaps some other day, some other post) but I’m pretty sure they’re self-explanatory. Here’s what I can guarantee if you sit down and think deeply on these questions, you will experience a sense of clarity and positivity you haven’t had in years. Why? Because you’re not seeking answers from the experts but yourself. And as coaches, we believe that humans are immensely resourceful, if they allow themselves to be.

Seeking answers might make you smarter, asking questions will leave you wiser.

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