Regardless of race, gender, age, nationality or financial status, there’s one assessment that’s available to anyone and everyone — the power of questions.
If you went, “huh?” Remember, that’s a question as well. Questions are way more powerful than people think and way undervalued in communication, analysis, or even leadership. I’ve personally found questions the most invaluable resource for personal development.
As a coach, questions are one of the primary means of invoking clarity, thought, and inspiration. You would be surprised how a simple but well-thought-out and well-timed question can jolt people out of their inertia. Sadly, most people wait for others to ask them questions when they can do it themselves.
Heck, I’ve had super-inquisitive clients who would bombard me with questions at the outset of an engagement but would fumble or even outright refuse to answer questions that are geared towards an exploration or reflection. I often ask such clients to journal their thoughts, which is always a disaster.
Because their go-to approach is more towards a “dear diary” or “the things that I need to do or have achieved” format, I’ve found these to be useless format as the whole idea of journaling is to reflect, which is impossible when you’re busy regurgitating your thoughts.
As you can tell, that beats the purpose. The most effective approach to journal and reflect is to leverage the power of questions. Ask yourself 3-5 daily questions that will force you not just to think, but think beyond your current state. Interestingly, the most potent questions are often the simplest ones.
Over the past few years, I’ve found the following five questions the most useful:
- What do I feel truly grateful for this morning?
- What do I need to do to be better than yesterday?
- How will I tackle the obstacles in the way?
- How did I do today?
- What can I do to make tomorrow even better?
- What have I been thinking about but haven’t been able to try?
- What stops me from trying?
- And what will happen if I give it a try anyway?
I use the bonus questions when I’m stuck or cannot think or feel that “nothing seems to be working.” They help me break out of a rut and get going with the next steps.
And I hope you can appreciate how powerful these simple questions are; merely reading them isn’t enough; you have to answer them in writing because the exercise will make you not just think but charge you up to face the day, wind, storm, or worse.
Of course, it’s hard work. You’ve got to commit your time and brainpower to it. Probably that’s the reason why nobody talks about it as much as the convenient apps, services, and lifehacks. But I’ve seen far more people live an inconvenient life using convenience than the other way around.
Food for thought, perhaps?