There is nothing like a well-formulated question to get us moving in the direction of creative solutions. Nothing.
Think about some of the first questions that pop into your mind when you are faced with a problem or a challenge. Does it go something like this?
Why is this happening?
Why is this happening to me again?
Why did he/she do that?
What am I doing wrong?
How can I make him/her see it my way?
This line of questioning, while it is understandable in the thick of a crappy situation, doesn’t leave much room for real answers – the kind that actually matter. Think about it. If you got these questions answered, would it really move you towards a place of peace? Would it give you the kind of information you need to move forward from a place of personal power? Would the answers really satisfy you? Or would they simply justify you?
Now try these ones on for size:
What can I learn from this situation that seems to be repeating?
How can I better understand where he/she is coming from?
What do I need to know so that I can take all of our needs into consideration?
How can I restore a sense of peace?
How can I forgive this perceived transgression?
What is my next best step?
Can you see how the second set of questions opens you up to a great more possibilities as far as outcomes are concerned? Do you feel the power in these questions? Are you able to sense the freedom that awaits when the answers arrive?
The Journey of a Question
You see when we ask questions, we send our brains – and I would argue – our hearts on an expedition for answers. Problem solving is not just an intellectual process. The solutions we come to will always be right for us in this moment if we feel the solution as well as understand it.
Check in with intuitive guidance. What would be most helpful to you right now in the midst of the crisis? Is it peace? Forgiveness. Love. Gratitude. Humility. Compassion. Include that in your powerful guiding question.
Use your questions as a tool to guide you to answers that can make a real difference in your life.
This process isn’t only reserved for those times when you have a problem to solve or a crisis to survive. You can incorporate this style of questioning as you dream and plan for the future, as you engage in visioning sessions with your team at work, as you interact with individuals who are seeking assistance from you. Use your imagination.
Guidance for Questioning
Here are some quick tips to refine your approach to questioning:
- Start your questions with what and how as much as possible. Why questions tend to be less effective and usually have us focused on the past in attempts to undo what has already been done. It can lead us to self-punishment or blaming others. It doesn’t really soothe us in the moment or illuminate next steps. When questions are similar in that they get us focused in the future, longing for some unknown day when the light will shine down and everything will be okay. Questions that focus you in the present moment are most powerful.
- Once you have asked the question, do your best to let go. Open your mind, your heart and your eyes for signs and guidance along the way that may offer clues to your answer. Just don’t keep it under the microscope. The more emotionally attached you are to THE answer, the more difficult this may feel. Ask another question How can I detach from this problem right now?
- Ask questions that focus on your personal guidance as opposed to something you feel or think that someone else needs to do, change or know. You can certainly ask powerful guiding questions of others as a means to help them as they explore their own personal answers.
- You can also ask questions in the form of a statement. Show me what I need to know. Help me understand how I can help you right now. These are equally as powerful in accessing guidance.
- Listen to your heart. This is very important. Our minds like to argue with things – especially if the answer you are receiving is going to demand courage and stepping outside of your comfort zone. Your ego wants to keep you safe so it will say anything it can to keep you from going out on a limb. Your heart always knows. And when you don’t know…wait.
- Remember – any question that could be answered honestly with who cares? Is probably not worth asking in the first place!
The most important thing to remember is that act of asking is a powerful force. Taking a moment or two to be clear about what it is that you really want to know can help you to laser focus your energy in the direction you wish to move – getting the best answers that are available to you right now!
Let’s get started!
What is one powerful guiding question you could ponder to help you discover new information at this particular time in your life?