Everyone has heard the phrase, “if you want better answers, start with better questions.” Too often we dismiss it as a cliche, but one of the most important services I provide for my business partners is to help them ask better, more powerful, more solution-focused questions.
What are your most important projects? What one thing, more than all the others, will make a real and lasting difference? What should you focus on today? What can you do right NOW to move forward?
Most of the time, most of us ask really dumb questions. I don’t mean to be insulting, and I certainly include myself as frequently falling into the trap of asking really dumb questions. This week, for example, I caught myself asking, “Do I have to?” and the really mature, “Why me!?” I don’t do that very often, and I’m always embarrassed when I catch myself, but it happens. The key to success is to catch yourself and replace dumb questions with better ones!
To a huge degree, the quality of our results equals the quality of our questions, and there is no escape. If you want to achieve more, have more, or be and do more, the quickest and surest route to success is asking better questions!
Practice asking yourself empowering questions. Write them on cards or put a list on your computer, but insist that everyday you will ask the BEST questions you can! Here are some of the questions I have on a list above my desk:
What am I grateful for in this situation?
What can I learn from this?
WHo could help or advise me? Who has the answers I need?
How can I profit from this? What can I learn?
What will move me forward today?
What’s the most important thing I can do today?
And then, of course there is the pesky truth that once you have asked good questions, you must be honest about the answers and take action! Once they have asked and answered powerful questions, high achievers immediately assemble the tools, time and energy to create the results they desire!
They take action and leave nothing to chance. If there are projects they wish to accomplish, they organize around those outcomes. If necessary, they cancel appointments or skip meetings, they move money into the right accounts, and adjust their schedules so their most important projects get their best efforts of the day.
Unfortunately, I notice is that many people do exactly the reverse.
The errands, tasks, and “stuff” of the day get their best energy. Money goes to bills and “necessities.” Time goes to work and friends and daily have-to’s, and only what’s left over is available for their goals. No wonder they spend their lives caught in the thick of things!
How about you? Too many of us are pursuing our most important goals with the “left-overs” of life!
This week, I suggest three key steps:
1. Thoughtfully review your most important goals and the most important projects on your dream list. What’s on your list of most important things?
2. Ask yourself empowering questions about what’s possible. What will move you forward? Who will help you? Where can you start? What’s the next step?
3. Allocate resources so your most important projects get your best efforts. Do the most important things first! Do them when you are awake, focused and eager. Arrange your budget so there is enough money, time, space and energy to achieve your goals. First things deserve your very best!