Posted on Jan 15, 2020
Quite a long time ago when I was going through a really rough period of my life, a mentor I had the privilege to spend time with said to me “What are you thinking that thinking can’t change?” And said another way..
“ What if I thought differently?”
That night, I realized that perhaps I was stuck asking the same ol’ habitual questions keeping me in not only a dark place but in a place of disempowerment. Suggesting I think differently naturally caused me to start pondering and considering other things. It was then that I discovered the power in the questions we ask ourselves. Asking “What the hell am I gonna do now!?” only fuels more uncertainty and fear. Asking the right questions spurs our minds to start problem solving, come up with ideas, consider things we wouldn’t have considered with old thinking….it’s all there inside of us like gold waiting to be found.
I have a question that I keep on my desk; “what next RIGHT move can I make?” What I love about this question is that it isn’t a big task. It’s just one next right thing and then the next right thing etc., and helps me from getting side-tracked or overwhelmed. We can all handle just ONE next right thing. It’s a brilliant question….
Oprah says don’t ask “why is this happening?” but rather “what is it that this thing is trying to teach me?” That is a powerful reframe. Not ‘why’ but ‘what’. Asking why is this happening can be a slippery slope to pity parties. But asking what is more like being Sherlock with a curious attitude in trying to solve your own mystery. Asking what allows you to rise above the emotional charge, also helps to uncover your why by asking the what. And as Oprah says “you get the lesson you need”.
And then and only then can you move forward or plan to repeat history.
Whenever I find myself with a particular challenge or problem, I try to pay close attention to the chatter in my head and if it's productive or not. I often know when it's time to intervene and feed my mind with some great and intentional questions.It's a funny thing, but it's amazing what your own head can come up with when you ask the right questions. So, ov er the years, I’ve kept a journal of great questions worth sharing. It doesn’t matter what we experience or encounter in life, asking the right questions puts us on the path to greater and more effective outcomes...and minimizes the agony. Cut to the chase and find your power by asking the right questions. Here's a list of mine - feel free to add your own.
• If this was my best friend instead of me what would I say to him/her?
• What’s the concern/worry/doubt?
• What am I procrastinating about and what’s the fear?
• What am I currently tolerating / putting up with?
• When was the last time I felt a real sense of accomplishment? What did I do?
• Who do I truly admire? What is it about them that inspire me? What do they do?
• Where do I see myself in 30 days? What small step can I take today?
• What is ONE thing I can do for myself that solves many other problems?
• What am I grateful for?
• Who am I listening to? Is it helping me?
• What would happen if I challenged my thoughts?
• Is my story a crutch or a motivator? What can I do to make it a great story?
• Am I tapping into my higher wisdom?
• What if I forgave myself? What if I forgave others? What would that do for me?
• What/who drains me? How can I move away from that in a kind way?
• What can I do to build my own support system?
• What one little thing can I do to today to bring joy to my life?
• What one thing can I do today to bring a little happiness to someone else’s life?
• Am I part of the problem with negative energy or am I part of the solution?
• Am I hurting anyone by the decisions I’m making? Am I hurting myself?
• What do I really love about myself? How can I nurture that?
• What if every day I just prayed for more courage?
• What would happen if I let go?
• Who /what triggers me? What do I need to do to overcome feeling triggered.
• Who do I chase for attention or approval?
• What would happen if cared less of what other’s think of me?
• What would happen if I minded my own business?
• What beliefs are holding me back?
• What if I just tried asking?
• What if I thanked people more?
• What’s my motive in the action I want to take?
• What lessons am I learning? How can this help me in the future?
• Am I making decisions based on love or fear?
• Am I careful with my words towards others? How can I communicate better?
• Am I hard on myself? What can I do to take better care of myself?
• Am I just fooling myself or being completely honest?
And of course, my all-time most favourite question of all pretty much sums up all the rest is:
• “What would LOVE have me do?”