The questions we ask ourselves on a daily basis direct the course of our life. Ask one great question and, upon answering it, you can change your life for the better forever!
We ask ourselves questions all the time, often without even consciously recognising that we are doing so because we’re asking and answering on a subconscious level. You know how you drive from one point in the road to the next and about a minute later realise you don’t remember the journey – just arriving there? We do that all the time in our day to day life. In that same way, we talk silently to ourselves, often without realising we’re doing it until we catch ourselves out.
So going back to what I said; the questions you ask yourself will direct the course of your life for better or for worse. They will also direct your feelings so that you feel better or worse. How you feel determines what you do and thus the results you get, so again your questions – directly or indirectly – affect the course of your life.
Now, let’s look at some different types of questions we can ask ourselves:
- We can ask empowering questions or disempowering questions.
- We can ask open-ended questions or closed questions.
- We can ask self-focused questions or other-focused questions.
- We can ask solution-focused questions or problem-focused questions.
The better questions are the empowering, open-ended, self-focused and solution-focused questions.
Let’s assume for a moment that you are a married woman having relationship problems with your husband, and have been for six years. You want to fix the marital problems you are having, and at the same time you are feeling fed up, sad and bewildered. Now, in this state it is very easy to ask questions that do nothing more than make you stay stuck where you are.
A disempowering question might be: “why is it that, whatever I say, he always misunderstands me and we always end up arguing?”
An empowering question might be: “how can I communicate differently so that my husband understands what I’m trying to say, and we have a relaxed discussion about it?”
The former question makes it easy for you to feel hopeless and despondent. The latter makes you feel in control, empowered, and opens you to being reflective and solution focused.
Notice also that the empowering question is solution-focused whilst the disempowering question is problem-focused.
The questions are also open-ended allowing the possibility for reflection. Reflection is crucial when it comes to fixing your situation, whatever the situation may be.
You’ll also notice that the disempowering question is “other”-focused as it places the spotlight on the husband’s involvement in the unsatisfactory situation. The empowering question is self-focused, because it shifts the spotlight to you and what you can do differently and better in order to get a different and better result than you currently are getting.
The first place you can and should make any changes in a relationship is within you. You can improve or fix your relationship by changing the variable that is you. Change what you do, think, feel and say and you will automatically set into motion a sequence of events that will change your relationship and life. This is why some clients go for coaching on their own even though the relationship concerns they are having involve a partner or someone else.
So, ask good questions – empowering questions. You’ll know whether the question is an empowering one or not by the way you feel inside. Pay attention to your physiological signs, the bodily sensations you get within your body that you recognise as feelings of tension or relaxation. Empowering questions literally feel good whilst disempowering questions feel bad.
If a question doesn’t feel good, ask the same question in a different way until you come up with a question that feels good, feels empowering, is solution-focused, and puts the emphasis on you and the actions you can take.
Sometimes it may take a few days to get to the right question. That’s fine! Just practise asking yourself good questions and you’ll naturally hone your skill over time.
Remember, one great question can change your life for the better, forever!