Why You Need to Ask Better Questions
“Never confuse movement with action.” Ernest Hemingway
When I received the email above, I thought about how someone like Heather could start something new when other people never do, even if they think they really want to.
In her email, Heather says, “I don’t know where to go from here.” and “I have a lot to figure out … ” She made a move before she had all the answers. She doesn’t have the answers, and she likely doesn’t have all the questions, but what she does have is:
She took action and developed confidence building momentum that will carry her through this time of uncertainty.
She is sleeping through the night for the first time in 8 years. She is putting her health first. She is identifying what is most important in her life.
Heather and I don’t know each other, but by connecting to the Be More with Less community and message, she felt supported and strong enough to do something different.
We’ve been told that stupid questions don’t exist and all questions are good and productive. I respectfully disagree. Maybe stupid questions don’t exist, but I know we often ask the wrong questions.
When you ask the wrong questions at a pivotal time in your life, the answer is usually a complete waste of time. It’s natural to be introspective and think things through, but some questions offer the possibility of an answer that inspires action and others only deliver answers that slow you down, make you question your confidence and generally lead to inaction, complacency and comfort food.
Ask the right questions
If you are thinking about a career change …
Wrong question: Why did I wait so long to make a change?
Better question: What can I do right now to move forward?
If you are thinking about starting a new relationship …
Wrong question: Why would someone like that want to spend time with someone like me?
Better question: Do you want to take a walk with me?
If you are thinking about growing a community through a blog …
Wrong question: Will my writing/art/blog/work be good enough?
Right question: How can I help people?
If you are thinking about putting yourself out there and asking for help …
Wrong question: Do they even check their email or have time to respond?
Right question: How can I keep this email short and compelling?
Sometimes it’s easier to ask the wrong question. In fact, asking the wrong question can be comfortable, because the answer is a reminder that you aren’t ready. The wrong question will give you a perfectly good reason not to take a chance.
If the answer is …
- that’s crazy
- you are crazy
- you can’t do it
- you don’t know what you are talking about
- it will never happen
- you aren’t good enough
… it’s the wrong question.
Instead ask the right questions. Ask questions that encourage you to take the next step, meet people who have taken the steps before and to move forward without all of the answers or all of the questions.
You don’t know what you don’t know until you start. Direct your questions to the right now and not to the past or future. Dwelling on what you did or didn’t do over the past 10 years or worrying about what might happen in 10 years is only resistance to change.
What can you do right now to change, start, grow, learn and embrace possibility, opportunity and uncertainty?
I know first hand how powerful action is in the face of uncertainty is, but if you don’t believe me, ask Betsy & Warren or Britt or Chris or Scott. People are changing every day. Is today your day?
Do it. It’s awesome.
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