Success starts with a good question

 What’s the best question I can ask myself right now?

That simple question can make all the difference in the success of your business. You are asking questions all the time. It’s part of the Orientation Response we have hard-wired into our neurology. You are constantly seeking to understand your environment so you can fulfill all your human needs (certainty, friendship, independence, interest, growth and contribution).

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For example, we need to know where to be, physically, at any given moment to ensure safety or take advantage of an opportunity. So, as I’m driving through the city on my way to a business meeting, I may ask myself, what lane should I be in? When should I turn, slow down, stop…? I want to arrive at my destination safely and efficiently. The questions I ask myself guide me to my destination in the shortest amount of time and distance. If I find a nice parking spot – Bonus! And even that discovery is the result of a series of questions I asked on my way to the meeting.

Key point: Craft well formed questions.

If I ask myself: What do I appreciate in life right now? My mind immediately starts to answer this question in the same way as it would if I asked: Where should I park my car? As I answer the question, I search for memories, evidence and criteria to support my answer. Eventually, I acknowledge a variety of things that I appreciate such as, health, friends, family, home etc.

But here’s the most important thing: In order to answer the “appreciation” question, I must relate to these memories with a feeling of appreciation. A good question presupposes the feelings I desire.

So if I want to feel happy, I should ask myself: What could I be happy about right now? I’ll answer the question and in so doing, I’ll need to feel happiness just to relate to my own answers.

Conversely, if I ask my self: Why does my life suck? I will answer that question and I will confirm evidence that I suck. And here’s the kicker: Even if I don’t suck, my mind will search for an answer to the question. I’ll even invent an answer just to resolve the open question. You see, the mind prefers to have closure.

So the quality of the questions you ask will determine the quality of life you live.

In business and in life, ask powerful questions that are tied to your goals. How can I achieve this goal faster? How can I enjoy this task more? When would now be a good time to start? Where will I find my next client? You can have lots of fun redesigning your questions so they are clearly related to your most important goals.

Here are some tips about asking well-formed questions:

Use the words, HOW, WHEN, WHERE, WHAT in the question. Avoid using the word “Why”. Why? Because the question Why leads to another question and does not provide closure. Why? Because there are always other things to question. Why? Because the universe is vast. Why? Because the Big Bang started the beginning of time and space. Why? Because, because, because…. You get the point.

A better question is “When?”. When does the bus leave? Answer: Now. There is no need to ask “When” again. When? Now! When? Now!!

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To let go of a limiting belief, or barrier, ask this better question: What can I learn, the learning of which will allow me to let go of this problem easily and effortlessly? What else can I learn which will allow me to let go and move forward?

These questions are meant to be contemplated both consciously and unconsciously. Over time, your own mind will find ways to let go of the barrier or problem and move on.

Some questions can replace your affirmations. Rather than repeat: “I like exercise”, over and over, replace the affirmation with:

“What do I enjoy about exercise?”

“How can exercise make me feel better?”

“How good will I feel after exercising?”.

Make your question an exercise Mantra. You can even sing them or rap to them. Then, they become a personal anthem.

Here are a few questions to start and end your day. The morning questions are meant to get you fired up in the morning and drive you through the day.  The evening questions are meant to bring closure to the day so you can rest well as you sleep.

Morning Power Questions: Prime the day with purpose (In the style of Tony Robbins)

  1. What am I happy about in my life right now? What about that makes me happy? How does that make me feel?
  2. What am I excited about in my life right now? What about that makes me excited? How does that make me feel?
  3. What have I achieved in my life right now? What about that makes me proud? How does that make me feel?
  4. What am I grateful for in my life right now? What about that makes me grateful? How does that make me feel?
  5. What am I enjoying most in my life right now? What about that do I enjoy? How does that make me feel?
  6. What am I committed to in my life right now? What about that makes me committed? How does that make me feel?
  7. Who do I love? Who loves me? What about them makes me loving? How does that make me feel?

Evening questions: Gain closure and resolution.

  1. How did I contribute today?
  2. In what ways have I been a giver today?
  3. What did I learn today?
  4. How has today added to the quality of my life?
  5. What am I grateful for in my life today? What do I appreciate?

Here’s a good question – I hope: How was this blog helpful? What did you learn? What questions do you tend to ask? What is your ULTIMATE question? Please send me your feedback. I’d really interested in your thoughts on this topic.

Also, just a reminder, we are hosting another Wednesday Winter Tune Up on February 5 at 6:45pm. This weeks topic is “Workplace Balance”. Please join us every Wednesday and meet some interesting people, share some cool ideas and learn ways to improve your business.

Hope to see you soon!