It’s been said that “The quality of your life depends on the quality of your questions.”
If you’re ever feeling stuck or limited by something, learning how to ask better questions can free you back up and get you moving forward again.
Asking questions is not about the answers, it’s about the awareness you can receive. In this reality, asking questions is not something that is valued as much as finding the answers, but answers shut down all possibilities, your creative flow and actually your ability to get anything you want!
If you ask questions, it changes the energy and it allows everything and everyone around you to contribute to you and to give you more information about what is required.
Limitations are usually born out of a function of what we’ve decided, judged, concluded, or tried to figure out (aka answer) about something when in fact it requires a question to open you up to greater possibilities that your mind doesn’t already have or know.
The mind only knows what it knows. In fact, it’s very limiting in that way which is why you want to transcend what you already know or have decided about something and get into question of what else is possible. The more the question cannot be answered with your mind, the greater the contribution it will be to your life and business. That’s where true creativity and innovation stem from - a place and space of something greater than what was before, which is usually not yet known or thought of before! It’s when we start to ask questions that we tap into these greater possibilities.
Being a certified coach I learned to ask very different questions and I saw first hand how powerful they could be when used appropriately. Questions can be super empowering and they can also, contrary to popular belief, be quite limiting, so here’s a mini-lesson on the kinds of questions and knowing when to use each kind:
Open-Ended Questions: These are questions that typically start with ‘What’ and ‘How’ and are great for exploring the meaning that you’ve ascribed to something.
“What is this?”
“What does being in business mean to you?”
“What if it wasn’t that way…?”
“What would it take to create this?”
“What would I choose if money wasn’t an issue?”
“How else can I approach this, that I haven’t yet considered?”
“How do I see myself in business?”
“How would this be for me?”
Notice that with each of the questions, there is an exploration of your thoughts, feelings, emotions, and points of view about the topic. The questions aren’t something that someone else could answer for you without hypothesizing or plain guessing because they bring up the energy that you have around the issue. And when you become more aware of how you’ve defined or see things, you can see if it’s limiting or serving you and change it accordingly.
Sometimes there’s a need to confirm something and/or get to the root issue. A different type of question is helpful for this.
Closed-Ended Questions: Closed-ended questions arm you with the ability to confirm something.
“Am I willing to this?”
“Do I know what I
“Is this serving me?”
“Did I buy this point of view somewhere or from someone?”
“Do I really desire this?”
“Body, would you like to eat this?”
Notice that these questions ask for a yes, no, or maybe.
Closed-ended questions can also be helpful after you have asked an open-ended question.
For example, you could ask a series of questions like:
“What is this? Can I change it?”
If you got a no - LISTEN to that awareness! If you cannot change that particular issue you asked about, you can still ask another question like, “What would it take to have greater ease with this?”. This re-directs your energy toward possibility. If you got a yes, you can ask an open-ended question to take you back into possibility around that too - “What would it take to change it?”.
The reason you would want to first ask a closed-ended question, is that there is a danger of asking the next type of question, which are actually quite limiting - Rhetorical Questions!
Rhetorical Questions: These questions can be quite limiting in that they pre-suppose something that may not be true. They’re basically assumptions or conclusions with question marks attached. In the example above, if you had just asked “What can I change about this?” without first asking “Can I change it?” you wouldn’t be able to access or receive very accurate information. You would be tapping into your conclusion about being able to change it and then coming up with a plan for something that actually requires a totally different approach.
Some examples are:
“Why isn’t this working?”
“What’s wrong with me?”
“What am I doing wrong?”
“What did I contribute to this?”
“How did I let this happen?”
It might be helpful to ask some confirming questions first like, “Did I contribute to creating this?” and if you get an energetic ‘yes’ then you can ask what it was. Just don’t assume things and slap a question mark at the end thinking that you’re doing yourself a favor. Rather, be conscious of the kinds of questions you ask and when and you’ll start to see how easily things can change.
What are some of your favorite questions?