Change Your Questions Change Your Results.

We know that if you change your thoughts/beliefs you change your behaviours; change your behaviours you change your results; change your results and you change your life.

We all have times when we would like to change our life. We know that we can’t always choose what happens to us but we can choose how we react to what happens. Most of our reactions are caused through habit. We don’t think. We simply react.

Consider the following scenario. You have an appointment that’s important to you. You leave your office or home early enough to make it in plenty of time and you are faced with the biggest traffic jam ever. You can’t get out of the traffic. Nowhere to turn. You know you are going to be late. What do you do? Do you sit in the traffic and fume. Do you blame an unknown person for running out of petrol or running into another vehicle? Do you curse the thoughtlessness of an unknown other driver who is blocking the traffic flow? Do you totally immobilize yourself in the moment or do you use the time productively.

Firstly as any self respecting person will do you call ahead and explain you are going to be late. Remember we respect ourselves by respecting others. The other person’s time is important and perhaps by calling ahead, you have allowed him or her just sufficient time to finish a project or even grab that needed cup of coffee.

Then what do you do? You can use the time now available to catch up on phone calls (remember the traffic is at a standstill), you can make notes to yourself on an upcoming project, or you can look at a problem that has been nagging at you.
This is unexpected time and you can use it productively. It can be seen as a bonus.

Problems arise in all of our lives at some time. But I believe and I tell my clients that a problem is an opportunity for change. When you think of the problem think of the questions you have been asking yourself about it. Perhaps a work colleague has been giving you trouble. You ask yourself “what makes him think he can treat me this way?”; “why should we always do things her way?”; “what’s in it for me if I agree or don’t agree?” And that final question, what’s in it for me is at the bottom of most of the problems we encounter with others.

Every human being in every situation asks the question ‘what’s in it for me?’ But suppose we asked ourselves the following questions.

1. What assumptions am I making?
2. How else could I think about this problem?
3. What is the other person needing, feeling, thinking in this situation?

When we change our questions we can change the outcome. Remember that communication is about 20% telling and 80% asking.

Do you see how changing our questions can change the outcome and the results?

Dr Marilee Adams is the founder and president of the Inquiry Institute and the originator of Question Thinking™. She teaches the Top Twelve Questions for Success™.

1. What do I want?
2. What are my choices?
3. What assumptions am I making?
4. What am I responsible for?
5. How else can I think about this?
6. What is the other person thinking, feeling, needing and wanting?
7. What am I missing or avoiding?
8. What can I learn
…….from this person or situation?
…….from this mistake or failure?
…….from this success?
9. What questions should I ask (myself and others)?
10. What action steps make the most sense?
11. How can I turn this into a win-win?
12. What is possible?
So the next time you are mad at somebody or something, change the questions you ask yourself. Over time as you master this, your life will become easier. It will take time and a conscious effort, but it will be worth it. Trust me.

12 Questions Reprinted with permission of the publisher. From Change Your Questions Change Your Life, copyright© 2004 by Dr Marilee Adams. Berrett-Koehler Publishers, Inc., San Francisco, CA. All rights reserved.

Author's Bio: 

Judith Baxter the Unstoppable Self Confidence Coach shows how to build your self confidence to turn every lead into a sale. To receive her F.R.E.E. Special Report, 5 Biggest Mistakes Women in Sales make and to receive her regular Newsletter visit