I was standing at the immigration queue last Friday, in Singapore, to catch a flight back home.
I was exhausted, yet couldn’t miss hearing a little girl of age may be 4-5 years old persistently asking her mom, mommy where is Daddy? So mommy answers her but she is still not quite satisfied with mommy’s answer. She changes tact and asks her mom, what are you holding in your hand ? So her mom replies to her saying passports. So she asks, is mine with you ? She gets a response from her patient mom. Then she asks her mom, you are holding 3, one is mine, other is yours, whose is the third one ? So her mom says, darling that is your dad’s passport.
She then in her sweet little voice loudly and clearly calls out to her dad, daddy do you want your passport? If yes, you better come here with us. Lo and behold she managed to get her dad with her.
What stood out for me was the way this little girl got to her end goal and she did all of that by asking questions of her mom.
Children are persistent with questions and they do get answers to their never ending questions.
I was amazed at how this little girl by asking 5-6 questions got the information out and laid her path to solve her jigsaw puzzle. In the end she achieved her end goal of getting her dad to stand in the same queue as her.
Asking relevant Questions is a powerful tool. The right questions inspire creativity, insights, drive connection and engagement and get desired results and breakthroughs.
By asking different type of questions, depending on the information you seek to get, (Open, fact based, probing, coping, what if ), you get bits of information and build on this to arrive at the final destination.
Wondering why I said constructive and right. Imagine if you lost the biggest deal of the decade. First thing you would probably ask yourself is what is wrong with me? What did I screw up? These kind of questions sets a negative tone to your thoughts and action. Instead, a relevant question would be What can I do to make sure I increase my chances of winning the deal ? What did I do well? What could I improve on ?
Questions are good for persuasion and convincing somebody, for enquiry, for building rapport and relationship, for being a good conversationalist. Listening is of utmost importance in the latter two instances.
1. What is your tennis ball?
This question, is from a spectacular commencement speech given by Drew Houston, the CEO of Dropbox, for MIT’s 147th Commencement held June 7, 2013.
To quote Houston, “I was going to say work on what you love, but that’s not really it. It’s so easy to convince yourself that you love what you’re doing — who wants to admit that they don’t? When I think about it, the happiest and most successful people I know don’t just love what they do, they’re obsessed with solving an important problem, something that matters to them. They remind me of a dog chasing a tennis ball: their eyes go a little crazy, the leash snaps and they go bounding off, plowing through whatever gets in the way. I have some other friends who also work hard and get paid well in their jobs, but they complain as if they were shackled to a desk.”
“So after today, it’s not about pushing yourself; it’s about finding your tennis ball, the thing that pulls you. It might take a while, but until you find it, keep listening for that little voice.”
It is about figuring out what you enjoy doing the most, what kind of activity makes you come alive, what do you feel most enthused about. Once you’ve figured out what brings out the best in you, you have to figure out how are you going to incorporate that into your day-to-day life?
2. What are your superpowers?
This is to determine your strengths, traits and altitudes. These are unique to you and this is what enables you to overcome challenges and deal effortlessly with any situation that life throws at you. Your strengths is something you determine by self-awareness and by a conversation with a Coach.
3. What are you grateful for?
Do you take things that you have and the people who stand by you for granted? Gratitude reminds us to be positive and help us move forward. It is easy to complain, criticize and condemn. To be thankful for a positive experience and from a negative experience is fulfilling and helps us let go.
4. What legacy do you wish to leave behind?
If you answered oh, what difference can I make, I’m a drop in the Ocean. Think again. If you believe that you can make a difference and do and be that person who can make a difference, you will be able to. Another way of thinking about the same question is to ask yourself, Looking back on your career and life, 15 or 30 years from now, what will you be proud of what you’ve accomplished? This is a great forward moving statement that can help you put things in perspective
5 . What am I doing now?
This helps you to think about what you are committed to right now and ask yourself if that ties in with your dream, your purpose and passion. In answering what you are doing now, you convert an intention to action. It is great to dream an intention to get somewhere is useless without an action.
These are some questions which you can ask yourself on the path of self-reflection and send-awareness. By questioning you encourage divergent thinking, tap into creativity and you set yourself on a motivating path.