People who ask confidently get more than those who are hesitant and uncertain. When you've figured out what you want to ask for, do it with certainty, boldness and confidence.
It is New Year's Eve and as I do every year (and every Lunar New Year, too) along with many others I set a few goals. Although I don't really do New Year's Resolutions any more (too much self-induced pressure and suffering when I miss the mark set because my hopes are based solely on the outcome and not the learning that takes place while getting there so I used to miss all of the opportunities in between) I do set goals frequently and December 31 is as good a time as any to set a few more.
This year, my focus has been on creating solutions and setting goals around solutions that will make my clients' business move with great velocity and operate with clarity and resonate with trust. I began to think about what that would entail and realized that most conversations, research, relationships, great discoveries start not as: "I have a problem, now lets think about solutions. . ." but more so, a: "What if? What's possible when? How do we? How could you? Will you? Can you? Can we? Can I?" So, essentially great ideas and solutions start with questions about what you want.
It occurred to me that most of my goals traditionally set, are not coupled with questions, so this year I am encouraging myself, my clients, and my friends and colleagues to ask questions.
What does it take to formulate the questions that will lead you to where you want to go?
Here is a short list of how things you may consider in formulating your questions:
1) If you ask a closed ended question, it must be followed by an open ended one.
Am I living the life I want to live?; Is my business where I want it to be?; Am I satisfied with things the way they are in the world? The answer to these questions could be dichotomous. Therefore, if you answer them yes or no or maybe, a second question must follow. Respectively, No, I am not living the life I want to live--What will it take for me to live the life I want to live?; Yes, my business is where I want it to be--What have I learned that will allow me to expand my business and create something new for my customers that inspires me?; and No, I am not satisfied with things the way they are in the world.--What is my role in the transformation of my community, my city, our country?
While these examples may lean towards the general vs. the specific the point is to ask questions that you can build on and are oriented towards thinking about things broadly and with little to no limits.
2) After creating and asking the questions, don't begin to answer them immediately. One of the biggest challenges with most human beings is our propensity to want to resolve everything immediately. It goes like this,:your friend or colleague calls and begins to talk about something facing him or her. In some instances they want you to give them advice and in other instances, you want to give them advice. And I do and sometimes they did not want advice, they wanted me to listen and perhaps ask a question or two, but they were not looking for me to solve their problem.
If we can ask a question of ourselves or work with others to generate questions that are pertinent to their goals and dreams, we are not required to nor should we attempt to answer the question(s) at that moment. In fact, limiting the space that is created between the time the question is asked and the time possible answers emerge limits the magic that is created in that space. Without the broadening and deepening of that space, we limit the divine nature of nothingness. Only from nothingness is somethingness created. Ask your question(s) and then let nothingness reside and experience (like most of us have) how the divinity arises out of that space.
3) Ask your questions then ask them in another way and then ask them in another way and then ask them again. No, I am not advocating that you become annoying. What I am saying is that questions, like your goals, evolve. As the process of being with/pondering a question evolves, you begin to construct a new sense of what the deeper question might be. Within every question of significance, there are many more significant questions. After posing what I am naming right now, "the trigger question" (I hope that is not the name of someones book, if soon, I will attribute it to them once I know) there are myriad questions that can arise from it. Like composing a song, you try different combinations and chords and percussion, harmonies, melodies, lyrics, etc. and the different twists and turns lead you to possibilities that the original question just scratched the surface of.
4) When formulating your questions, know that you know everything--the purpose of the question will be clearer. Consider that you are all knowing. Now, I am not saying this to stroke you (I am happy to do that however, as I believe in ample acknowledgement of your greatness) but I am saying it because for you to pose a question, for the most part, I believe there is an answer that given the connectedness entity we are, as a human species, all answers lie within each of us individually and collectively. As the song says "There's not a problem that I can't fix." (Last Night a DJ Saved My Life, performed by Indeep). For both the DJ and for you if you ask the question, it can be answered. There is not a question you don't have the answer to so trust that it will come and as I stated above, let go of "trying" to find a solution. Ponder the question, be assured the answer is emerging from the moment it is asked and let it run its course.
5) You have to ask a question before the answer will be revealed. Here is where most of us miss the mark: We never ask the question. If you have a burning, urgent, question, whatever it may be ask it! Ask it not just silently to yourself, but ask it out loud. If you are not comfortable sharing it with others, ask it out loud with no one around. You need to hear the question in reality almost as if it was not just you who was generating it, but like it came from elsewhere for the answer to come to you to share with the person who asked it. Asking it aloud will generate the energy that will lead to the revelation that you are seeking.
Ask questions out loud that inside you don't feel are even probable, let alone possible. The energy generated from simply asking will blow you away.
Remember, you get what you ask for so ask with clarity and be thankful for what you get. You are going to get what you ask for. When you ask questions, be aware that if you are asking for something specific, you want to be very very clear about your purpose and objective of attaining what you desire. When you get it, in whatever form it comes, be grateful for it. Even if it is not quite what you expected know that what you received is exactly what you needed to learn what you need to learn and move you into a deeper understanding of what you REALLY want. Give thanks for all that comes, there is no good or bad that comes from your questions, only answers. All of them are worth appreciation and all of them open up the next field of dreams and possibilities.
Now, go ask some questions with certainty, boldness, and confidence, and let's make 2009 all we know that it can be. Thanks for all you do and all the beauty that you have revealed and inspiration I have received from you in 2008. I appreciate each and every one of you that are reading this and those who may not have the opportunity.
Make it a great 2009!