Honestly, I feel really sad (and sometimes mad too) that most people don’t know what a beautiful question is or how to ask one nor how the beauty of a question can dramatically alter the course of one’s life.
(In fact, I am painfully aware of how you rob yourself of the kind of experiences you actually want to be having in life.)
When you ask something to protect yourself or to prove something or to debate or to get your way, or to make someone feel wrong or stupid, it’s heartbreaking because quite frankly your ego is capable of better than that for you.
I see almost daily how easy it would be to invite beauty, compassion, possibility, opportunity, authenticity or kindness into life with words and specifically if those words were formed into a question.
Alas, one must embody curiosity to have those experiences – the precursor to beauty.
As a born question asker, I’ve spent my entire life learning how to ask questions as I was asking them and not even realizing what I was creating with how I was asking what I was asking.
And I’ve annoyed people with my way of learning (so you don’t have to). You see, once upon a time, what I asked came from a void of inadequacy because I believed that questions were a way of demonstrating what I knew about something. I would ask to show that I was “not incompetent” because I already had the question’s answer clearly in my mind.
I did this until I was exhausted and depleted and then had to re-think my whole approach to work especially.
I misused this mystical tool that, harnessed in esteem, has led to wondrous life experiences and career roles.
You know already (or at least I hope you do by now) that I’m not the Career Counselor that you can come to for advice (even though that’s traditionally what my profession has been known for). My clients know very, very well that the best thing that I can offer them, because of my life-time of skill development, is help to discern the right questions to answer and reflect upon for their particular situation.
It’s truly magic. Because you already have the answer within you and the key to unlock it is the right question. And a “right question” is nothing more than an accurate question that reveals itself in the presence of a real conversation (and not a fake one aka “the one you’re already having”).
So, I’m revealing a big secret to you today (are you ready?!?) – it’s a collection of my covert observations and criteria to help you come up with more beautiful questions than what you’re asking now so that you can have a more beautiful life.
Use my criteria to see if any question you find yourself asking is indeed a beautiful one and how you can get the results you want next time you find yourself asking a question.
(And remember, this applies to questions that you’re hoping to use to spark a connection and real conversation – not to find out where the nearest gas station is kind of thing.)
The question must…
:: Make time stand still.
You need to move out of chit chatting to get to this part of a conversation, but the moment will arrive – what question has the power to bend time in the moment you’re in?
:: Tickle the essence of both you (the asker) and them (the answerer).
This means that the question is inviting – to both you and the other person. The other wants to answer and your genuinely want to hear the answer.
:: Be free from judgment.
Your opinion (or your presumption or your assumption) isn’t part of the question. UNLESS you acknowledge and state that it is your judgment that brought you to ask the question in the first place. Otherwise that conversation feels icky.
:: Be asked in the spirit of genuine curiosity sincerily.
Hint for this one: Listen to your voice when you ask – what’s the energy like behind your words? Are you pushing for the answer to go in a certain direction? Are you looking for validation or a debate? If so, be honest about that to yourself and then choose to ask a more beautiful question if you actually desire connection.
:: Create connection by bridging you and me into an experience of oneness – that really cool sensation of connection to another human soul.
Even if the question is fun and light (every question that has meaning need not be serious in tone, but can be) the question is still not for getting your point across – this inhibits connection. See previous point if you need to check your intention.
:: Come from a genuine desire to learn about someone’s personal experience free of your desire to influence or be influenced.
This means refraining from asking a question if what you really want is for someone to prove or convince you of something. It feels like an ambush to be expected to engage in such a conversation. And without mutual consent or understanding, I affectionately call this one-sided encounter “greedy curiosity.” It’s “consumption of information” (and another’s energy resource) without any real desire to do something different. To the unsuspecting it truly feels like time is being killed or wasted.
:: Have the capacity to be asked in a multitude of ways – in shades of grey.
You learned about personality tests, but probably focused just on your own type. Remember that different words, word pairings and word order appeal to different personalities and circumstances. In other words: does your question acknowledge the situation and the person you’re talking to?
:: Be asked without attachment to the outcome.
If you find yourself asking something and not getting an answer and then you keep asking the same question to the same person with the same non-response (or non-delightful response) whether over the course of a dinner party or over a period of years – guess what? You already got your answer. Try someone or something completely different, just don’t keep doing what isn’t working.
:: Be unconventionally worded or insert your question into a conversation at a genuine moment.
As a writer, reader, listener and observer of the stage all around me called life, I know this: When an ego hears a cliché it doesn’t listen. It thinks it knows what’s being communicated and therefore doesn’t want to expend the energy because it doesn’t need to. We repeat what we ourselves can’t hear.
Use a thesaurus if you must (I do), but whatever you do, avoid clichés or clichéd speech when you actually want to engage with someone genuinely. Especially if they are your own clichés. You know lots of words – mix it up for the sake of fun and you can still be professional and authentic not to mention engaging.
:: Intend to create greater clarity, understanding, focus, courage … something (anything beautiful!) that is a value that we need to see more of in the world.
Remember – there is an answer that is wanting freedom the whole time and an accurate question is what liberates it. Good magic will and does come of it.
So go ahead and give it a try: What beautiful question can you ask yourself to unlock the door to your own career bliss?
And in case you didn’t know, the information in this article will change lives. If you would be so kind as to share it, release some make believe magic into the world with my thanks. xo
Where you fuel, re-tool and attune your imagination. Get your soul to work (on purpose). Ruthless compassion. Fierce gentleness. Sassy wisdom. And oodles of insight.