Questions have the power to steer our awareness and focus, but not only that. Having a certain question in mind will affect our thinking, our emotions and our behavior.
Take the traditional example of preparing for a big occasion, a presentation perhaps. Adrenaline is going through your body as you get occupied with thoughts like "What is the audience going to think about me?" and "What if I make a fool out of myself?". If you were to rate how helpful those questions are in preparing you for a successful presentation I bet you would say that they only get you that far. But what happens in you when you start asking yourself different questions, e.g. “How will this experience make me grow?”, “What’s the best that could happen?”, “How can I have fun?”? The adrenaline stays in your veins, but you start to feel different, perhaps even excited.
I was in a coaching conversation with a client of mine when she said: ”It is very exhausting to constantly ask myself whether I should keep working here or apply for work somewhere else.” The way she said it made me feel and hear the exhaustion. I replied: ”It seems that this question is not serving you very well. What question should you ask yourself instead?”. The client immediately reacted and her entire being changed in front of me when she started to think of it. Then she said: ”The question I should be asking myself is how I can use my strengths in my current role more!”.
Here lies the power of paradigm shifting: this person went back to work with a new pair of glasses, curiously looking at where she could apply her strengths, collecting feedback from others and enjoying everyday work-life more than before. Instead of focusing on finding hints of potentially having to look for another job she was now focusing on where she could play even bolder. All of this as a result of her starting to ask herself another question.
Thus, if a question does not serve you, ask yourself another question instead. What question would serve you best today?