I’ve been working with people on improving their lives for about 20 years. I’ve also been mentoring coaches who work with people on improving their lives.
So I’ve heard and used a million questions to help my clients achieve that AHA breakthrough moment that shifts their perspective opening up new possibilities and solutions.
And there is one question that I hear coaches and others use that may be one of the more useless questions I’ve encountered.
“What do you want?”
Typically, the look on the face of the person being asked says, “Hell if I know!”
The sensations of overwhelm, doubt, fear, anxiety even anger swell up when asked this question.
“If I knew I wouldn’t be here.” Usually follows.
Take a step back
When you’re at a point of making a change in your life, it’s easy to default to what you know. It only makes sense.
But the answer lies in the unknown. A possibility that doesn’t yet exist.
There’s only one way to access this emergent unknown.
You have to imagine something new.
And that is why asking the right question is so important when helping someone enter into this unknown and emergent space of possibilities.
The right questions narrow the field of possibilities to what might really matter which equals less confusion.
The question I use, which has been very powerful for my clients is…
What do you want to CREATE?
Because that is what they are about to do….
They are about to create something new and more in line with where they are in their lives today and in harmony with what truly matters now (not three years ago).
People first want to look outside themselves because it’s a difficult question and it requires deep honesty and the ability to hold your personal shadow and light together non judgmentally. This exploration may cause some anxiety at the beginning because you are getting re-acquainted with yourself in a whole new way.
It’s easier to look outside and ask the external world, to take cues from what society says matters rather than risk discovering that you are not what they told you were. And that it’s possible you’ll need a significant course correction to find your present true path.
3 SIMPLE (but not so easy) STEPS
Here’s a simple three step process to help you think through what you want to create in your life.
1. This is who I am now.
It’s useful to assess where you are in your life today. How did you get here? What skills, qualities, characteristics, experience, resources, etc. do you now have that define who you are today. What are the watershed moments in your life that sculpted who you are today? What might you have wanted early in life that is showing up now? You may be surprised how all of this comes together in a gestalt you did not expect.
2. This is what I care about.
Now ask what really matters to you today. If you’ve experienced the “inkling” that something has to change, it’s likely that what you valued before is not what you value now and you’re out of sync with that. Identifying what matters most to you today is important in making decisions about your next steps. Your answers may not jive with what the outer world tells you they should be - and that is just fine.
3. This is what I want to create.
Once you’ve explored the first two steps you’ll be ready to answer the question, “What do I want to create?” You may find that you have several answers that match how you see yourself and what you care about. Consider this process an experiment or an adventure and don’t become too attached to one option or the other until you’ve dug deeper into what those realities might be.
Now you have options you can explore that allow for a new creative expression of the “who you BE” today.
Life is CREATION.
Every moment you are changing and rebirthing yourself on so many levels. You’re just not conscious of this all the time.
It’s only when you begin to feel bored, anxious or uncomfortable that you realize that you’re ready for a change.
Change your questions and change your life.
What do you want… to create?
Now that’s a far more interesting conversation….