Why life's "little" questions have an outsized impact
We are having conversations with ourselves all day every day, and most of the time it’s happening outside our awareness.
Maybe it’s running a mental checklist, replaying a conversation and thinking about all the things you should have said but didn’t, or preparing for an upcoming meeting, but there is always dialogue.
I will admit, though, that one part of my internal dialogue I haven’t paid much attention to is what questions I’m asking myself. However, the questions we are asking ourselves as we move throughout our days are having a tremendous impact on us.
I see it frequently in my coaching. The internal questions women are posing to themselves are oftentimes not solutions-oriented, let alone solvable, and they are keeping them paralyzed in inaction.
I uncovered this in my own life just last week. I noticed as I felt feelings of unsettledness around an aspect of my job, the question I kept asking myself was: Am I doing this right?
Recognizing that the question only made me feel worse and was ultimately unanswerable, I got to work making space to sit with the thoughts and feelings I was having so that I could make some sense of them. From there, I chose to ask myself a different question: How can I serve women today?
While the first question caused further spinout, the second one grounded me in my sense of purpose and propelled me forward.
Here are two more examples from recent coaching sessions.
Though Client A has uncovered the root of her fear at work and how it is impacting her, during a recent coaching session she discovered that when she tried to help herself problem-solve, the question she was repeatedly asking herself was: How do I prove I deserve a seat at the table?
As you can imagine that question caused her to focus on areas she perceived she needed to improve, which only caused further angst, and it gave others the power to determine her worth.
After processing and reflecting, she came up with a new, more empowering question to ask herself: How do I want to show up to this table?
Client B, who works in a demanding leadership role, was filtering every new challenge (and even potential challenges) through the question of: Can I even sustain this (level of stress)? Her more empowering reframe was: How do I want to show up for myself in the midst of feeling this way?
WOOSH. A simple shift makes a big impact. Those reframes carry powerful energetic shifts in how these women are approaching challenging situations.
Now it's your turn.
I invite you to take time this week to notice the questions you are asking yourself as you go along your day. Carry a simple index card in your bag and pull it out and note each question you catch yourself asking. As always, get curious with compassion about what’s really going on. Notice if the questions are moving you toward or away from what it is you want, and from there come up with a new question that moves you toward your goal.
You’ve got this. Hit reply and let me know what you learn about yourself by doing this!
And if you realize that your thoughts are not moving you toward the life you long for and want help, I’m here. The work we do in coaching is perspective-shifting and life-changing. Grab time on my calendar here. I can’t wait to talk with you.