At a young age, we learned about the power of questions – unknowingly, perhaps, but the seeds were planted. Who? What? Why? When? Where? And… How? When you think about where you are now, where you want to be and what you need to get you there, reframing questions opens up your mind to ideas and possibilities that would otherwise be dormant, driving your chance for success up.
In this article, I’m going to share several critical question to ask yourself as you work towards your goals. And in addition to that, I’m also going to share some ideas on how to structure your questions moving forward, so you are constantly expanding your thinking and developing new ideas. Sound good? Let’s get started!
The questions you ask yourself today
Typically, we tend to ask ourselves the same questions over and over again. People unhappy at work will ask themselves, “When will be life be different?”, “What do I need to get through the day?”, “How many days until the weekend/holidays?”. Entrepreneurs getting their businesses off the ground will ask themselves, “When will I start making money?”, “Why can’t I attract more customers?”, “When will I be where I want to be?”. Take a minute and think about the questions you ask yourself every day. If you’re ready to make changes, you can even write them down on a piece of paper or type them into a new document.
The trouble with the questions we ask ourselves, are twofold. One, they usually place more emphasis on the outside world than on things we can control ourselves. And two, they’re the same questions, so logically, we’re going to keep coming up with the same answers. And so, we have the same questions, same answers, and not much we can do about them. That’s not a great place to be.
Tip #1: Flipping the distribution of power through your questions
So let’s first look at flipping the questions around so that they’re more empowering. Instead of wondering when things will happen to or for us – a change in environment, an increase in leads, a more supportive peer groups, etc. – let’s change the questions so that they put you in the driver’s seat.
“When will life be different?” becomes “What can I do to bring more joy into my life?”
“When will I start making money?” becomes “When can I launch my service?”
“Why can’t I attract more customers?” becomes “How can I attract more customers?”
And so on.
This one little change in your questions will open up your mind to plenty of new ideas. Why? Because our brains love to solve problems. But when you ask yourself “When will life be different?”, your brain comes back with “When I’m not stressed out/When I have more money/When I have more clients.” etc. It’s a dead end, and the ball is in the outside world’s court. But now ask “What would make me enjoy my life more?” or “ What can I do to reduce stress in my life/make more money/attract more clients?” and you’ll get completely different answers which put the ball back in your court, empower you and open up your mind to new ideas.
Tip #2: Increasing the quality of ideas generated through reframing your questions
Secondly, as I mentioned earlier, by asking different questions, your brain will look for different answers. So if you’re currently asking a lot of “why” questions, try changing them to “how” questions. If you’re asking mostly “when” questions, change them to “what” questions. There is no secret formula – just ask different questions by exploring the many types of questions you can ask.
For example, “Why am I not attracting the right clients to my business?” can become any of the following questions:
“What can I do differently to attract the right clients?”
“How can I attract the right clients?”
“How do my competitors attract their clients?”
“Who are the right clients for my business?”
“Who can help me attract the right clients for my business?”
“Where are the clients that I would like to attract to my business?”
As you can see above, there are plenty of different questions you can ask yourself about the same topic. And depending on what you ask and how you ask it, you’ll get different answers, and ideas. This is key because it changes the pattern you have formed in your mind and it introduces new things to explore, which in turn will introduce even more new things to explore.
A complete revamp to demonstrate the impact of reframing questions
So let’s take one scenario and see how asking different questions produces a different outcome.
The question we’ll start off with is: “Why isn’t my audience engaging with me on social media?” This is something a lot of small business owners struggle with, so I hope it’s an example that not only demonstrates the power of questions but also provides you with immediate questions to start asking yourself.
I would imagine, having been in this place before, that the response to this question that plays in your mind is something along the lines of poor content, the wrong audience and a topic that doesn’t resonate with your audience.
Now let’s ask a few new questions and see what happens.
“What can I do to encourage my audience to engage with me on social media?”
“When can I expect my audience to engage with me on social media?”
“How can I encourage my audience to engage with me on social media?”
“Where can I place calls to action to encourage my audience to engage with me on social media?”
With these three new questions alone, you can expect to develop ideas around:
- content that would be interesting to your audience
- calls to action to use
- placement of calls to action
- checking insights to find the best times for audience engagement
- creating simple prompts to encourage engagement
None of these were responses to the original question, “Why isn’t my audience engaging with me on social media?”. And so, as can be seen through this example, asking different questions, and hopefully better questions, leads to new ideas that help shift you out of your current situation and towards your goals.
The key takeaway
We often ask ourselves the same questions every day, particularly around things we struggle with. To move out of your current situation, you need to prompt new ideas through new ways of thinking about the situation. This is accomplished through reframing your questions. Two ways to do this: flip your question to give you the power and ask different questions about the same thing so you can view the problem from different angles. Questions are extremely powerful and will give rise to plenty of incredible ideas, as long as you use them in the right way.
Did this help you? Share it with others who might get insights out of this, too!