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Success Questions: Stop Asking This. Start Asking This.

In the last few weeks, I’ve had several people ask me these questions:

shutterstock_161072735Do I have what it takes to be successful?

  • Can I make it in coaching?
  • Can I earn as much at coaching as what I’m making in my corporate job?

At the risk of sounding rude, I replied:

“You’re asking the wrong question!”

Over the years, I’ve had a glimpse into the hearts and minds of the people who were asking me these questions. They want to be successful in coaching.

Once people are clear on what they want—“yes, I want this” or “no, I don’t want this”—they should:

  • Stop asking the “can-I-make-it” questions, and
  • Start asking the “how-do-I-make-it” questions

As a side note, an interesting thing happens in our brains with these two types of questions:

“Can-I-make-it” questions can easily trigger the fight-flight response because they are often “code” for these safety-security questions:

  • Am I going to be okay?
  • Am I going to experience pain, embarrassment, financial hardship, etc.?

“How-do-I-make-it” questions might also trigger fight-flight responses, but if we ask with a sense of playfulness and social-oriented curiosity, we can avoid fight-flight-freeze and instead shift to calm-connect-curiosity.

So how do you STOP the “can-I-make-it” questions?

  • First, consider your world view. Do you see the world as a scary place, full of landmines and people who don’t want to help you, don’t want to learn from you, and don’t want to exchange their money for the value you’d bring them? Or do you see the world as a safe place, full of fascinating people, amazing adventures, and astonishing provision?With the latter view, the “can-I-make-it” question becomes irrelevant.
  • Next, take it up a level. What’s your take on God? Is He a cosmic cop, playing hide-and-seek, just waiting to catch you and punish you for doing something bad? Or do you see Him as the loving provider of every need, ready-willing-and-able to guide, support, encourage? Or something completely different?Our world view greatly affects our success view!

Finally, how do you START asking the “how-do-I-make-it” questions?

  • First, be curious. Operate from a place of wonder. Ask, “Who IS doing well at what I want to do?” “What exactly are they doing?” “How did they learn to do what they do?” “What strengths do I possess that will make it easy for me to learn what I need?”Hang out with these people, read about them, coach with them, learn to think like them!
  • Next, be self-compassionate. Tell yourself, “I am learning a new way to think and act. I want to be patient with myself as I not only find these answers but also begin to learn the new skills to implement and master them. It’s okay if I don’t do it perfectly right out of the gate.”Neuroscience studies show that when it comes to motivation, self-compassion works better than beating yourself up!

How about you? What questions do you want to START asking?

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