Last week I had the awesome pleasure of interviewing Tiffany Lanier for my podcast, More Than Money. I can’t wait for it to go live and for you to tune in. Because she and I had a far-ranging conversation about challenges, change, and the power of asking questions. And in her case, one question in particular.
I LOVE a good question. And by good, I mean one that causes me to pause first before answering, and/or one that makes me feel like the questioner is genuinely interested in what I have to say.
I am the queen of asking questions, particularly good ones. Just ask my friends and clients. I constantly pepper them with questions. Mostly because I am curious (always have been). But, let’s be honest, sometimes, I am also simply being nosy. 🙂 Growing up, my mother would say, “Okay Rona Barrett,” when it became clear that my incessant questioning was working her last nerve. LOL
And this was definitely true in Tiffany’s case.
Tiffany and I both work with Mike Ganino and Chloe DiVita of the Mike Drop Method (I’ve mentioned them on these pages before). So, I’ve had the unique and awesome privilege of having behind-the-scenes access as she worked on her Tedx talk. I was particularly struck by her perspective that, “personal growth is collective…not just personal.”
Given that so much of the self-help and personal growth movement centers all around individual effort, I was fascinated by her viewpoint.
Like most viewpoints that are counter-cultural and deeply personal, it was rooted in her experience and a question. One that prompted her to start a movement of her own – The Morning Shift.
Surviving a life-threatening pregnancy and postpartum depression, all while juggling the challenges of growing and managing a business, led her to a simple, yet profound question: “What do I need today?”
So, What Makes a Question Powerful?
Since recording our podcast episode, I haven’t stopped thinking about my conversation with Tiffany. (When it is live, I invite you to tune in!)
Nor have I stopped thinking about the transformational power of questions. If we let it be so.
You and I ask questions all the time for all sorts of reasons.
Sometimes, it is to get information. Other times, it is to request permission. And at other times, it is how we get what we want (other people are not mind readers). Or, to get clarity.
Yes, questions are powerful. But I think we can often forget where that power resides.
Thanks to Tiffany’s willingness to do that inner-work, you and I now have a new lens by which to view personal growth and to understand more deeply how what we do in this realm isn’t just for us. It affects others, too. From family and friends to colleagues, clients, co-workers, industry peers, etc. In other words, our community.
If You Let It Be So
Questions are a catalyst for change. Even when you don’t know what that change will look or feel like, or how it will actually affect or benefit your current circumstances – let alone your future.
Yet, unlocking the power of questioning and questions only happens if you let it. And here are a few benefits of doing so, in no particular order:
A question can expand your knowledge and introduce you to new ideas, people, possibilities, and practices. Questions are a low-tech learning tool for gaining insight.
Increases emotional intelligence
A question can help you assess your understanding of yourself, your situation, and other people. Questions are both a tool for self-discovery and of learning about others.
A question can inspire intentional action that leads to impactful change – within yourself and for yourself and others. A question can also be the soil from which creative ideas sprout.
Sets an example
People are always watching you. And sometimes, they are inspired by what they see you do or don’t do, and what you say or don’t say.
You may never know what they are taking away from their observations. But, there’s no doubt in my mind that as you ask questions that transform how you operate in the world, others notice the difference in you. Even if they cannot exactly pinpoint what’s different! It shows up in the way you move, engage, and respond.
And, you might even be the person who gives them permission to do and have something different or be someone different. All because of a question.
Reminds you of your power
When you are experiencing acute times of uncertainty and challenges, you can often feel powerless. However, there is a question that can not only remind you of the power you do possess – a power that will help you as you navigate the “messy middle”- but that also helps you tap into a realization you might have otherwise overlooked.
What’s Your Question?
Do you have a go-to question that you either ask yourself everyday, or that you lean on as your lighthouse for working your way through a challenging time?
If not, perhaps the question that sparked Tiffany’s movement can help. Or, maybe this blog is an invitation to do a brainstorming exercise to discover one that feels right for you.
Because, you might be just one question away from the breakthrough you need that will help you manage your way through it. And whether you adopt Tiffany’s question – “What do I need today? – or another one, please remember this: That question will likely lead to some degree of personal growth, and that “personal growth is collective…not just personal.”