I have a new coaching and training program for company leaders about the “life-changing magic” of asking skilful questions. Exciting, right? Except that when I came to pick up the phone to prospective clients, my hand faltered.
I had a crisis of confidence. Could I explain the value of questions? Before I had tested the possibility, I had decided the answer was no.
Then an email popped into my inbox from my mentor in this project, asking me about my progress. I couldn’t lie.
Among her valuable suggestion was this one, which made us both laugh — in an ironic way.
“Oh, and get curious about your crisis of confidence. What are the ten questions someone should ask themselves when they are having a crisis of confidence?”
Good question, eh? Are you seeing my point here? That is a life-changing question. And funny, too, because here I am with a program about how to foster curiosity and the first hurdle I faced, I didn’t use my curiosity muscle at all.
Most people think they are curious — including me — but in fact, they are not. It is assumed to be a “motherhood” quality, a willingness to learn and be open. In reality, curious people are kind of annoying. A four-year-old is curious; they ask over 300 questions a day. Imagine that. It would be hard to get anything done if your leader asked 300 questions a day.
By the time we are teenagers, we ask very few questions, according to the researchers. We simply forget about the power of questions until we get a reminder. Like I did the other day.
I sat down at lunch and wrote out 10 questions to ask myself in my crisis of confidence.
If you ever sit down to write your book, your blog or simply to do any stretch task that takes you into that slightly nervy land of uncertainty, you might find them as useful as I did.
The 10 Questions
1. Is the risk of doing something greater than the risk of doing nothing?
2. If you were in a life-threatening situation, and taking this action would save your life, would you do it?
3. What is the smallest and least scary step you could take today that would bring your goal closer?
4. Think of someone you don’t like or respect much. Now imagine they’re getting the accolades for taking the action you are afraid of. Are you happy?
5. Can you make a list of reasons (try 10) why you absolutely can do what you want to do?
6. Have you broken down your goal into small steps? Can you do that now?
7. If you are stuck on one of the steps, who could help you quickly get unstuck? (Call them).
8. Where in your body do you feel the fear?
9. How could you sooth or nurture that part of your body?
10. Is there still anything standing between you and taking action to get you to your goal?