Questions Of Consequence

Questions Of Consequence

The art of being engaging is the art of asking compelling questions.

Learning this principle during coaching training changed the dynamic of every single one of my relationships almost instantaneously. I have been further inspired by books such as “A More Beautiful Question” by Warren Berger, as well as my interactions with friends, mentors and fellow coaches, both during my training and beyond.

Many say that the single most important skill of a coach isn’t telling people what to do, it’s asking them provocative questions that inspire them to dig deep and find the answer within. The same applies far beyond coaching.

Here are some questions to stop asking IMMEDIATELY. It doesn’t matter where you are or who you’re with. One of my visions is to play a role in this being taught in schools.

“So what do you do?”
“Where do you live?”
“Where did you go to school?”
“How do you like London/New York/[insert city you’re in]?”
“What did you have for lunch?”

Every time I hear someone asking one of these questions a small piece of my soul dies, and I redirect the conversation, as politely and quickly as possible to more fertile territory.

We’re not on this earth to have inane conversations, we’re here to inspire each other and to excel.

Here are some better questions, that will inspire far more interesting answers and deeper engagement. Ask any of these questions and you can almost see people’s neurons firing like crazy as they’re actually stimulated to dig deeper into their consciousness for a meaningful answer.

“WHY do you do what you do?”
“What’s exciting for you right now?”
“What’s your biggest lesson in life so far?”
“What did you learn from your trip to Outer Mongolia?”
“What was your favourite thing about bungee jumping off the Auckland Bridge[/insert other awesome activity you find out they’ve done]?”
“What gets you fired up?”
“What would you like to see be different in the world in 5 years?”

Questions like these will not only get your audience AND YOU more fired up, they’ll enjoy talking to you more, and they’ll want to come back for more. If you want to be magnetic in life and business, this is essential.

If you haven’t already, try it right now with someone nearby or on the phone. You’ll quickly get addicted to the results. Like anything, once you start treading the path you’ll find yourself walking it without even consciously thinking about it. But what you’ll always be conscious of is how much bigger and better the view is.

A Bugbear

a bugbear

When people admit they spent years doing something they hated, it grinds my gears. How can you expect your clients to have full confidence in you, to believe you’ve got winner DNA, if you didn’t stand by your convictions and leave a job you hated straight away? Leaving a job you love for something even greater – that’s courage.

What do you think?

Evolution

Do you ever stop and recognize just how much you’ve evolved over the last year? Never mind two years, five years, ten years, but in just one year?

Sometimes it takes a photo captured in time to help us appreciate our own growth. Timehop is a wonderful tool for charting your progress as well as reconnecting with fond memories (either online or via their app).

This time a year and a month ago I was sitting at my desk, doing a job I loved, with people I loved, but noticing a growing desire to help people in more personal, intuitive, creative and ultimately more profound ways. Even though I was incredibly grateful and passionate about my job, I was getting intuitive hits that would manifest physically in recurring hollow, sinking and twisting feelings in my belly when I was in the office but not elsewhere.

This was in part because I was already midway through my life, business and health coaching training (which I had immediately discovered I had an even greater passion for), and was getting incredible insights into the entrepreneurial world through my volunteering with House of Genius. But while I dreamed of it, I still hadn’t quite imagined entrepreneurship to be realistic for me yet. I just quietly noticed the fire in my belly returning every time I was in training or volunteering engaged in coaching or entrepreneurship.

I also noticed that in order to be successful in my job, I had to spend a lot of my time in the hyper-logical, efficiency focused part of my brain, and that this not only felt like more work, but that it was at times challenging to switch it off in my personal life, which meant my relationships were less fulfilling than I knew they could be. In contrast, I could feel that these newer activities were engaging many more parts of my brain on a much more holistic and exhilarating level, as well as my gut and heart. I noticed too that in turn all of my relationships were becoming more and more energised.

Much like during yoga and meditation, I could feel myself losing my sense of separateness between myself and others, and even losing awareness of irrelevant external stimuli as I began to experience flow state with ever increasing frequency. I begun to feel more alive, stimulated and purposeful than ever before. Everything just came more naturally.

I quickly found ways to incorporate my new coaching skills into my corporate position by taking a new approach in all of my meetings and relationships as well as by running wellbeing workshops at lunchtimes to have a greater impact on my colleagues. After just a couple of these, I realised there was a profound need for this work in the world and that I had to make this a full-time venture ASAP. A year later, here I am running my business full-time!

What didn’t seem possible for you this time last year that’s now a reality?

Evolution
Me a year ago

Evolution

Evolution
Me on Sunday. My wardrobe has definitely evolved alongside my visions of what’s possible for me and others!

 

Below are a few of my other “on this day” Timehops. I’d love to see yours!

I’m also curious, if you could go back in time and tell 6 year ago you one thing, what would it be?

I’d tell 6 year ago me, instead of trying so hard to make everything work, to just let go of anything that didn’t feel good and move on. Challenges are amazing and important, but within reason. I firmly believe now if it doesn’t feel good it’s not what you’re meant for!

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2014: My first Winter in New York City. At Panna II Indian restaurant in NYC with my friend Diana. It has Christmas lights covering every inch of it year round! I was still cultivating my network in NYC but every day I woke up tingly with excitement to discover new people and adventures.
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2013: A few months before I moved to New York for my dream job! I’d also lost 40 pounds, bought my first home and started following my “definitely definitely or no” principle.
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2012: I got a LOT done, but I was very stressed and didn’t have a lot of patience…!

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2010: Before I learned the art of taking care of my needs first. And of saying no. I was very overwhelmed and anxious. There was much to be discovered!

 

 

Be A Simplifier In A Sea Of Over-Complicators

Sometimes we over complicate things needlessly. In work, in life, in love. In reality, simplicity is beauty, and far more memorable. More likely than not, you’ll be remembered more for that hilarious one liner, exquisitely crafted tagline, or powerfully succinct one pager, than for that 30 page report. Go against the grain and stand out powerfully by being a simplifier in a sea of over-complicators.

Simple can be harder than complex: You have to work hard to get your thinking clean to make it simple. But it’s worth it in the end because once you get there, you can move mountains.” – Steve Jobs. Sometimes simple takes longer (notably in engineering), but not always. Radical simplification can actually make life a lot more efficient.

The art of simplification also ties in with the concept of essentialism, of which I’m a huge fan, inspired in part by Greg McKeown’s book “Essentialism”. Essentialism is all about “the disciplined pursuit of less”, something I’ve been striving for since 2012. In McKeown’s words, “the way of the Essentialist involves doing less, but better, so you can make the highest possible contribution. Essentialism isn’t one more thing; it’s a different way of doing everything. It is a discipline you apply constantly, effortlessly. Essentialism is a mindset; a way of life.

This brochure stand (which I passed walking near Senate House in London) is a great example of the effects of applying an essentialist mindset to reach the simplest possible outcome. And it works right? How many times do you walk by a brochure stand and actually want to pick a brochure up? Would you be more likely to pick one up from here?

Be A Simplifier

One of the things I help my clients achieve is intense clarity and the ability to radically simplify their decision making processes for more happiness, impact and freedom in all areas of their life and business. Book a free call with me at http://calendly.com/jsecrooks/consult.