I’ve got four questions for you… four questions that can, as I promised above, change your results. I’m going to say more about each of them, how they can make a difference, and when you would want to apply them, but first, here they are:
Why not me?
Why not now?
You can apply these questions in many life and work situations including when you want to:
- Create a change
- Communicate a message
- Consider an idea
- Issue a challenge
- Create accountability
- Make a difference in the world around you
Let’s talk more about the power of each of these questions and how they can help you get better results and outcomes.
Why? Asking yourself (or a team) the “Why?” question can help you understand problems, find meaning, determine purpose and create fortitude and discipline. The “Why?” question is possibly the most powerful question that exists, yet there are dangers to be aware of too. Use the question (for yourself and with others) in curiosity, like children do, not from a place of judgement or accusation. Used correctly, the “Why?” question helps us see underneath a situation to the core, the root cause, and find the bigger picture and bigger meaning.
Why not? The “Why not?” question can be the one to flip our thinking, push through the resistance, challenge conventional wisdom and expose reluctance. Too often we try to talk ourselves out of our ideas and possibilities, even when we are excited about them. We have the doubter, the cautious careful voice wanting us to avoid risk and maintain the status quo. The “why not?” question gives us the chance to expose those doubts and concerns to the light; and perhaps overcome them more easily, when action, and a change from the status quo might be needed, or desired. This question, asked carefully, can do all of those things in a group too – try it and you will see how it will help move people off of their current perspective and potentially towards action.
Why not me? Well, seriously, why not you? If no one asks this question, nothing will ever happen. This is the question of accountability – when people ask this question in an open and curious way, they will nearly always determine there is no good reason why they couldn’t take some action. Of course, an affirmative answer here is no guarantee of success; but not asking the question (or answering negatively) guarantees nothing will happen. Thinking about this another way, isn’t a person who is willing to ask and answer this question someone you would want on your team? By the way, if not you, who?
Why not now? The world belongs to those willing to act; and in many cases the best time to act is now. Yes, there are times and seasons to wait, but even that decision stems from a real look at the best time to act, which includes considering immediate action! Wisdom from around the world says that the two best times to plant a tree are 10 (or 20 or 100) years ago or today. Asking the “Why not now?” question reminds us of the nature of time. Every minute of delay is a minute lost. When we ask this question, we allow ourselves to prioritize our actions, and capitalize on a greater sense of urgency.
I opened this article by telling you that these questions will improve your results; which isn’t really true. Yes, the questions are incredibly powerful; but until they are asked, they are like diamonds in the dirt, undiscovered. And while they must be asked, the real power, and the results in any area of your life comes when you answer them.