5 Questions That Will Take You To The Next Level
“So I say to you, Ask and it will be given to you; search, and you will find; knock, and the door will be opened for you.“Jesus Christ (Matthew 7:7)
Can I ask you a question?
To late, I just did.
Learning to ask questions is the key to opening the door to countless opportunities, experiences, and relationships. Kids typically do a great job asking questions. If you have ever been with a young child, you’ve heard this question over and over again: “Why?”
Kids are curious. They want to learn. They want to grow. They want to try new things. And they seem to know that asking questions is the key to getting what they want. Kids also don’t let the fear of sounding stupid stop them from asking questions.
Somewhere between childhood and adulthood, most of us forget the power of asking questions. We lose our curiosity. We don’t want to appear like we don’t know all the answers. And we’re afraid we might be told “No” when we ask for something.
I’ve learned something recently:
The answer will always be “No” if we don’t ask.
This is why we must learn the discipline of asking questions.
In the writing and speaking world, there are many opportunities available to those who ask.
If I want to speak, I have to ask. If I want to write on someone’s blog or platform, I have to ask. If I want to be on someone’s podcast, I have to ask. Sure I may get an invitation from time to time without asking, but this is not the norm.
You may not be a writer or a speaker, but you still have a lot to gain by asking questions. When you practice the discipline of asking questions, many things happen.
- You get to know people better when you ask questions. Where were you born? What do you like to do in your spare time? What do you want to accomplish in the next five to ten years? What’s your favorite color? How did you get to where you are today? When you ask questions, you get to know people.
- You come across as more interesting when you ask questions. Questions are the gateway to great conversations. And when you have conversations, you automatically increase your “I’m interesting” factor.
- You show people they matter when you ask questions. When people ask me questions, I feel valued. When you ask questions, you show others they are valued. By asking questions, you have the opportunity to show people they matter.
- You learn new things when you ask questions. Be curious. Questions will take you to all kinds of new places and new information. I’ve learned a lot about blogging as a result of the questions I have asked other bloggers. In my career, I grown a lot and seen new opportunities as a result of asking “How can I do this better next time?”
- You clarify your path forward when you ask questions. Sometimes we get stuck. We develop a type of paralysis, because we aren’t sure how to proceed. Asking the right questions can give us clarity on the direction we should be taking.
- You can move more quickly when you ask questions.
- You become a better leader when you ask questions.
“Who questions much, shall learn much, and retain much.”Francis Bacon
I have used a set of questions that have helped me grow personally and professionally. If you begin using these questions, you will grow as well. These questions require an open mind and a willingness to take action.
5 Questions That Will Take You To The Next Level
- How are you? This seems so simple, but people don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care. Asking this question provides an opportunity to connect at a deeper level. I have learned so much by asking this simple question. When it comes to leadership, I have learned when my team members are going through a tough time or when they have something to celebrate. I have learned more about my customers and about the things that make them tick. Start your conversations with this simple but very important question.
- How can I do this better the next time? Asking for feedback is the best way to learn. Especially if you will be doing similar activities again, this question can lead to massive growth for you and can lead to tremendous loyalty with those whom you ask this question. As an engineer, I used this question repeatedly to become a better engineer – to put out designs that were more useful for my installers, my start-up technicians, and my customers. As a leader, I use this question to grow in my leadership.
- What else can I do? Asking for more work when you have a lull in your current workload is an excellent way to demonstrate work ethic. This question demonstrates to others that you are a team player and you are not lazy. When I was fairly new to my company, this question led to my assignment on a high profile four year project that propelled my reputation and my career. I learned so many things by simply asking “What else can I do?”
- Can you help me? Asking for help takes humility. Many of us don’t want to appear as if we can’t do it ourselves. Here’s the reality, we can’t always do it ourselves. Sometimes our knowledge and skill limit us for the time being. We need to ask for help to expand our knowledge and skill and to make sure our task is executed as necessary. Sometimes our schedules limit us, and we need to ask for help because we cannot get to everything on our plate. More recently, I have realized that this question is a very important leadership question. As leaders, we must as for help in an effort to delegate. Delegating tasks to others gives them a chance to expand their experience, it prepares others to take on more responsibility in the future, and it frees up the leader to address other issues and tasks.
- How can I help? When people come into my office, this is the question I try to ask. What can I do to make your job/life easier? What direction or assistance can I provide that will keep you moving forward? This question breaks down walls. This question is the key to collaborative solutions. Everyone faces obstacles, and these obstacles seem smaller when there is help.
One thing worth noting, once you’ve asked your question(s) make sure you stop to listen. The real learning happens when we listen to what others have to say in response to our questions. And if you’re asking yourself the question(s), make sure you take time to reflect and process your responses to your own questions.