Asking Powerful Questions

Asking questions is a powerful way to lead yourself to deep understanding. Asking questions helps lead to personal breakthroughs. Asking questions is an important tool for effective listening, learning, understanding, gaining clarity and a useful tool to help develop a personal vision for yourself. As Steven Covey states in “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People” – “First seek to understand and then be understood.” We gain understanding of someone else by asking thoughtful questions and then listening carefully.

Asking yourself questions is a way to help arrive to a state of what truly is at hand. It is vital in helping ourselves determine (soul search) what our purpose really is in life, or what we would really like to accomplish.

Countless number of amazing people that exist or have existed in the past attest to the importance of asking questions. To quote a few, Albert Einstein stated – “The important thing is not to stop questioning.” Carl Jung said – “The ability to ask questions is the greatest resource in learning the truth.” I like a quote from Lou Holtz – “I never learn anything by talking. I only learn things when I ask questions.”

Asking Profound Questions for Personal Growth, Purpose, and Fulfillment

Asking powerful questions can really help ourselves along if we are aiming to define our purpose in life and set ourselves in the right direction for increased fulfillment. Whether we are nearing or entering retirement or if we are at the beginning of a new chapter in our life, asking questions is a strong step in establishing our desired direction.

Recently, I was cleaning out a desk drawer in my office, and stumbled onto an old but very handy little booklet titled “Asking to Win,” written by Bobb Biehl. This author is an Executive Mentor, and focuses on asking the right questions. In this booklet, he provides a list of powerful questions to ask yourself or when mentoring someone. Here are some powerful questions from that booklet:

  1. If you could do anything you wanted, if God told you that you were free to choose, and you had all the time, money, staff, education, etc. you needed, and you knew for certain that you couldn’t fail, what would you do?
  2. What three principles would you say are most responsible for your success?
  3. What five milestones/turning points have most shaped your life at this point?
  4. What three people do you admire most and why?
  5. ( A Faith based question) What can I do to make the most significant difference for God in my lifetime? Why am I on Earth? What is the very best context for my dream?
  6. What is the single best measurable indicator that I am making progress toward my dream?
  7. If I could accomplish only three measurable priorities (goals reached – or problems solved) before I die, what would I accomplish?
  8. What single word best captures the focus of my next year?

Great Questions to Better Organize Your Time and Get the Most out of the Day

How we spend our time day after day, tremendously impacts the likelihood of accomplishing our goals or what we ultimately want to achieve in life. The finite time in a day is one of our most valuable resources. It should be respected and utilized as best as possible. There are also things we shouldn’t focus on or things we should avoid, during the day that may hold us back.

Here are some examples of asking questions to help you cease the most out of your day and focus you in the right direction:

  1. What is my single greatest strength? What do I do best? Which of my priorities best use my natural strengths?
  2. What three decisions are causing me the most stress?
  3. If I could only accomplish three things next week, what would I do?
  4. What are my three greatest roadblocks, what are my three greatest resources?
  5. If I could only do three things before I die, what would they be?
  6. What can I postpone for a month or two?
  7. What volunteer position(s) should I resign from and possibly save days of time?
  8. What on my “to do” list can someone do 80% or more as well as I can?
  9. What 3 things could I do in the next 90 days to make a 50% difference this year?
  10. What are the top 6 things I need to accomplish today? What are the top 6 things I need to accomplish tomorrow?

Questions to Help You Create a Compelling Vision of your Future

Asking questions is a handy tool to create a compelling vision for yourself and your future.

Here is a sequence of questions to help you create a powerful vision for yourself.1

  1. My ideal working environment is…
  2. The relationships I want to surround myself with include…
  3. I want to spend my days working on…
  4. If I wasn’t so afraid _____, I would…
  5. My life would not be complete unless I…
  6. If I know my life would end in 14 days, I would…
  7. If I only had 3 months to live, I would accomplish…
  8. If I had all the money I ever needed, I would spend the rest of my life…
  9. When I leave this world, I would like to be remembered for…
  10. My most memorable experiences include…
  11. The part of my weekly routine I look forward to is…
  12. I feel alive and energetic after I have just…
  13. The community/ world causes I feel most strongly about is…
  14. It may seem impossible today, but my life would be dramatically improve if…
  15. Source: Peak Alliance Blue Printing Exercise

 After you have completed these questions, you can begin to write an outline from your answers, of your personal vision statement. A statement that energizes you and creates a mindset of a positive, meaningful purpose.

Over the past 25 years in practicing my profession, I have grown to appreciate the value of asking powerful questions with my clients. In fact, our firm has developed a systematized process for asking effective questions that help generate meaningful conversations about what matters most to the client. We titled this process – “Purposeful Conversations.” This process or exercise is segmented into three areas of discussion: “What are my concerns and priorities?” “Things I’m committed to,” and “The pursuit of happiness/ life fulfillment.”

This template opens up all kinds of potential discussions that really helps understand what truly matters most to the client. This is done by asking meaningful, effective questions.

Asking questions not only leads to a deeper understanding of a person or a subject matter, but it is a vital ingredient to taking genuine interest in somebody and develop a friendship.

One last note – There is a good rule to live by when somebody asks for your opinion: ask three questions before giving an answer.

I hope you find this article useful. If you have any questions on this subject, feel free to contact me at [email protected].