“Sometimes the questions are complicated and the answers are simple.” - Dr. Seuss
I recently read a quote on Facebook by Mike Klingler, “The answers are in your questions.” If you think about it, whenever you ask yourself a direct question, you will learn that you probably already know the answer. What amazes me is that we often don’t think to ask ourselves because we are blocked against the answer. The answer might stir us to attention and “force” us to make an effort toward our goals.
I write about this because I recently stopped the spinning wheels long enough to ask myself the questions I needed to ask in order to find my answers. A number of different business opportunities have presented in the past couple of months, and one in particular seemed very promising. However, I had a slight tugging feeling that I tried to ignore because I really wanted it to work. Yet somehow I knew in my heart that it might not be the right fit for me or for my company. I stopped and asked myself this simple question, “How do I feel about this opportunity when I imagine the long-term picture?” My answer was simple, “I do not see this in my long-term picture.” WOW, that’s powerful! I didn’t have any feeling necessarily, I just didn’t even see it in my long-term picture.
The next question I ask myself when I get such a strong answer, “OK, so now what?” My answer, again, was simple, “Step back on your path. Trust yourself, ask for what you want and keep moving forward.” This business proposal presented for a number of reasons, including a clear opportunity to change a pattern I nearly allowed myself to repeat, expanding my network and further empowerment. I am a professional, I know where I want to be, and my vision is clear. Now, I need to step back on my path and continue moving forward.
If you trust yourself, you will begin to unravel the old thought patterns and roadblocks you have placed in front of yourself. Every time you take an honest inventory, asking yourself pointed questions and answering honestly, you can begin to take steps toward reaching your goals. When you take an honest inventory, examining every detail with a keen and watchful eye – for example, plants in a nursery – you start to see that not all things are equal, even if they have come in the same container and have the same label. So, if you have 100 potted plants yet only 87 of them are in good enough condition to sell to customers, then your honest inventory reveals 87 potted plants available for sale.
What does your honest inventory reveal to you? What is your question? Do you feel like you have gotten off-track and need to come back but don’t know where to start? Ask yourself the question or questions that lead you to the answer you probably already know. Once you ask and have your answer, you can get to work. If you are blocked and feel you cannot even formulate a question, I can help you, with a few simple steps.
If you have no idea where to start, try any of the following, then proceed to the final step:
Write it Down. Try writing a stream of consciousness journal first thing in the morning. Do it in a dark or dimly lit room, or close your eyes while you write. Ask the questions and answer yourself. Throw all the possibilities into the mix. Ask anything and everything, even what may seem absurd to your rational mind. Write a few pages, set it down and get your day started. When you have a chance to get back to it a little later in the day, read what you wrote; do not judge, just read and let it soak in.
Stop, Drop and (Let It) Roll. If you are feeling panicked or anxious, stop what you are doing. Take a deep breath, drop your thoughts into your belly and ground yourself. Roll your shoulders and move your head and neck around while you take two or three deep breaths. Now ask yourself this question: “What do I feel right now?” Answer honestly. Perhaps you feel fear, anger, resentment, resistance or sadness. Identify your feelings. Now, ask yourself, “What do I want from this situation or relationship?” Answer honestly. If you want a business deal, some sort of satisfaction or a positive outcome, then ask the next question to reveal how you will get what you want.
Make A Commitment To Yourself. Once you have asked the questions and answered honestly, make a commitment to yourself to always be thoughtful and mindful. Commit to asking the questions openly, and to answering them honestly. Trust yourself, believe in your abilities and know you are smart and capable enough to answer your questions.
Now you take action.
Create Your Path. You have asked and answered your questions, now ask yourself, “OK, so what now?” Make a decision based on the answer to that question and stick with it. Decide what you need to do next. Trust that you have chosen well. If you misstep, you will right yourself. Don’t fret over what could happen or whether you made the right decision. Remove the uncertainty and “Just do it, NOW!” Sometimes the hardest thing is not answering the question or taking action, but in ASKING the question. You are beyond that now, so take action and watch your life change with every step you take.
Examine your questions carefully; do not judge, just be honest. Do not complicate the question. Be straightforward, and as Dr. Seuss says, the answer is likely to be quite simple. I wish you the best as you search for your answers, and know you will find them when you start asking the questions.
Blessings. Gratitude. Love.