Hey warriors! It was my birthday last week and for me, that means time to reflect and dream. I reflect over the past year, what I’ve accomplished, where I’ve grown and what I’ve learned.
I pause to reflect and do a bit of self analysis, as without awareness, we are running on autopilot.
I do this by asking myself powerful questions. Questions like: Am I showing up as a mom the way I want to? How am I showing up as a wife? As a business owner? How am I showing up in my community? Am I leading the way I want to be leading? How do I feel most days?
This brings me to today’s topic of powerful questions. We ask ourselves questions all day every day. We may not be aware of it but boom! That’s what I’m here for, to shine that light of awareness on some of our habitual behaviors. The first step towards any sort of growth is awareness. We can’t change or improve upon what we don’t know or what we don’t see.
I’ve spoken a lot about the importance of listening in to the thoughts we tell ourselves every day. If you’re a long-time reader, you know we have between 60-85 thousand thoughts a day. Most of these thoughts are automatic and so we end up living our lives on repeat; day after day. When we tell ourselves the same things in our heads over and over, we end up taking routine, habitualized actions, which leads to the results we are seeing in our lives.
Some of our habitualized thoughts are in question form and so, we end up asking ourselves questions all day long: like how will I get this all done? Why doesn’t anyone help me? Why am I so unmotivated? What am I going to eat today? Why is my life so hard? Why don’t I do what I want to do?
Today I want to bring focus on why it’s so important to pay attention not only to the thoughts we’re thinking but also to the questions we are asking ourselves.
Our brain is an amazing supercomputer. It continually looks for evidence to support the thoughts we are thinking. It works and works until it finds what it thinks we’re asking it to find. When we ask it a question, it’s like it goes on warp speed to work to find the answer.
If you ask why am I so lazy it comes back with all sorts of answers. When you ask why am I so lazy, it looks to find answers for you. It may come up with “because no one helps you”, or “because you’re overweight and have no energy” or “your parents never taught you how to feel motivated” and on and on and on.… Where do those answers lead you? Into a feeling state of heaviness and more inaction (the result being you don’t do what you want to do and feel even lazier!)
When we ask disempowering questions, we get disempowering answers!
A disempowering question I used to frequently asked myself was why do I always have so much to do? My brain had all sorts of disempowering answers for me: because no one else does it as well as you, because you don’t have focus, you don’t do things fast enough, you’re not well organized….and on and on….
This is why I wanted to do a post on learning how to ask powerful questions today. Paying attention to the questions we are asking our brain to answer is an important component of living a life we love.
Instead of asking why am I so unhappy and waiting for our brain to come back with some harsh answers, why not flip it? Ask how can I be happier? The higher quality the question, the higher quality the answer will be and the higher quality your life will be. Here are 2 steps to get started.
Step 1- Slow down
First, slow down and listen to your brain. Determine which questions you are asking your brain to find answers to on a routine basis? Seriously think about it now. What are some questions you ask yourself on a regular basis? I find that most people have general varieties of the same questions that they ask themselves in certain areas of their lives. For example, if someone is trying to lose weight they may discover that they consistently ask themselves why can’t I lose weight? Or why is losing weight so hard for me?
Those are not questions you want your brain to find answers to as it won’t get the results you want. Asking your brain to find reasons as to why you can’t lose weight is not helpful. Your brain will come up with excuses such as because your husband keeps buying that ice cream, because my family is big boned, because I have no will power, because I quit things, etc… none of these thoughts inspire you to keep taking action. Which questions are you asking yourself on a routine basis? How about around work, business or the house?
Whatever your question is, decide if it’s empowering and if it isn’t, move on to step two.
Step 2- Turnaround
Step two is where we get deliberate about the powerful questions we are asking and I call it the turnaround.
It means exactly that, you turn your question around. Flip it on its’ head. Instead of why doesn’t anyone listen to me, ask I wonder how I could get people to listen to me. Instead of why can’t I lose weight, I wonder how I can lose weight? Instead of asking why is food always a struggle for me, ask I wonder how I can no longer struggle with food. The trick here is to get your brain to work for you, in a positive, powerful, and helpful way. Start asking yourself: What’s a more empowering question I could ask my brain? How can I get my brain to work for me, to find an answer that helps me? How could I ask myself a question I want my brain to answer?
It can be that simple. Discover what you’re asking yourself and turn it around.
I do want to let you know of a little trick our brain often tries so that it doesn’t derail you.
One of our brain’s main motivators is to conserve or save energy. It can do this by stopping our question in its track. If it stops the question it can rest and eat its’ bon bons. It doesn’t need to search and find answers for how you can live a magnificent life. Want to know how it does this? It does this by answering your question with “I don’t know”.
Saying I don’t know is like putting a brick wall up in front of your brain. Your brain is like a computer. Saying I don’t know is akin to unplugging it. When we say I don’t know, our brain hears, task completed. No need to look further. Rather say “I’ll think about it” or “Huh, I’m interested in figuring that out” or “I wonder what I’ll discover” or “I can’t wait to find out”.
I want to pause here because I hear you all like specific examples so here’s one.
Say you’re reading this blog post and realize you ask yourself why doesn’t anyone care what I have to say? You’ve decided to change to a more powerful question of I wonder why no one listens to me or how can I get people to listen to me? Your brain may be inclined to say “I don’t know” and then innocent human you goes back to doing what you’ve been doing. NOPE!
Instead try saying I’m interested in discovering how to get people to listen to me when I speak. Or, I’ll think about how to speak or start conversations so that I have others attention. Another example is if you discovered you ask yourself why can’t I lose weight and you’re changing your question to how can I lose weight without so much drama? And here your brain wants to say I don’t know instead, say: I’m interested in discovering how to lose weight without a struggle. Or, I’m excited to figure out how to lose weight without all the drama. Doesn’t that sound like more fun?
All right warriors, I would love to know which questions you ask yourself every day and which ones you’re going to start asking. Share by telling me in the Warrior Woman Facebook group or by posting a comment on today’s post.
You know how I love homework, how about you pick one powerful question to ask yourself every day until the next podcast episode? Here are some ideas if you need help.
“How can I have fun today?”
“What can I do to laugh a lot today?”
“How can I care for myself today better than I did yesterday?”
“How can I make myself a priority so I have more to give others?”
“What do I love about myself?”
“What is going well in my life right now?”
“How can I be kind to my body today?”
“How can I have fun while doing my household tasks today?”
If you want great answers, ask great questions!
Let’s go warriors!
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