You are where you are today partly because of the questions you ask yourself. Your success is determined by many things, taking action being at the top of the list. Before you can take action though, you need to think about what action to take. The questions you ask yourself lead to your actions; so really, your success has a direct correlation to the questions you ask. The most successful people ask the best questions. Many people don’t even realize that they are asking themselves questions in the decision making process.
Each time you go through a decision process there are questions that are asked subconsciously. Sometimes the questions become part of your conscious mind when you are really working hard on something. Both your conscious and subconscious minds work hard to answer questions the best that they can, so by asking quality questions you will get quality answers. I learned this from my first mentor and I use this strategy over and over. Whenever there is a problem, I like to ask myself certain questions that really get me thinking. Often times I do this late at night with a glass of wine or a beer, or sometimes I get up really early and grab some coffee and go out on my deck. What is important is that you are alone and in a comfortable place where you can concentrate. I also like to ask people that I trust the same questions I asked myself to see how they respond.
An example of a recent problem that I am working on is a tenant of mine in Aurora. I have received complaints from several contractors that have done maintenance in this house. They tell me my tenant is really hard on my property and they have so much stuff inside that it is unsafe. I have also received code enforcement notices. I decided that I needed to visit my property, which I almost never do. They had one week notice and I guess that was enough, because the place looked great when I did my inspection. The very next week I received an email from the code enforcement officer with pictures of my tenant parked in their front yard. The easy solution is to get them out, but the problem I have with that is they have been good tenants in the past. They have never paid late and a large portion of their rent is Section 8. I was actually planning on raising their rent, but now am wondering what the best solution is.
For this problem, the solution is not coming to me right away. After spending some time asking myself direct and powerful questions, I have a plan to move forward and I am not stressing out about what I should do.
This strategy works great with problems, but it does not have to be a problem you are trying to solve. It could be something you are trying to accomplish. For me, I am constantly thinking about both building my wealth and Pine Financial, so I ask myself what our next strategic move should be. I also ask these questions to our office so we can brainstorm together. I love working in this office because we work together so well, and are open to talking about the business. If you don’t have an office, you can join or start a mastermind group and get the same results.
Here are some examples of powerful questions you could be asking yourself to come up with great solutions or great strategies for your success:
- What don’t I see?
- What is one thing I can do now to help me accomplish this?
- What is needed to get some momentum?
- What is the worst thing that could happen and how would that impact me?
- What needs to happen here for me to be happy?
- What result helps the people that I care about?
- What two action steps can I take today to move me forward with this?
- What would I be doing (or where would I be looking) if I was a motivated seller? Or more specifically; where would I look if I had a lot of equity in my house and had to sell it fast?
- If I was a tenant in this neighborhood what would I pay extra for?
- What exactly is holding me back?
I want to elaborate a little on the last question. You need answers that help you move forward. Fear is a common obstacle holding people back, but it is a horrible answer, so you would need to dig deeper by asking better questions. For example, if you answer that fear is holding you back, you need to ask yourself what you are afraid of. You want to narrow this down so that your conscious mind understands it and you can consciously address it. You will most likely ask yourself several questions to get the answer you need. I have heard you should ask yourself 4-5 questions even if you are getting good answers. Let’s stick with this example so you can see what I mean. I am going to assume the obstacle is knocking on a door of someone that is in foreclosure to see if they will sell their house.
Q: What exactly is holding me back?
Q: Fear of what?
A: I am afraid that I will get rejected.
Q: What about rejection is scary?
A: I don’t want someone to think poorly of me.
Q: Why would someone think poorly of you?
A: For bothering them when they are in a stressful situation.
Q: What is the worst thing that will happen if you bother someone by trying to help them?
This exercise might be what you need to get over your fear and blast through that glass ceiling that is holding you down. These questions pulled out the fear and made you think about what the fear really is. This will help you think about ways to overcome the obstacle.
You want the questions to be specific and direct enough to get a specific answer, but you want the questions open ended so you limit or eliminate one word answers and get your mind working. Your mind will solve your problems and will help you grow if you lead it.