Asking yourself different questions in life helps you to come up with different answers. We tell ourselves the same old stories all the time when we let our subconscious mind rule. When we ask different questions consciously we open up different answers that lead to different actions which can change the course of our lives.
Now, don’t freak out.
These changes can be huge but they certainly don’t need to be to be effective. Small tweaks to the way you live your life can be just as powerful as big changes and in a number of cases it can be far more sustainable.
When you ask yourself different questions you allow for a shift in the way you think about things. If you’re bold enough to ask yourself growth based questions and explore different options and outcomes you also become the proud new owner of a growth based mindset. And that my friend is a powerful tool.
There are two primary mindsets, growth and fixed. Carol Dweck is the original thought leader in this field, you might want to look inter her work if you want to develop your understanding and utilisation of this concept.
Soo... What is a 'mindset'?
Dweck describes a mindset as a self-perception or a self-theory, aka it’s a perception or theory that you have about yourself. It’s what you believe to be true about yourself.
Fixed and growth mindsets in a nutshell…
A fixed mindset is one where you believe that your skills, intellect and abilities are fixed, that you can’t change them. If you’re optimistic this could speak to contentment and complacency, but to me this screams disempowerment and lost opportunities.
A growth mindset is just the opposite.
A growth mindset is one where you believe your talents, intellect and abilities can be developed. Those with a growth mindset tend to achieve more simply because they worry less about looking right and are prepared to learn.
Now you can certainly have your own opinion of which is best, but as a Success Coach and as someone who loves learning and pushing the boundaries of what I’m capable of I would suggest that a growth mindset is critical for your pursuit of success, whatever area of life it pertains to.
I would be lying if I didn’t admit to sometimes falling victim to a fixed mindset, but the good news is that I can exercise my growth mindset to make it dominant and so can you. Asking yourself questions to challenge your thoughts and sometimes more specifically your thoughts about yourself can be incredibly empowering. So let’s give it a try...
PUTTING IT INTO ACTION...
Theory and knowledge aren’t truly useful until you engage them so set aside a few minutes to allow yourself to engage a growth mindset and answer these questions openly and honestly. Make yourself a cuppa, sit on the couch and cuddle your dogs or prop yourself up in your garden in the sunshine, whatever relaxes you and gets your creative juices flowing.
Depending on your current situation you might consider them in either a personal or professional context, it could even be within the context of your self-esteem or relationships. The lens you look through is entirely up to you, just be conscious of your thought process.
Remember – you’re thinking creatively here, outside the box. You don’t have to action what you come up with, you’re simply letting your mind get used to opening up to new ideas about things and about yourself.
finish these sentences to promote conscious thought
The area of life that I’d like to think differently about is…
It would be great if… happened in this area
Things would change dramatically if…
Ultimately I want…
The benefit of this would be…
If I got out of my comfort zone I could…
You know what? Now that I’ve thought of it like this, I could actually…
There you go. You’ve engaged your conscious mind, increased your awareness of a natural inclination to a fixed or growth mindset and hopefully exercised your ability to function from a growth mindset by creating new options and new lines of thought for yourself in a particular area of your life.
What you do now with your answers from this creative exercise is entirely up to you. I’d encourage you to let the rubber hit the road and make the changes you’d love to make. If that seems too big because you really were ‘dreaming without legs’ as they say and have some big changes to make then begin by setting yourself some baby steps (not sure where to start? Read our blog on just that).
If you loved answering these questions it’s highly likely you’d be a great candidate for coaching. Personal Success Coaching is the process of working with a Certified Life Coach (aka me!) to think creatively about how you can live your best life and be your best self, and to overcome obstacles, limiting beliefs and unhelpful mindsets along the way. The aim is to learn about yourself while you set and achieve goals.
If you want an approach more tailored than what this blog has to offer then get in touch!
P.S. If you're not quite done and want to explore more questions... then you'll find just that in our blog 'Questions Successful People Ask Themselves'. Enjoy!
Steph Edmunds is SESC's Certified Professional Life Coach, Speaker and Facilitator.
You can contact Steph here.