Written by David Gill
Try this with a problem of yours:
1. Think of the concern. Take some time to notice the question you are asking yourself that sponsors the problem. Eg How can I get all this work done? Write it down on paper.
2. Notice how it feels in your body, the sensation and location of it, then rank it on a scale of 1 = not useful to 10 = useful/empowering. Write the number down.
3. Evolve the question. Change a word, or brainstorm a completely new question, even if it seems radical or silly. Eg How can I get some of this work done? How can I get started on this? What’s the easiest thing to get started on? What would be a way to make my next step more fun? Write a new question down now and just notice any slight differences.
4. Keep writing questions and ranking them 1 to 10 until you find one that feels lighter and more empowering – even if it moves from a 3/10 to a 6/10 that is significant.
5. If you suddenly feel overwhelmed or tired, that is a sign some change is happening as is any lighter or freer sensation. If you need, take a short break, get a drink of water, have a stretch, hug a pet, but come back to it and squeeze out two more draft questions and notice if there is further shift to 7 or 8/10.
In a coaching session I usually get clients to stay until we find a 10/10 question that completely transforms how they think and feel about an issue. Sometimes the new question causes them to ‘space out’ and they forget what the problem was. This is because the area of the brain where the problem is ‘running’ – like a computer programme is not the same area where the solution is to be found.
Once I had a client who ran out of time at the 7/10 point. I tasked them with going away and writing further questions down over the next few days. They were there because of workplace stress. I got a phone call a few days later “Now I realise what my problem question was”, they said. “How can I make everyone happy”. All they had to do was to change one word. “How can I make me happy”. Suddenly they did not need to find a new app or a better system for their business. They decided to close their business and retrain in a completely different field. Unconsciously they were trying to please a parent who had expectations of them. Now they were free to choose their own path.
You never know where a new Core Transforming Question will take you. For me it shifted from “How can I get these students to concentrate” to “What parts of this subject might be most compelling for them”? And that changed the way in which I began my lessons. It’s evolved since then to “Why might this be cool to learn”? But the questions change regularly, sometimes daily. Whenever I get stuck, I know I need to change the question. The same goes for when I am learning something for myself. I am a why learner. I always need to figure out why I should learn something before I can learn the what, the how, or the what if.