There are lots of ready-made answers to all kinds of questions. We d not need more answers. Instead, we need to ask more questions — especially the right questions. This is our challenge. Although many experts maintain a mental warehouse of answers, there is no ready inventory of questions. Knowing — and remembering — to ask the right questions, requires us to sit with the soul and use our best wisdom and judgment. What big question will you ask today?
Spirit@Work is an iPhone app that offers 77 words to inspire their leadership and living. Currently free, downloaded, and, when you do, open the app and then shape your phone. It will deliver a word of the day for you to focus on. My word today is, “Questions.”
I am one of those people who have a lot of answers.
A funny episode occurred when my wife and I moved into our first house together and were experiencing our first snowstorm; we needed a shovel to clear a path or back the car out of the driveway. My wife offered to go to Home Depot to pick it up, and I suggested a particular type of shovel.
By the time I arrived home, she had shoveled part of the path; the shovel was left standing in the snow. Oblivious to her dilemma, I cooed, “Hi Honey,” as I walked in.
“Why did I listen to you? My back is killing me! You’ve only lived in apartments. You’ve never had a house! Why would I think you knew what to get?”
Of course, she was right.
I am a recovering “answer addict.” I feel compelled to answer questions instead of reversing the situation and answering a question with a question.
When I worked in recruiting back in the Stone Ages, there were years where the Internet didn’t exist (I told you it was The Stone Ages). To reach someone, you need to call the main number of a company, speak with a human switchboard operator, and be connected with this person. These were the days when calling 411 to get a phone number was common and expensive.
Someone in the office might chirp out the question, “What’s the phone number for . . . “ I always knew the answer. It was part of seeking approval from teachers and school, and my parents always have the correct answer. The office developed the habit of expecting me to answer until, one day, I retrain them.
When someone would ask, I would respond with, “411.” After being quizzed, I told him that I resented being constantly interrupted. I wasn’t going to answer anymore.
So, as a recovering “answer addict,” today I’m going to practice saying to myself, “Why do I feel the need to answer the question for someone? Let me help them figure it out.”
Ⓒ The Big Game Hunter, Inc., Asheville, NC 2021
ABOUT JEFF ALTMAN, THE BIG GAME HUNTER
Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter is a career and leadership coach who worked as a recruiter for more than 40 years. He is the host of “No BS Job Search Advice Radio,” the #1 podcast in iTunes for job search with more than 2100 episodes. He also hosts Job Search TV on YouTube, Amazon and Roku, as well as on BingeNetworks.tv for Apple TV and 90+ smart sets.
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