Have you ever had one of those times when you bump into an old acquaintance or ex-work colleague and you’re chatting away but for the life of you, you can’t remember their name? As you exchange pleasantries your toes are curling because they are asking you how your spouse is, by name and even how your children are, by name. You’re smiling but inside your head is a swirling cyclone of names whilst you are trying to spot the correct one! As you say bye and go on your way again, you face palm your forehead and repeatedly ask yourself “What IS her name??”
Could it be…? Erm..? No. It’s gone.
So, you forget about the chance meeting and carry on with your day. Then, at silly o’clock in the dead of night, your eyes snap open as the name enters your head! That’s it! Of course! And you fall back to sleep, contented and somewhat pleased with yourself for having remembered.
That is your subconscious working for you. You asked it a question and it searched for the answer and found it and delivered it to you when you were relaxed and ready to receive it. It was buried deep and just needed a little time to be found.
Rather like Google. When you type in a question to Google, what happens? It brings you the answer.
I love thinking of my brain being like Google because it is so empowering. When we feel stressed or upset about something, we tend to ask ourselves poor quality questions. Questions which serve to make us feel worse because your brain, being like Google, will simply answer the question you have posed. Example:
- A Lamenting poor quality question may sound like this “Why am I so Fat?”
- Google Brain answer “Because you’re weak and you eat too much cake.” A seemingly highly unhelpful answer and one that may send you spiralling towards the fridge!
With the example above of the chance meeting, you asked “What is her name?” This is a clear quality question to which your brain responded. You commanded your brain with conciseness and it gave you exactly what you needed.
Think about the questions you ask yourself when you are having a bad time of it.
Perhaps you have suffered from procrastination and you haven’t met your business activity goals; or possibly you haven’t managed to hit your income goal in months; or potentially you aren’t attracting the right numbers of clients that you had imagined when you first set up your coaching business.
I hear clients regularly utter questions like “What’s wrong with me?” “Why can’t I seem to attract the right kind of clients?” “Why isn’t my business working out?” “Why can’t I convert prospects into paying clients?”
When you ask these types of negative questions of your Google-brain, you will get the answers that validate their negativity for example “because you’re lazy.” “because you can’t sell”; “because you’re no good and here is the evidence of that…”. Your subconscious will always seek out the answers to validate your current thinking and filter information that is consistent with your beliefs. Thus, becoming self-fulfilling prophecy.
As you ask these poor quality questions you are in that moment believing that you “can’t” or that something is “wrong” with you. So, your brain will search around to find evidence to support your stance to the exclusion of all alternative points of view.
Imagine feeling so frustrated and worried about your lack of paying clients that you inadvertently wail out “Why oh why can’t I convert prospects into paying clients??” You have now implied that you can’t do something; that you are not capable of doing it. Your powerful Google-brain will flex it’s mental muscles and bring forth all the evidence to back up your belief, answers like: “because you have never sold anything in your life; because the competition in coaching is fierce; your dad was right – you are mental giving up your cushy corporate job; because your prospects can sense your trepidation; because statistically by the end of year 3 in business, according to Barclays, half of all new start ups will be no more…” Can you see how your Google-brain could put you out of business before you’ve even begun? How you can frighten yourself silly?
Poor quality questions limit your thinking and restrict your creativity to come up with new and inventive ways of working and achieving your desired goals. Zig Ziglar called it “Stinking thinking”.
You would not type these kinds of questions into your search engine.
You’re more likely to type in and search “How can I work more efficiently?” “How can I source more clients?” “How can I improve my sales confidence?”
Give your brain the same level of conviction in it’s ability to produce the goods. You have your very own powerful search engine. You already own all the good quality, creative and inspired thinking so ask yourself good quality questions and then let your mind wander, almost in a day dream like state. I know we used to get told off for day dreaming but I encourage you to do it. We call great leaders Visionaries, so many of the worlds greatest thinkers, posed their Google-brains a quality question, allowed their minds to wander and were rewarded with the most inspired ideas and inventions of our time.
So here’s the thing, start asking yourself good quality “How can I…improve/ overcome/find a way…?” questions in a calm and reflective state. I find going for a walk or running when ruminating on a good quality question always produces my best answers. The answers are always perfect for me. Stay quiet and listen to what you have to say.
You’ll astound yourself.