In a recent interview, I was asked “what’s the nicest thing anyone has ever done for you?”
I had to chew on this for a minute… but as I began thinking about it, I realized that the nicest thing anyone has ever done for me is to relentlessly ask me WHY.
…And then allow me to ask the same question with as much tenacity in return.
From a very young age, my grandpa would ask me questions that could very well be considered “over my head”, and were likely ones that I was not able to answer.
I can remember so many times sitting down at the dinner table with him and ending up in tears.
I would share a thought, or make a statement and he would want to know Why? Who said so? How did I know? What else had I considered? … He was absolutely RELENTLESS.
But with grace, patience, and a willingness to let me ask every question in return, he showed me not only the power of a great question, but the conviction, confidence and courage that is felt when you do know why.
And he taught me the equally powerful lesson of being able to say “I don’t know”, while remaining open to find out.
I think we commonly fall for the tale that questioning yourself leads to self doubt, and that someone else questioning you leads to friction.
But I would strongly argue the contrary.
I believe it all comes down to the quality of questions that are being asked, and the frame in which you choose to receive them.
A question may not always lead to an answer, but a question always leads to some kind of discovery.
And I find that as a business owner, a steward of my own life, and someone who truly appreciates deep-seated friendships, the ability to ask questions is absolutely invaluable.
To what level of efficiency can something be done if it’s only been done one way?
To what amount of growth can be experienced if there’s no curiosity of new heights?
To what measure of integrity does a structure have if it’s never been tested in the wind?
And to what depth of connection can be achieved if there’s never any talk of what’s beneath the surface?
This week I encourage you to give yourself and someone else the gift of a great question!
…And P.S. Your tone of voice and your ability to listen is a large portion of what makes it great. There is a major difference between interrogation and inquiry with genuine interest.
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