Some of my best ideas hit me in the shower. I’ll be singing away, shampooing my hair when. . . BAM! A great idea pops into my head and I have to jump out of the shower and write it down. This is not always a good thing, say when my in-laws are over and I run naked through the house looking for a pen and paper! Maybe I need to keep a pad of paper in my bathroom for such emergencies. Ya think?
Whether you’re driving in rush hour traffic, watching a movie, or in the shower like me, great ideas come when you least expect them. This is because your mind is constantly seeking answers to questions you have posed at one time or another. Which is why it’s SO important that you ask the best possible questions.
Asking great questions is all about perception. The most common question I get from entrepreneurs is, “How do I get the money to build my company.” Right away you can see that their perception is off – they assume that they need to raise money before they can put a plan into motion.
A better question would be, “How can I build my company with little or no money?” Beautiful! In that simple reframing obstacles are removed (financing) and the person asking the question is empowered. (I’m starting this business today, man.) With the better question the perception changes and money is no longer necessary.
Better questions take practice. Here are my two best tips for asking the type of questions that will generate those light bulb moments you’ve been waiting for:
Go For The End Goal
Look, you may think you know exactly how to get from point A to point B, but I guarantee you’re going to hit a few road blocks and detours along the way.
Did you know about the new superhighway that could get you there ten times faster? No? That’s right, you were too busy trying to map out every little step and missed it entirely. Rather than ask a question about how to make it to the next step, just go for the gold and ask how to make it the end goal.
For example, if your goal is to develop a national franchise, your question may initially be, “How can I start my own shop?” Seems like the logical first step, right? Maybe not. If instead you asked about your end goal – “How can I develop a national franchise?” – you might discover a way to franchise your idea right out of the gate.
Work With What You’ve Got
Weak questions are really centered on lack. “How can I get something I don’t have in order to make my dreams a reality?” Again, a better question would be “How can I make my dreams a reality?” There the focus is on the end goal. But let’s take it one step further.
Structure your questions so that you’re asking how to get to your end goal with what you’ve got. It’s the “You Are Here” approach to asking questions. When you look at a shopping directory at the mall the little arrow tells you where you are so that you know how to get where you’re going. You start from where YOU ARE and figure out how to get where you’re going.
So ask questions like, “How can I make my dreams a reality with just a library card and a great idea?” That’s a good one. I’d like to see the answer to THAT question. The mind will figure it out, and more often than you realize, it will be genius.
Start asking better questions, and you’ll absolutely get better answers. In fact, you’ll get answers that knock your socks off. And just in case you get one in the shower, make sure you’ve got a pen a paper handy. . . or at least put a robe on before you bolt out of the bathroom!