Posts Tagged ‘answers’

Looking for Answers? Why Sometimes the Question IS the Answer.

Monday, October 10th, 2011

Do you have a “Change Agent” in your life?

You know. The kind of person who spurs you on past challenges, encourages you to take chances, and forces you to get real with yourself?

The really good ones manage to do it by getting you to believe it was all your own idea in the first place.

Throughout my life, I’ve had several of them. Some I’ve had to pay for the privilege.  But with some, its part of the privilege of their friendship. My friend’s name is Ray Justice.

Some Change Agents get you going by placing a ‘big boot’ up your lazy fanny.  These are the kind that end up telling you what you didn’t necessarily want – but absolutely needed – to hear.  You find yourself catapulted into things you never dreamed of doing before.

Other Change Agents soothe you along, offering tea and sympathy.  They’ll help you pick up the scattered pieces to make something new out of the old –  and end up convincing you that it looks much better that way anyway.

In Ray’s case, it’s neither. You see, Ray’s particular gift of provocation is as charming as it is disarming. He simply asks great questions.* Not only does Ray ask great questions, he asks them with such a genuine and innocent curiosity that there is no point in trying to wriggle out of answering them.

Frequently leading with, “Now, you don’t have to answer me, but I’m just curious . . .”   he follows up with some ridiculously simple question. Like, “Have you ever (considered, thought about, asked yourself) what you are not paying attention to in this situation?”  And then, he just shuts up, raises his eyebrows and looks at you.

OMG! Of course, I hadn’t ever considered (“what did he just ask me?”) before.

But I sure am now.  In fact, I’m positively, compulsively considering, thinking about, and asking myself  “whatever?” And sometimes I’ll go on thinking about it for days . . . often with the worst case of mental indigestion imaginable. It’s like trying to riddle out a Zen koan, for God’s sake!

Now the reason I bring this up? A few years ago, his question to me ended with, “What you could teach me?”

My short answer to this was, in fact, not so short. It turned out to be a pretty inexhaustible list. Because it depends on what you want to know, I guess.

Which brought me to my own questions, “Why would anyone want to learn that? What’s in it for them?”

I mean, just because you could teach me how to crochet a Nativity Scene doesn’t mean I’ll be rushing onto E-Bay in search of a yarn sale anytime soon.

So the drift between what I can teach – I make a mean pot roast, by the way – and what you might want to learn from me might be an important thought to consider.

And so in launching our blog, Jim and I both spent a lot of time considering what our collective answer to that question might be.

So this is our answer and it begins with a question . . .

Now, and you don’t have to answer us, but we’re  just curious . . . have you ever considered  . . . or  thought about . . . or asked yourself . . . what would you like to learn?

Okay, I’ll just shut up now and look at you – and yes, that’s expectation you see on my face! Because your question is our answer to what we can teach you.

And if you’re not quite sure yet . . . please, check back frequently because you might just get the answer to the questions you didn’t know you had.

*Several years ago Ray created a wonderful website, Discovery Questions– a free creative self-discovery tool based entirely upon questions. Make sure to check it out!