Powerful Questions

Credit: Pexels / Tookapic

There’s a question in my coaching prep that I can never seem to answer.

Debrief of last week’s inquiry. (a designated powerful question for the week – the power is in the asking of the question – getting curious and inquiring into its meaning for you.)

Before each coaching session, I go through and answer the questions and reflect on what has happened in the time between. It’s so useful, and then I get to this question – the second to last – and I’m just like… what.

2017 was an intense year for me personally and professionally, and of course set against the backdrop of the world ending. I moved to a new country, and like properly-no-longer-nomad moved – after three years of roaming the world. I ended a project that had been a big part of those three years. I committed to posting a photo a day. I travelled a lot and worked a lot more. I learned how to manage managers, worked on getting better at product and strategy, dealt with and helped others through challenges. I was a good friend to some people and a less than great one to others. I embraced some people in my life and let others fade out of it.

I explored the extent of my capacity – taking a ~20 hour a week course on top of my rather more than 40 hour a week job in the middle of the year. But I never quite managed to recharge from that – I went straight from that into a bout of tonsillitis (whilst on vacation in the Galapagos, oh my god) that I recovered maybe 80% from but not completely – until a second round of antibiotics that I took over the new year. I felt like I was drowning in shoulds, lacking the strength or resilience to every really make progress out of the pool.

What does this have to do with powerful questions? When it was clear to me that I was building on a shaky foundation, I embraced the idea – and need – to consolidate first. To go back to and nail the basics – where I live, how I feel, what I do. To take the things that were line items in last year’s list of forty goals and break them out into all the pieces that are required to actually cross them off this time.

And I started looking at things and saying, “is this nailing the basics?” — the flattering invitation, the CfP that I could submit to, the new talk I could prepare. Decisions became easier, and finally…

…finally, I understood the power of the inquiry.