Why Do I Hate The Question – What Do You Do?
One of the questions I and many others seem to hate is the question; What do you do?
Over the years I have been curious about why certain questions trigger a clear and concise answer whilst others send the recipient into a state of panic.
For me this question used to bring about an instant feeling of shame, frustration and embarrassment.
I now know that is because my system was anticipating a repeat experience of what had happened before. That all too familiar sinking feeling inside, as I started to speak and the blank and disinterested expression drifted over my questioner’s face. Almost as quickly as the words were out I could see that they were not landing and so I changed tact; changed language and still nothing; nada and so I would continue to incompetently meander the many lanes of my life experience and all that 30 years has taught me about motivating change …only to be left hanging.
Only in reality this actual person didn’t respond in that way; they had said very kindly that was interesting and that everyone needs my services. But I am not able to hear this fully because my system has decided to shut down and go on defense because of my past experience.
How to ask good questions?
It is interesting when I work with clients and they say things like; “I hate that question.” or “I was dreading you asking me ‘those’ questions.
It was comments like this that made me curious about what was happening for them in that moment and what kind of question would be a good question for them right?
Sometimes I just say and when you hate that question what kind of question would you like to me ask or when you hate that question what would you like to have happen? Sometimes I just sit and wait and notice what happens next?
Sometimes another question is offered up and sometimes space and time to think is all that was needed.
Every time I am in conversation with someone I am calibrating which questions work for this person in this moment and it can and does change even as we speak. One minute they hate a question and next they love it. (Usually when they know the answer)
And I am no different, so I am always curious about questions I find uncomfortable and I am learning that I don’t have to answer all of them and that there is great value in understanding why a question triggers me.
Getting Permission To Ask Questions
When I first learned the question “What would you like to have happen? ” I loved it. I had not really asked myself what I wanted or been asked it and although the answer did not flow I loved the feeling clarity gave me when I had a solution.
This question for me is the first step to clarity and solution and I love clarity.
So I embrace the question no matter how uncomfortable it is at first to find the answer because I know how I will feel post thinking; reflecting and or talking.
When I came out of training I was so excited by this new feeling I wanted my friends and family to feel it too.
I wanted them to know themselves well and I wanted to know them but turns out that asking questions without permission doesn’t go down too well.
And that people need time to have their story of pain and frustration heard before they are ready to move on to solution and that I had to learn patience and tolerance to listen to the problem for longer than I was naturally comfortable with.
Which is when I started to transition from Strength and Solution Detective to The Listening Detective. I learned the solution for some was simply to be heard. They didn’t want to be fixed or made to feel better they needed a moment to feel the pain; the disappointment and for the emotion to be expressed.
And some simply don’t like questions that they cannot answer instantly with confidence because they think they will be judged and others love a question that challenges their thinking and there have been many variations in between.
The most important defining difference was permission to ask questions.
What I was forgetting is that my clients had paid me to ask questions and when I went on training we had all paid to learn how to ask good questions and listen better so we by default had permission.
Now I clarify my intention and say I have some questions that may or may not give you some insight; Are you happy for me to ask you some questions? If they say no I have to be okay with both them and I not knowing.
Questions love or hate them?
Having explored this in detail with many clients and explored myself why I like some questions and not others I discovered that we each have our own definition of what is a good question which is why we model and explore as a group how to ask good questions on our 3 day retreat Motivate Manage or mentor. (Next retreat is 25th -27th Oct)
If you know you get really uncomfortable answering questions one to one or in groups then it is likely it will impact your relationships, your decisions and your overall success and happiness. We each have a different relationship with questions and our critic has it’s own story and then we have those emotional triggers that we just can’t seem to control that result in our blushing, stuttering or in my case waffling.
Question of the week
This week I noticed a sense of relief as I finally had an answer to the question:
What do you do?
Up to this point that question would fill me with dread and I always hated the torrid of verbal diarrhea that poured out of my mouth because I felt that I just could not get myself understood, and that meant I couldn’t help as many people as I wanted to.
I know that 10,000 people woke today with private tears and frustration because a boss said you need to speak up more or you need more confidence and yet they weren’t able to ask the all important questions to gain clarity of what defines more and what is their definition of confidence?
I break down the barriers that prevent individuals from being heard and understood so that they can live with clarity and confidence in themselves and their decisions.
I would love your feedback – does this response resonate with what you think I do? Do you think I have nailed it? Is there anything missing?
When we are on our own or in groups questions are asked and we either choose to respond or we don’t and whatever we decide has an impact on us and those that matter to our success and happiness. I don’t want you or anyone you know ever to feel stuck, isolated and on their own with a problem when a change in style of listening could be all they need to have the confidence to listen to and trust their own inner wisdom.
And please let me know what do you do?
Do you love or hate that questions?
The Listening Detective (aka The Strength and Solution Detective)
For A Better Perspective Call The Listening Detective
Founder of Step by Step Listening, Sheryl Andrews has always been keen to create space where other people felt safe to speak their truth no matter what that was. She is well known for her ability to motivate, manage and mentor others through change and loves nothing more than helping others feel heard understood and of value by training them in the art of non-judgmental listening and practical ways to turn overwhelm and frustration into a clarity and confidence.
At Step by Step Listening we are not always the right support and sometimes the first step is understanding what you want; what you don’t want and what kind of resource or support you need right now.
Our goal is to leave you with clarity and confidence in yourself, your decision and your next best step for now.
We runs retreats, one to one coaching and online group coaching course to suit every budget; style of learning and location. Space and time to gain clarity, focus and direction whilst developing your ability to listen to yourself and others without judgement or assumption.
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