Why Do I Hate The Question – What Do You Do?

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?

Kind Regards


The Listening Detective (aka The Strength and Solution Detective)
For A Better Perspective Call The Listening Detective

Sheryl Andrews – 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.

But what many didn’t know is that in private behind closed doors she was not always able to do that for herself, she was fearful of upsetting others and often did not ask for her own needs to be met. She was no stranger to lapses in self- belief and an overwhelming sense of not being good enough. A mother of a blended family of 5, a business owner and friend she was often surrounded by people who cared about her but she found it hard to ask for help. That was until she hit crisis point and found herself on the floor sobbing wondering why she could help others but couldn’t help herself. That day her husband asked her what she would tell her clients to do. The Solution was to attend her own programmes and step by step learn to take her own advice. That was back in 2011 and now she continues to be someone that is consistently walking her talk. Sheryl says; “Change is always uncomfortable and our system naturally resists it; the solution is not avoiding change; but learning to embrace it and developing the right support network to get you through it”

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.

For regular updates and examples of how listening skills can resource you to manage yourself, time and others through change check out Free Success without stress newsletter


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Becoming A Better NetWorker

Becoming a better networker











Whether you are networking online or offline it can bring with it so many challenges when it comes to communicating and getting yourself heard and understood.

For those of us with a more sensitive disposition the constant rejection and lack of acknowledgement can take it’s toll.

Do you find yourself writing status and then editing and re writing posts worried about how they will be taken?

Do you speak at networking events and then spend the rest of the day berating  yourself for not being clear enough; confident enough or good enough?

I want you to know that you are not alone and I feel like that too. Yep even now; I get the odd wobble. Sometimes my critic and my emotional buttons get the better of me and I lose confidence to speak. Continue reading Becoming A Better NetWorker

I Just Can’t Find The Words

I Just Can’t Find The Words











One of the hardest things to articulate, can be to express how we feel.

Emotions can be like waves lapping gentle against the shore and they can be like a tsunami crashing and pushing everything else out of the way and then they can be this indescribable sensation that makes us behave that doesn’t make sense of who we are or who we want to be.

Clean Language as a questioning technique gives you access to questions that help you pay attention to those sensations by asking questions like; Where is that feeling? Does that feeling have a shape or size? Is that feeling inside or outside? That feeling is like what? Continue reading I Just Can’t Find The Words

A Pathway to Peace

A pathway to peace






This week I was very honored to share space with a gentlemen who will remain anonymous but for whom I am really grateful to have met.

We met just 4 months ago at a local networking event. He instantly resonated with something I had said in my 60 seconds and we arranged to a call to chat some more.

Three sessions later we were sat in my office celebrating the change he had achieved.

I asked; “What was happening for you when we met?

He said “I felt lost and in a place I didn’t want to be. I didn’t know where to go or where to turn. The future felt hopeless and I could not see the light at the end of the tunnel. Then the universe put you in front of me” Continue reading A Pathway to Peace

I Just Don’t Want To Talk About It

I Just Don’t Want To Talk About It











We often hear people say it is good to talk; but sometimes it really isn’t. Sometimes it is best for us to take time to clarify our thoughts before we speak and yet so many tell us to talk about how we feel. Some like me talk to think; and others think to talk.

External processors

For the external processors like me it is often quite useful to talk out what we are thinking but the person listening needs to have a thick skin. They need to be able to listen to things without taking them personally. They need to be able to listen without judging that I am waffling and not getting to the point fast enough or complaining that what I am saying makes no sense. I am not talking for you to understand; I am talking for me to do understand. I am quite often metaphorically sorting through my thoughts and all I need is for someone to ask questions and repeat back something I have said to help me notice what I am actually saying. But it doesn’t work to interrupt and correct me. Continue reading I Just Don’t Want To Talk About It

Healing My Heart

Healing My Heart







My painting of comfort and joy

Today is a quiet day for me. My heart feels so much better already and I am now mentally prepared to hear whatever the Dr’s have to say. I feel okay. I am no longer scared I now see hospital and their teams as part of my support network. Thank you to everyone who stepped forward and helped.

Thank you to everyone who stepped back and gave me space. 
I know it wasn’t easy for many of you as many would have wanted to be able to ‘do’ something and yet your doing nothing was your something. It gave me space and time to be.

Continue reading Healing My Heart

My Heart Is Broken

My Heart Is Broken











For those that don’t know yet I was recently told that the bottom of my heart is not working properly; it is not opening fully. Whilst I know the medical profession are talking about the ‘physical’ heart and I am working with them to heal that on a physical level; by resting, changing my food and lifestyle.

I am also being curious about what am I not opening up my heart to right now or what or who am I holding in my heart right now that is causing this heaviness. Or what am I opening my heart to that could damage it; both physically and emotionally. I am really listening to what my body and heart are trying to tell me that I am not hearing or didn’t hear? In this moment I am so grateful for knowing what kind of listening I need and who is best to provide it and to be able to ask for the support I need in this moment. Continue reading My Heart Is Broken

Many Rooms Within Us

many rooms within us











The Listening Experience

One of the most amazing rewards of being a trained listener is that I get to listen to some amazing people; who have the most amazing resources within them. As they tap into their inner wisdom the words flow and sometimes they are their own words; sometimes they are words from something they have read or heard that captures how they feel; other times they cannot be sure of the source only that the words make sense of their own experience now in this moment.

You may have read my recent article called “You welcomed me” written by one of my clients who wishes to remain anonymous. Continue reading Many Rooms Within Us

You Welcomed Me




You Welcomed Me

I recently I received this text from one of the ladies I met many years ago when I first set up my business. It started with a chat in my kitchen and she went on to attend some of our courses online.  I am so touched by her words to describe what happened and the impact of our time together that I wanted to share with you as a reminder of how important it is that we have time, patience and resilience to listen to those that matter to us most. Continue reading You Welcomed Me

How To Manage Resentment

How To Manage Resentment

Resentment in the dictionary is defined as “bitter indignation at having been treated unfairly.”

It was one of those emotions I often liked to pretend I did not experience because I just wanted to be seen as a lovely, kind and caring person inside and out.

But it really bloody hurts when you feel that you have been treated unfairly and often we are totally justified to feel resentment or resentful.  The difficulties come with what happens next. If you hang onto resentment almost denying that is how you feel it can fester inside. Therefore, how you process and then act on your emotions determines your efficiency and your effectiveness. Continue reading How To Manage Resentment