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Questions can help you get unstuck

Hi there, I hope you had a wonderful weekend. I’m in a good place: I’ve decided to focus all my time

Work in Progress

October 21 · Issue #5 · View online
The newsletter about work

Hi there,
I hope you had a wonderful weekend. I’m in a good place: I’ve decided to focus all my time on my writing and the international version of my book, GRIP. That also means I’m wrapping up my fantastic job at Blendle. It’s a big step which is mostly exciting, but there’s definitely some sadness involved too. Looking forward to seeing how everything will unfold over the next couple of months.
Now on to today’s topic:

I read somewhere that the Dutch term for “posing a question” is etymologically related to “plowing a furrow”. You dig a furrow to plant a seed: a new idea, a fresh perspective. It’s an image that’s stuck with me. 
We – okay, I – tend to be bent on telling others what we think we know. So asking a question can seem like a detour. But working the soil of ideas can provide a chance to break out of fixed ways of thinking – for yourself and others.
Not long ago, I was talking with a friend about combining my job at Blendle, my book, and spending time with my one-year-old daughter. I went through what I was facing and everything I was considering. When I finished, my friend asked, “If you want to do all this, why don’t you try to do your work for Blendle in even fewer hours?”
Turns out that question was just the nudge I needed for a light bulb moment.
I didn’t need to cut my hours. I didn’t need to find new ways to juggle my responsibilities. A much more drastic decision was necessary: I needed to choose.
I’d been going around in circles on the issue, and the question got me unstuck. Questions can do that. Had my friend just boldly pointed me towards this logical next step, it probably wouldn’t have had the same effect.
Here are some questions to start your week
  • Where do you need to step up this week and take on more responsibility?
  • Take an honest look at your own work. Where are you falling short? Where could you use some help? 
  • What are you looking forward to? Is there a day you’re dreading or are anxious about? Why is that?
  • What did you say yes to when you should have said no?
  • What do you really need to tackle? (These are the things you know need to happen, but which you continue to postpone.)
This will usually give you a sense of what needs your attention. You don’t even have to take action right away. Likely the questions alone planted a seed.
Try asking others for a change
Mondays can be frustrating. After a busy or relaxing weekend, you dive back into work and meetings. Perhaps you’ll face demanding colleagues, students, customers, managers, or patients. 
Resist the urge to respond as you normally do. Today, experiment with posing a question instead. And watch what grows.

Have a good week!

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