Monday, October 16, 2017

Asking the Right Questions

Asking the Right Questions

by Janet M. Shlaes, PhD

The questions you ask determine your reality and your results. What types of questions do you regularly ask? Do they tend to get you the results that you truly want? The types of questions you regularly ask determine your focus, the information you seek and take in, your overall experience in the world and, most importantly, your results. Leaning to ask the right questions is both a process and an evolutionary journey. Asking questions with conscious intention can result in creativity and next level results. This bold claim holds true across professional and personal realms. A few of my favorite questions that lead to collaboration, enthusiasm, creativity and results include, but are not limited to, the following questions.

If anything were possible, what result would we want to accomplish? This type of question immediately puts us in a “visioning,” rather than a “problem solving” state of mind. The question doesn’t ignore that problems exist; it powerfully puts people in the space of what might be possible when everyone is committed to the same outcome goal. I have personally found that this question is highly effective in both the professional and personal realms and fully aligns with the Appreciative Inquiry model (one of my favorite approaches to creating). An added bonus is that problems, potential and imagined, tend to be eliminated or solved with this approach.

What type of discussion would be the best use of our time? Another version of this is “What type of conversation has the best chance of getting us what we want?” These types of questions are useful when a conversation progresses into a conversation of who is right or wrong or a “blaming” conversation. Asking these questions or some other version of them empowers participants to step back and reboot the conversation to one that has a higher probability of moving the project and/or the relationship forward.

The questions you ask determine your reality and your results. What types of questions do you regularly ask? What types of results do you want to achieve?

For addition insights and observations, I invite you to check out the following posts:

Optimal Performance Fundamentals 
Making a Difference

Monday, August 28, 2017

Empty Space: The Gateway to Creativity and Presence

Written by Janet Shlaes, PhD

“Creativity involves breaking out of established patterns in order to look at things in a different way.” ~ Edward de Bono

What do you do when faced with the reality of empty space, dedicated time without external distractions? If you’re like most people, truly empty space might leave you feeling a bit edgy, wondering what you might be missing. What you might not fully realize is that this selfsame empty space is essential to the creative process. The most powerful insights and inspired musings take place in the empty spaces where we are not faced with a myriad of external diversions.

Please be assured that I am not suggesting that we give up any of the gifts of technology, beauty, nature and relationships. What I am suggesting is that when you intentionally incorporate empty space into your day, you will ultimately be more fully present to every aspect of your life. Commit to incorporating a bit of empty space into each day and just notice what it feels like. Start small, a mere five minutes to begin with and expand your empty space over time. Some possibilities include:

1.     Walking to your next destination without looking at or using your smartphone,

2.     Setting aside dedicated time each day to just think about whatever comes to mind,

3.     Journaling about whatever comes to mind in the moment,

4.     Formally scheduling empty space time in your calendar.

What are some gifts that might wait for you via incorporating some empty space into your life?


For addition insights and observations, check out the following posts:

If You're Asking the Question
Joy of Single Tasking

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Beginner's Mind Benefits

Written by Janet Shlaes, PhD

Have you ever had the experience of arriving at your destination oblivious to what transpired between the time you left and the time you arrived? Perhaps you were focused on some unsolved problem, a prior interpersonal exchange or maybe you were just too tired to focus your attention on your surroundings. If this is your usual experience, you’re not alone. It’s common to move through your daily routine unmindful of the potential gifts in your seemingly ordinary surroundings.

I offer you an alternative to this unaware state of mind – embodying a Beginner’s Mind way of moving through the world. Beginner's Mind embodies the qualities of openness, enthusiasm, creativity, optimism and awe. Young children exemplify the Beginner’s Mindset, seeing and experiencing their world through freshness and wonder. Through Beginner's Mind, one is able to take in what is present in the moment. Things that adults characteristically ignore or take for granted become opportunities for curiosity, engagement and wonder. Beginner’s Mind empowers you to co-exist in the familiar from multiple perspectives - seeing beyond the surface to experience the formerly ordinary as extraordinary. 

Where in your life could you benefit from embodying a Beginner’s Mindset? I invite you to try this out for a week or two or three and notice the shift in the quality of your experience in the world.


For addition insights and observations, I invite you to check out the following posts: