I'm working on two online courses I'm planning for the fall (more on that coming soon) and thinking a lot about the power of questions in career and professional development. We think that development is about finding answers, but I would argue that it's largely about the questions we ask.
There are three characteristics of good career questions. They should:
- Be compelling and provocative. The best career questions drive you to learn more or try something different.They engage you at the level of your passions and what is important. You'll know a "flat" question when you see it. It will bore you. Compelling questions encourage you to dive in and find answers.
- Provide you with clarity. As I discussed earlier this week, we should always be seeking career clarity. A good career question helps you find clarity about yourself and/or your career situation. It helps you pare down to the essentials so you can focus on what's really important to you.
- Lead you to new solutions and ideas. Often if you feel trapped in a situation, it's because you are asking yourself the wrong questions, questions that either keep leading you back to the problem with no solution in sight or questions that lead you to the same old solutions. This is why I believe so strongly in using positive questions to drive your career and professional development. They open up new ways of thinking and new possibilities. They help you build on what works and what you want more of, rather than focusing you on deficits and problems.
Questions are what drive us to action and to new learning. Paying attention to the questions we ask ourselves and taking the time to construct for ourselves the RIGHT questions can be a powerful strategy for moving us forward and providing us with the energy we need for new insight and motivation.
What questions are you asking yourself? Do they have these characteristics?