Since sharing my thoughts about The Advice Trap two weeks ago, I’ve continued to think a lot about the way we coach and use questions, and how curiosity is such an important, but often neglected, aspect of leadership. I’ve continued on the Year of Living Brilliantly journey and I’m finding it both helpful and challenging.
Yesterday I received an email from MBS works that really struck me. It talked about the recent full moon being known in China as the Hungry Ghost Moon, and later in the email asked us to thank our hungry ghosts.
And that really resonated with me. I’d had one of those sleeps the previous night which was disturbed, and I couldn’t get back to sleep because my brain kept wandering to those times in my past where I hadn’t lived up to my own expectations. MBS says that perhaps your regrets are there to remind you of a time when you acted to betray something you stand for. So the very next time I have the opportunity, I’m going to thank that ghost, get that lesson ‘in my bones’ so that the ghost can leave me alone. Hey! I’ve got it! Thank you! Now leave!
I’ve also found my brain recalling some earlier podcasts and TED talks, and I remembered hearing Tasha Ulrich talk a couple of years ago about transitioning our questioning from Why to What. She explains that why questions have a direct correlation with negative emotions, and they draw us to our limitations.
On the other hand, what questions keep us curious (that word and emotion again!) and they can help us to create a better future. They can lead us from victimhood and into growth.
She suggests that when you are journaling, spend less time on why things happened or why they happened the way they did. She suggests that we can start this new focus on what by asking three questions of ourselves in our journal:
1. What went well today?
2. What didn’t go quite as well today?
3. How can I be smarter tomorrow?
What journaling techniques do you use to shift to a positive focus?
Are you managing to stay curious?
What are your hungry ghosts asking you?