My favourite questions #3

We’re back with the rundown of some of my favourite questions and this time around there’s a bonus follow-up question. Let’s get started with the snappy yet super powerful question:

What assumptions am I making?

We can ask this in almost any situation to help gain some perspective. Often the assumptions we make about a situation put up barriers in front of us and prevent us taking action. By identifying the assumptions we’re making, we can start to open up our thinking about what options or opportunities are available to us.

I find this question particularly useful to ask when I feel reticence about something, for example when I second guess myself about sharing my work or writing about a particular topic. I might assume that nobody’s interested, that my take isn’t valuable, or that everyone knows it already.

Having identified the assumptions I’m making I can then flip them on their heads to identify a liberating alternative and use that to frame what Nancy Kline calls an incisive question. In the case of my earlier example, that incisive question might be:

If I knew my work would be received favourably what would I do?

These incisive questions are made up of three parts:

  1. If I knew…
  2. the liberating alternative to our assumption
  3. what would I think or feel or do?

Next time you’re stuck or limiting your thinking, try to identify the assumptions you’re making and ask an incisive question to help change your perspective and broaden the horizon.


Featured image by engin akyurt on Unsplash

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about emma

I am a coach and facilitator helping people to pause, reflect and make conscious choices about what comes next. In my writing I explore themes of personal development, reflective practice and what it means to live well.