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Questions That Spark Insight


I got a call from a friend I used to coach some years ago. He is the CEO of a $5B company. He expressed concerns over his much cherished relationship with her daughter who is turning thirteen. As the teen hood becomes real, the girl is pulling away. The entire problem seemed to be the girl’s growing up issues, until we generated some questions over the call.

I believe these questions are worth reflecting upon. I myself was left humbled upon going through these questions. And so I thought to share it with you too.

  1. Do I listen enough or am I quick to solve?

  2. Does she really want an answer or a conversation?

  3. Do I push too hard?

  4. Do I hover around too much in her space?

  5. What is she the best at?

  6. Do what i want her to be best at interferes with what she is best at?

  7. Do I acknowledge her strengths enough?

  8. How is she better than me?

  9. What do her eyes say when she expresses concern?

  10. How can I be present to see what I am missing?

  11. What does my schedule say matters most to me?

  12. What are her greatest worries? Do I know?

  13. How well do I know who she is?

  14. Who would she be if her last name wasn’t yours?

  15. What is uniquely independent about her?

  16. When do her eyes sparkle with joy?

  17. What are her greatest areas of independence from me?

  18. What has she learned lately from her own experience?

  19. What does a Dad’s love mean to her?

By the end of this conversation, both of us had tears in our eyes. If you have a daughter, and once you reflect on these questions, you’ll know why.

I learnt something more too. Here it is:

  • The kind of questions we usually ask ourselves justifies our actions and evades responsibility.

  • We don’t feel the other person. We try to think them.

  • Questions themselves can be the answer, provided we understand another person’s perspective.

  • Your calendar reveals the real you.

  • We hardly ever pay attention. We are too busy thinking what things mean.

  • Logic doesn’t change the way a loved one feels. Period.

Make a difference. Ask questions that reveal an insight, not justify a position.

Chetan Walia

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