Ok, that’s peeked your interest, so I'd better deliver on that promise. The reason I titled the post that, is because effective use of this word can really help you solve any problem.

When I first heard it – I almost dismissed it, as can often be the case when things are so simple. So, before I reveal it, I need to give you some context around why this will work. 

Our minds – I like to think - operate a bit like the Google search function. What we put into them will yield the results that we get back.

For example, if you say something like this to yourself – and we all do talk to ourselves by the way, even if you don’t want to admit it out loud:

“Why do I always get passed up for promotion?” or, “Why do I never get the exciting projects?

Your ‘Google-mind’ will go off and give you the answers like “because you’re not likeable/smart enough/hard working enough/life isn’t fair/your boss is a t***!” – fill in the blanks.

If you were simply to understand this next suggestion (and really get it) you will go very, very far.

Simply ask – HOW?

What? That’s it, you say Hari. All that build up for that!?

Look, by asking how something can be achieved, your ‘Google-mind’ will go off – quite unconsciously too – and search for the answers. 

How can I position myself to stand the best chance of promotion? How can I improve my skill set so they have to promote me? How can I make the life of my boss easier so I show I’m worthy of promotion? How can I ensure I’m the one they ask for the exciting projects? How can I show that I’m the expert on this matter and so best suited for this project?

Solve any problem with this word
Photo: Tim Bogdanov

Other phrases can also work. For example, what do I have to learn to ensure I’m going to be on that project? What skills do I have to demonstrate to show I’m ready for a promotion?

I find that how generally works for most things. And not just business or work related.

I never liked doing the ironing (who does?). So rather than say to myself: “Why do I have to do the ironing?” Or, “this sucks. I hate the ironing!” I asked myself, “How can I set this up so I enjoy the process and use my time best?”

What came back? Buy more shirts! Yep – I have 20+ work shirts so that I would only need to iron once a month in bulk. Then to use my time best I would position the ironing board in front of the TV and catch up with a movie or an episode of something I’m interested in or an online training course.

The same with doing the dishes. Again – a necessary evil, even if you use a dishwasher (I rarely do as most of my morning mess is from juice making and smoothie making and they don’t go in there for the most part!).

“How can I make this more enjoyable and not feel like a chore?” The answer? “Subscribe to some interesting podcasts and/or have some cool audio trainings on the phone and listen to them as you wash up”.

You get the idea... I can't stress just how powerful this strategy is. Ask a better quality question and you will get a better quality answer. It's that simple. It may say trite to say this, but it's just so powerful. I invite you to experiment with this over the next week. Let me know how you get on too...

Do you ever do this anyway? Please comment and let me know you're out there! 

 

 

Hari Kalyminos, Leadership Speaker and author of 'The thought gym'.

Photo Credit: John Towner
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