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Change Your Questions, Change Your Life: 7 Powerful Tools for Life and Work Paperback – May, 2004
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About the Author
Marilee G. Adams, Ph.D.
Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.
Have you ever had an experience that you look back upon and say, before this moment my life was one way, after it another? Just such a moment in my own life became the seed for this book and what I now call QuestionThinking. Now, over twenty years later, I still look back at that time with gratitude. By now the work it inspired has impacted not only my life but that of many others. Let me share with you the story of that life-altering moment.
I can recall it as if it were yesterday. I was on the phone with my Ph.D. advisor, waiting for feedback on some work I felt great about. Holding my breath, I waited for Hallocks praise. Instead, I heard him say, "Marilee, this is just not acceptable."
My stomach did a somersault. Did I hear him right? In those days, critical comments like my advisors often left me in tears. For years I had worked to silence my inner critic and become more accepting of myself. While Id made some progress, I hadnt seen great evidence that my efforts had been fruitful. But at this moment, something occurred that felt like a miracle.
Instead of the old tearful reaction, I became calm and curious. With ease, I responded to my advisor, "Okay, how do I fix it?"
An observer part of me watched all this and asked incredulously, Was that me? What had happened? How was I able to switch my mood so easily? Resolving to figure it out, I also wondered: Could this seeming miracle be turned into a method to pass along to others?
I discovered that what had happened was a fundamental change in the kinds of questions I usually asked myself. The old me asked mostly worried questions, such as, "Does he like and approve of me?" and "What did I do wrong?" The new me had started operating out of calm, productive questions like, "How can I make this work? What can I learn?" and "Whats possible?" By changing the kinds of questions I asked, I changed my life.
Until we develop the ability to cause the kind of change I experienced, we are at the mercy of other peoples opinions and the whims of our own moods. The ability to intentionally shift our internal questions puts us in charge of our own thoughts. This book shows you how to do that.
Change Your Question, Change Your Life is the story of Ben Knight. He finds himself challenged, seemingly beyond his limits, in his new promotion to a highly responsible management position. Convinced he doesnt have what it takes, he drafts his resignation. Thats when his CEO steps in and gives him a second chance by introducing him to Joseph Edwards, the inquiring coach. However, Bens job isnt his only problem. His marriage is also in trouble. In the pages ahead youll follow Ben through the transformations he makes, both at work and at home.
Top customer reviews
We can all relate to the main character in the book who prides himself on being "the Answer Man" with the operating motto "Get the right answers and be ready to back them up". It feels great to always have the first answer, to show off how smart we are and maybe even to feel a little superior. But then we're surprised our when co-workers or family members oppose us or seem demotivated or avoiding engagement. And then it's easy to jump into judgement and frustration and think they're idiots for not seeing our brilliant solution. But what if we're the one missing something. What if, while we're burning our energy proving we're right, we overlook better and more creative solutions and trample on the thoughts, feelings, and desires of those whose support we need to put the solution in place?
Marilee Adams does a great job of developing her case and presenting methods to increase our objectivity, creativity, and engagement with others. I have been a successful engineer for 28+ years solving highly complex technical problems yet learned a new, more effective way of approaching my work and relationships. This book exposes the heart of most leadership and teamwork failures. I highly recommend it and even shared it with my managers, my co-workers, and my kids. If my ex-husband had read it and took it to heart, we probably wouldn't have ended up divorced.
Everyone owes it to themselves to learn how to create the best opportunities to lead the most fulfilling life possible. This book provides life changing possibilities for anyone at any age. More than anything else, this book reminds you that only you are responsible for making your life as interesting, challenging, fulfilling, and fun as possible. No one can, or should, ever do that for you. It takes courage to try to change, but if you don't, you'll never know how good life can be.
I recommend this book for everyone, everywhere.
Change Your Questions, Change Your Life: 10 Powerful Tools for Life and Work (BK Life (Paperback))
In chapter one, I was again struck (shocked) by finding in myself, Ben's internal judger reaction thoughts. Later, as the character of Joseph becomes alive with his wisdom of meaningful personal coaching, I was moved to consider "What might our lives be like if we each had a personal coach like Joseph?" Guess what, Marilee's work gives us just that insight and the how-to skills to operationalize question thinking on a moment-to-moment basis.
Another thing that tickled me was the wife of the character Ben who immediately sees the value and possibility of the Choice Map, takes it to work with her and begins to apply it. Ben was still stuck in his Judger perspective. Interesting!
Within one year of my first reading this book, I participated in several teleseminars by Dr. Adams, enrolled in the Q-Storming® certification program, presented workshops about Question Thinking(tm) and Q-Storming® at non-profit organizations, transformed the manner in which I design, develop, and facilitate courses for doctoral learners, and shared question thinking concepts with dozens of colleagues. Talk about changing your life!
Feedback I get from smiling faces and hearts of those who read and apply new thinking found in Change Your Questions, Change Your Life is extraordinary!
What Dr. Adams offers as her gift to us each is a simple process for choosing differently in our questions and our thinking, and thus accelerating our personal journey in life.
My heartfelt thanks to Dr. Marilee Adams for her generosity and caring! Craig Barton, Ph.D., P.E.