I have several friends who are going through enormous uncertainty right now. Some are out of work. A few others are on the precipice of divorce. Still others have been diagnosed with cancer—one who is pregnant. In these situations, most of us ask, “Why is this happening to me?”
Years ago, two months after I became the publisher of one of our book divisions, we lost a major author to a competing company. This had a significant negative impact on our bottom line. At first, I was angry. Then I became discouraged. Finally, I realized I was asking the wrong question.
Instead of asking “Why did this happen?” I started asking, “How can this make us better?” Immediately, I sensed a shift in my spirit. It began energizing me. In retrospect, losing the author was one of the best things that could have happened to my division. We grew from the experience in ways that would have never happened otherwise.
I learned a valuable lesson: the answers we get are often determined by the questions we ask. If we ask bad questions, we will get bad answers. If we ask better questions—empowering questions—we will get better answers.
If you are going through a difficult, uncertain time, here are seven better questions you can ask yourself and your team:
- What if this isn’t the end but a new beginning?
- What if the answer to my prayer is just over the next hill?
- What if this is necessary in order for me to be prepared for the next important chapter in my life?
- What if God knows exactly what I need at this particular time?
- What if God is speaking to me through means I would not have chosen for a blessing I cannot see?
- What does this experience make possible?
- What will I be telling my grandchildren that I learned was so valuable in this season of my life?
How is this related to leadership? As I have written numerous times before, leaders must lead themselves first—even when they don’t feel like it. Sometimes it just starts with a better question.