How to discover the honest truth — in almost any situation.
What fuels your mission, your purpose, your career, your relationships?
We have all read the research that shows how our motivations change over time, and yet, there are very few business strategy tools that consistently help us discover our motivations at any given point in time.
Over the past few years, I’ve been on a personal and professional journey to discover easy ways to quickly capture my motivation in the moment, to align to my north star, my compass in life. This has been especially true for the past few years during a period of of time that has been enriched with personal and professional change and continuous growth.
Perhaps a little bit of background will help here: After 25+ years in the corporate world as an “intrapreneur” (a manager within a company who promotes product development and marketing), in 2009, I chose to make my entrance into the world of entrepreneurs and started my consulting company.
So what do we (love to) do?
Well, you know how many companies struggle to gain alignment between their strategy and their employees, to get employees truly engaged with a shared mission? Well, that’s what we help companies do, to create employee alignment and foster engagement.
It has taken awhile for us to get where we are as a business, and we continue to evolve… and, yes, I have to remind myself to look back every once in awhile and pause to take time to recognize and acknowledge how far we’ve come, because many days it feels like we should be much further along!
So, it helps to have a powerful and easy-to-use tool to help calibrate where we are now, and reconfirm where we are heading.
Which brings me to one of the most powerful (and weirdest) tools that I’ve learned thus far… Guided Inquiry.
Given the oscillations and day-to-day variety of experiences that most leaders and businesses encounter, this is an excellent tool to have in your toolkit and that can be used in just about any situation to gain clarity of purpose.
Guided Inquiry is a simple tool that has a profound compounding effect of quickly getting to the truth of any situation. It’s a process that allows you to bypass the confusion, worry and fear (AKA the ego, which is the unhealthy belief in your own importance, described here by Brian Johnson) that can otherwise create distraction and pull you off course from achieving what you have set out to achieve.
Lack of clarity is one of the major reason why people fail, along with poor planning and lack of focused action. But Guided Inquiry can help you, and your team, quickly gain the clarity and confidence to succeed.
To go deeper into this concept, a great book to read on the effects of the ego is “Ego is The Enemy”, by Ryan Holiday. His book speaks directly to this point and explores ways to understand and manage your ego, to allow you to avoid these distractions.
Clarity attracts success.
So, we know that clarity attracts success and I think this quote from John Roger captures the energy quite nicely:
“To receive, you must be active. Keep in mind your purpose. You will receive in direct proportion to your clarity of vision, your definiteness of purpose, the steadiness of your faith, and the depth of your gratitude.” – Spiritual Warrior: The Art of Spiritual Living
To gain clarity, following is an overview of the Guided Inquiry process that you can apply in just about any situation to get clear on your purpose. And to open the channels of gratitude that will bring you great results in the direct proportion described by John Roger.
First, the guided inquiry process involves asking a series of strategic questions about the situation multiple times. Repeatedly answering each of the key questions as many as 8-10 times allows you…:
- to get the real, truthful answers,
- to get beyond your ego,
- to transcend your fears, and
- discover the honest answers that are deep within you, at the subconscious level
A central philosophy of Guided Inquiry is that quantity = quality.
Multiple studies have shown us that the more we create, the better our results. The more we practice, the stronger we become. The more we ask, the more authentic and powerful the answers become. It’s like peeling an artichoke to get to the juicy heart of it all.
So, when you inquire thoughtfully and discover your own answers to the questions, you’ll reveal the heart of your calling in the moment, the essence of your purpose, and your primary motivation in every situation.
The key questions of Guided Inquiry:
To apply this tool, grab a pen and paper, and consider your current situation. Ask yourself the following three key questions. Remember, ask each question at least 8-10 times to gain clarity. And, don’t move onto the next question until you have completed a full inquiry into the question at hand.
My (our) goal is, ___(fill in the blank)______.
For example: Is your goal to help your clients with something specific? Is it to create community in some way? Is it to bring resources together to address a problem? Bring a certain product to market? To improve a relationship? What is your goal?
Ask this question at least 8 to 10 times to get the core of your goal.
What will reaching your goal allow you, or your business, to achieve even further?
For example: Will you then have a new channel to advance new thoughts or new ideas? Connect people and ideas? Create deeper awareness? Evolve your product features to meet a greater need? More funding? A deeper, more rewarding relationship? An opportunity to share mentor others?
Again, you want to ask this question at least 8 to 10 times to get to the heart of your answer before you move onto the next question.
And, Question #3 (the essence of leadership is revealed in this question):
By having this result, from question #2, what will you be able to be, or do, or have?
For example: A sense of accomplishment or excitement? Satisfaction in knowing you’ve contributed to advancing humanity in a meaningful way? A launching off place for your next product or thought leadership in your field of expertise? A feeling of fulfillment or security?
Remember to keep asking until you find you are at the core of your truth, and it’s as far as you can go.
Guided Inquiry is one of the most important tools that I’ve used to advance our team and with our clients. It’s deceptively simple tool that can bring you into alignment with your motivations quickly and with laser focus!
Want to know more about how to achieve clarity in just about any situation? Find out how our Front Line Leadership and Team Performance programs can transform your business.