Five Better Questions to Ask Yourself During Times of Change

There you are, minding your own business in the shower, mid-shampoo, when you feel the stirrings of a change rising in your chest. Perhaps you are choosing this transition, because it was time to get a new job, or marry this person, or move across the state. Or maybe it picked you, because the person you voted for wasn’t elected or your child is off to college or your spouse came home with a puppy. No matter the territory of your transition, it’s likely that before the bubbles have left the drain, the dreaded questions begin.They might sound like:

What am I going to do?

Who am I to want this?

Why can’t I just be happy with what I have—am I ungrateful?

If this fails, then what?

Am I even qualified to be doing this?

Will they still love me if I change?

What if it never gets better?

Will I be alone?

It doesn’t matter that the steam is rising in your shower—your confidence has plunged into an ice bath. Your clarity follows the suds down the drain. And there you are, wet, spiraling down a set of questions that lean towards failure, isolation, concern. You move on with your day, but these questions take up space in the back of your mind, constricting your chest … and your sense of optimism.

Or do you really need to figure it all out?

You see, those who thrive while they navigate the territory of transition know this: When it comes to moving gracefully into something different, it is not “survival of the fittest.” It is survival of the focused. 

In other words, the antidote to overwhelm is not trying to do it all, it’s getting focused on what you can do now. People who are able to thrive when things are shiftinggive attention to one main thing.Softly, but consistently, they focus on asking the better questions.

Five years ago, I sat on a park bench with my dear friend and colleague Maria Sirois. I was preparing to move back to New England after years of touring the world as a live-in health and life coach to the famous and elite.There were so many variables taking up real estate in my head and heart: a cross-country move, a reinvention of my business model so I could work from home, the ending of a long-term relationship. But in that moment, Maria said, “Let’s do some work together.”

“Yes!” was my first response. Then a pause as the dreaded questions bubbled up. Why would a thought leader like Maria want to work with me? She’s so established, what’s in it for her? My questions abandoned the truth: that I had something to offer, in favor of fear.

 “What could I possibly bring to our partnership?” I asked her.

Without missing a beat, she replied, “I think the better question here is, what would we have fun doing?”

This simple reframe of my question shifted where my attention went.

The Who am I to be doing this? Question was a momentum stopper, bubble gum on the sole of my soul, the shower drain pulling my energy downward into doubt and playing small.

The question “What would we have fun doing?” calls for creativity, wonder, joy, possibility. It asked us to rise into something better.

As a coach, I knew this already. My clients and I all pause to consider what the better questions are. But as a human being, in a moment of transition, I needed to be reminded.

In case you find yourself on the park bench of change, which of the following questions, if you focused on it, would guide you into the best of what can happen next?

  1. When have I seen myself be brave before, and how could I apply that here?
  2. Who can I ask for help?
  3. If I was 3 percent more confident that things would work out, what would I try next?
  4. What do I really care about, and how will I welcome more of that into my days?
  5. And my current favorite: Wouldn’t it be cool if ____________? (You fill in the blank.)

As you read this list, what question slows your wild mind long enough for you to hear your heart beating? For you to remember that you can, in fact, breathe right now. For you to replace fear with truth. Go there. Repeat that question. Make it the home screen on your phone, post it on your steering wheel, sing it in the shower next time. Let it hang in the air like a flag to possibility, until an answer emerges. 

Because here’s the deal: Things will be different.

Transition by choice, or not, is where we find ourselves, and the question that leads us onward becomes: In the face of this before me, who do I want to be?

Start here: Wouldn’t it be cool if _____________________?

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Karlee Fain is a celebrity health and life coach, author, and speaker who helps her clients reclaim time and abundance to realize their best health, lifestyle, and career.

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