Search the site

Growing Leaders Blog

on Leading the Next Generation

huffington
foxfriendslogo-thumb

Why Questions Matter: Guest Post by Ken Coleman

Today is a special day. Ken Coleman has been a long time friend. He is an articulate leader, radio host and now…an author. I am also pleased that he is part of our Growing Leaders speaker team. Today’s post is an excerpt from Ken’s latest book, One Question: Life Changing Answers from Today’s Leading Voices.

one-question

How can you develop the habit of inquiry? And how can you make sure that when you finally get the words out, they matter? The answer is surprisingly simple: know the question you want to ask, and then find someone who can answer it.

ASK THE RIGHT QUESTION

A good interviewer asks questions with the audience in mind. If you don’t know the audience, you can’t craft the right question. For most people, they are the audience. If we don’t know ourselves, the right question will be beyond our grasp.

As Leo Tolstoy once said,

“We have measured the earth, the stars, and the depths of the seas; we have discovered riverbeds and mountains on the moon. We have built clever machines, and every day we discover something new…. But something, some most important thing, is missing, and we do not know exactly what. We feel bad because we know lots of unnecessary things but do not know the most important—ourselves.”

Once you know yourself—your strengths, your passions, your sweet spot—you’ll recognize the answers you don’t know but need to know.

Additionally, the right question requires imagination. We must wonder what could be and how one might get there. How can this be done better? What could I do to solve this problem? How can I impact this person? We get stuck in the present only when we forget about the future.

ASK THE RIGHT PERSON

Once you have a question in mind, you have to find the right person to ask. If you ask the wrong person, you’ll get the wrong answer. You don’t want to ask a physics professor about U.S. history. The right question asked of the wrong person becomes the wrong question.

The persons you ask should be knowledgeable. They should understand the thing you are going to be asking. If it is a religious question, consider asking a minister. If it is a leadership question, think about asking a CEO.

The persons you ask should be credible. Knowledge is not the same as wisdom, and you want to ask your question of people who are wise—that is, they aren’t only experts who have studied or researched the matter, but they’ve lived it.

The persons you ask should be truthful. The right answer does you no good if people won’t give it to you. You not only need people with understanding and experience but people with the guts to tell you the truth.

ACT ON THE ANSWER

Everyone needs the discipline to ask the right question, the discernment to ask the right person, and the determination to do something about it. The last step is the most important of all. An answer is only as useful as the listener’s willingness to act on it. In the preceding pages, you’ve encountered statements that spoke to you. They were cool water to your thirsty soul. You feel the urge, the impulse to act. An answer you’ve been searching for materialized on the page. That leaves you with my final question: What are you going to do about it?

Henry David Thoreau once said, “Most men lead lives of quiet desperation and go to the grave with the song still in them.” As I survey the landscape of my own community and people in my network of influence, I see the wisdom of that statement affirmed. How many walk through life resigning themselves to their current reality? I believe most people live in “quiet desperation” because they’ve stopped asking questions. They’ve quieted the inquisitive child that once echoed from within.

I’ve started gathering my children around me each night and saying something such as “Kids, you can ask me anything you’d like. You can ask me about the moon, about God, about what makes you mad—anything. What do you want to ask?” I refuse to let the fire of curiosity flicker out, so I’m nurturing the habit of inquiry in their lives early on. They need to know that you can’t act on an answer you don’t have and you’ll never get the answer until you ask the question.

Questions are keys that unlock life’s most important answers.

As you move from discovery to legacy in your own life, I’d leave you with one final challenge: never stop asking. Keep pressing forward with tenacious curiosity. Life’s greatest answers are waiting to be had if you are willing to seek them out. From my earliest memories until now, I’ve never stopped asking…. And I never will.

If you are interested in having Ken speak to your student group, either at a university, school or church, please contact us.

To learn more about Ken, visit his website and follow him on Twitter @KenColeman.  You’ll get some of the most entertaining tweets you’ve ever read!

8 Comments

  1. Jackie on April 3, 2013 at 8:37 am

    Have listened to Ken and appreciate the connection here. Learners question. I have experienced teens who have access to info but have not learned to need people to inform them. It is easier to ? google than ask people and risk vulnerability. Offering answers is great for young children. Teaching teens to ask good questions the challenge. Inspired. Thank you.

    • Tim Elmore on April 3, 2013 at 3:27 pm

      Ken Coleman inspires me, too, Jackie. Thanks for sharing!

  2. John Barrett on April 3, 2013 at 11:24 pm

    I just did a blog post about the exact same topic, how cool. Well said, and as always great value added to us, thank you!

  3. hongsamnang on July 26, 2013 at 1:22 am

    Ronaldinho berpeluang mengoleksi pialanya

    Agen Bola
    Indo11.com melaporkan bahwa Ronaldinho baru saja sukses mengantar Atletico
    Mineiro menjuarai Copa Libertadores 2013. Prestasi ini membuat pesepakbola
    legendaris Brasil itu menambah satu lagi koleksi trofinya di level klub.

    Gelar juara Copa Libertadores itu didapat setelah Mineiro mengalahkan wakil
    Paraguay Olimpia 4-3 pada adu penalti usai dalam final dua leg berimbang 2-2
    secara agregat, Kamis (25/7/2013).

    Menurut berita yang dilansir oleh Indo11, dengan
    titel itu maka Ronaldinho telah meraih semua titel bergengsi yang tersedia di
    level klub dan timnas kecuali Piala Dunia Antarklub. Sesungguhnya, dia pernah
    nyaris juara pada 2006, namun saat itu Ronaldinho dan Barcelona-nya dikalahkan
    Internacional di final.

    Penyerang yang kini berusia 33 tahun itu mendapatkan dua titel liga, satu trofi
    Liga Champions bersama Barcelona. Di Italia, Ronaldinho juga pernah sekali
    mengecap sebagai juara Serie A bersama AC Milan. Di tingkat internasional,
    pemain terbaik dunia dua kali itu berhasil membawa Brasil menjuarai Copa
    America 1999, Piala Dunia 2002 dan Piala Konfederasi tiga tahun kemudian.

    Setelah sukses lebih dari satu dekade di Eropa, Ronaldinho yang dinilai mulai
    habis kembali ke negaranya dengan bergabung Flamengo pada 2011 sebelum hijrah
    ke Mineiro pada tahun lalu.

    Bagi Ronaldinho, titel Copa Libertadores ini seakan menjawab keraguan yang
    pernah dialamatkan kepadanya.

    “Ini adalah titel yang belum pernah aku dapatkan sebelumnya. Aku kembali
    ke Brasil demi merebut titel ini. Semua orang bilang aku sudah habis, biarkan
    mereka bicara sekarang,” ucap Ronaldinho.

    Dengan demikian, Mineiro otomatis mendapat satu tempat di semifinal Piala Dunia
    Antarklub yang akan digelar di Maroko pada Desember nanti. Dan Ronaldinho kini
    berpeluang besar melengkapi koleksi gelarnya.

  4. Rima Mar on July 26, 2013 at 2:21 am

    Radamel Falcao
    lebih tua dua tahun

    Berita Bola Terbaru melaporkan Striker anyar AS
    Monaco, Radamel Falcao, kini dikabarkan tengah dituduh memiliki usia dua tahun
    lebih tua dari apa yanmg selama ini diketahui. Hal ini diungkapkan oleh sekolah
    dasar di Bucaramanga yang menyatakan bahwa usia Falcao kini 29, bukan 27.

    Mantan sekolah dasar Radamel
    Falcao di Bucaramanga, San Pedro Claver, melalui Pemimpin sekolahnya manyatakan
    bahwa striker utama tim nasional Colombia itu terdaftar di sekolahnya pada 1989
    telah berusia lima tahun. Dengan melihat apa yang diutarakan oleh Pemimpin
    Sekolah San Pedro Claver itu menunjukkan bahwa Falcao sebenarnya lahir pada
    1984, bukan 1986 seperti yang selama ini diketahui oleh banyak orang.

    Menurut berita dikutip Dunia Soccer Bila hal ini benar, tentu
    dapat merugikan pihak AS Monaco bahwa striker yang mereka datangkan dari
    Atletico Madrid itu dengan harga 60 juta euro, ternyata lebih tua dua tahun
    dari yang mereka ketahui. Namun, hal ini langsung disangkal oleh ayah Falcao
    sendiri yang menyatakan bahwa hal itu tidak benar dan hanya manganggapnya
    sebagai klaim yang keliru dan dilakukan dengan tujuan-tujuan tertentu, seperti
    meningkatkan popularitas sekolah tersebut.

  5. Andreasratih on July 26, 2013 at 3:37 am

    Tottenham Hotspur tengah intens mencari striker

    Berita Terkini dan Terdepan, Tottenham Hotspur yang kini tengah
    intens mencari striker untuk mempertajam lini serang mereka, telah menunjukkan
    niat yang besar untuk mendapatkan penyerang Valencia, Roberto Soldado. Namun,
    setelah segala usaha yang mereka lakukan, kini kedua belah pihak dikabarkan
    telah gagal mencapai kata sepakat.

    Setelah Direktur Teknis
    Tottenham, Franco Baldini, dan agen Roberto Soldado, Alberto Toldra, dan
    Presiden Klub Valencia, Amedeo Salvo, mengadakan pertemuan untuk membahas
    mengenai transfer ini, ketiganya dikabarkan gagal menemui kata sepakat.
    Tottenham yang dikabarkan menginginkan Soldado dengan nilai sebesar 26 juta
    euro, telah ditolak oleh Valencia yang menginginkan jumlah sebesar 30 juta
    euro. Hal ini lah yang membuat kesepakatan ini berakhir dengan kegagalan.

    Menurut berita yang dikutip Indo11 Sports Tottenham yang menilai harga
    itu terlalu tinggi bagi klubnya, sepertinya akan mencari incaran baru mereka
    yang dapat didatangkan dengan harga yang lebih murah atau setara dengan
    Soldado, meskipun kini belum jelas siapa yang akan mereka coba rekrut.

  6. Chhunmeng WinWin on September 17, 2013 at 9:17 pm

    Derrick
    Rose kembali fit

    Berita
    dari NBA
    Sports melaporkan pebasket Derrick Rose mengatakan kondisinya sudah kembali fit
    setelah cedera yang berkepanjangan. Ia kini siap kembali memperkuat tim Chicago
    Bulls di NBA msuim 2013/2014.

    Di
    musim 2012/2013 harus terlewatkan begitu saja oleh Derrik Rose akibat mengalami
    cedera ptutus ACL di lutut kiri. Ia harus menjalani operasi untuk penyembuhan
    cederanya. Usai mejalani operasi dalam satu tahun Rose harus melewati berbagai
    perawatan dan rahbilitasi. Kendati, kini Rose mengaku sudah pulih total.

    Berita
    yang dilansir oleh Indo11 Sports saat ini
    Rose yakin bisa kembali bermain di NBA musim2014 yang akan segera bergulir.
    Selama satu musim tidak memperkuat Bulls, sehingga Bulls gagal meraih gelar
    juara.

Leave a Comment





Why Questions Matter: Guest Post by Ken Coleman