If You Want High-Quality Results, Ask High-Quality Questions

Here are a few essential queries to take your career to the next level.

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They say you get what you put in for most things in life, and that's especially true for the questions we ask. If you've just attended a seminar by a leading expert and you use the call for questions to ask them what they ate for breakfast that day, you're probably not going to stumble across a piece of life-changing knowledge. But this principle doesn't just apply to the questions we ask others — it's also about the questions we ask ourselves. And more specifically, the questions we ask ourselves about our career.

No matter how high a level you've reached in your career, you should always continue to question yourself to help you move in the right direction. Here are a few essential queries to take your career to the next level.

The Art of Asking Questions

We tend to think of a question to get us from A to B. You need to know where the restroom is, so you ask someone nearby where to find it. Or you want a salary raise, so you ask for one. While this might be the case in some examples, there are many other times when asking a question takes our mind and energy in the wrong direction.

When it comes to more open-ended, philosophical questions that you can't find the answer to straight away, focusing on the wrong questions can lead us in the wrong direction. If you ask yourself how to make more money, you're going to set your subconscious to work trying to figure out an answer. So if your priority isn't making money but finding more fulfillment in your work, you're not going to achieve the right results.

It's also important to frame any questions you ask in a positive light. For instance, instead of asking yourself: "Why can't I secure the promotion I need?" you could try something more like, "What do I need to do to secure that promotion?" This directs you toward finding a solution rather than dwelling on negativity — from a fixed mindset to a growth mindset.

Strive to frame questions with the following qualities:

• Don't carry implicit assumptions.

• Focus on curiosity and learning.

• Require you to think deeply and introspect.

• Have an open-ended answer.

• Links to a goal.

Questions to Ask Yourself About Your Career

By now, you should have a good idea of which questions not to ask, but you might still be scratching your head trying to figure out what the right questions look like. This process involves not just knowing how to ask a question but figuring out which questions you need to ask.

Here are a few examples of meaningful questions for high-level professionals, but feel free to adapt them to your own unique circumstances and needs:

• What do I like and dislike about my current role?

This question might sound too basic or obvious to be worth your while, but it's still worth asking. Sometimes, the story we tell ourselves about how we feel about our job doesn't match up with reality, especially when it comes to the smaller details. Is it really the company culture you have an issue with, or is there something related to your role?

• What do I need to feel more fulfilled?

Once you've figured out your core likes and dislikes, it should help you build a broader picture of what you want to achieve in your career. Success requires motivation, and that's often linked to a deeper sense of purpose and fulfillment.

• Which skills would take my career to the next level?

Now that you know what you'd like to achieve, you can start to think about what it would take to get there. Do you have any glaring skills or knowledge gaps that are holding you back?

• How can I expand my network to meet my goals?

Sometimes it's not about what but who you know. Take out all barriers related to feasibility and distance for a second and ask yourself who you'd choose to meet for career development if there were no restrictions. This may provide you with some crucial clues.

• How much money do I want to make?

You might balk at this one instinctively, but there's nothing wrong with wanting to earn more money. After all, that money will secure a better quality of life for you and your family.

In Napoleon Hill's "Think and Grow Rich," he claims that determining the exact figure you want to make will ensure you get it. Even if you're not a fan of manifestation, repeating the number you want will help to program yourself into believing you deserve it — and eventually making it a reality.

• What are your greatest strengths?

Many people spend too much time focusing on the skills or qualities they're lacking. While it's important to address any major underlying weaknesses you have, most professionals get hired because of their strengths.

Figuring out what you're good at could take you from being like any other high-level professional to a leader in your field if you're able to double down on it and shape your career in that direction.

There's Such a Thing As a Bad Question

Objectively, the old adage that there are "no such things as a bad question" might be true, but when it comes to creating a career you love and feel proud of, there almost certainly is. If you follow the advice above and trust in the process, you'll realize that asking the right questions can be extremely powerful.

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