This is a continuation of the series of posts on “Well-Formed Outcomes.” It’s important to consider the impact that the accomplishment of a major goal may have on you and the people around you. We’ve all been warned: “Be careful what you wish for!”
Here We Go Again With The Questions!
Much of the value of coaching comes from its emphasis on the use of questions to improve a person’s thinking. Goal attainment and winning are stressed so highly in this culture that we often don’t pay enough attention to the collateral damage that can occur. Our thinking becomes too narrowly focused. The right questions open up the environment around us and help us to be clear about what we think we want.
The first question asks: “What will I gain when I achieve this?” This presupposes that we have already taken the incredibly important step of getting clear about our values. When I left my last job, I knew that along with freedom came uncertainty. The opportunity may be incredible but are the gains enough to offset possible losses? Sometimes, it may not be obvious that there is a tradeoff when you take an action but King Midas also found out that everything has a cost.
You’ve made the decision to go back to school to improve your long term economic prospects. Will the loss of your current job be worth it? Will the time away from your children be ok?
What will happen when you achieve your outcome? When I left my law career to found a school for under-servd children, I thought people would respect my decision or even find the cause admirable. What I hadn’t accounted for was the loss of many of my “friends.” This was more than offset by the positive changes I was able to make in a lot of young people’s lives.
4.What Won’t Happen When I Have This Outcome?
You’ve been successful saving for the car of your dreams. That now means you’ll have to wait longer for that down payment on the condo. It will also mean that you no longer have to rely on friends for rides to work and the supermarket.
5.What Will Happen If I Don’t Get It?
You weren’t able to make the career switch. The morning stomach pains will continue as you head back to the same ‘ol grind. It might also mean that you are able to stay in the city you love instead of having to relocate.
6.What Won’t Happen If I Don’t Get The Outcome?
The job didn’t come through. The kids don’t have to leave their friends behind because they aren’t moving after all. Your husband can stay in his job and you won’t have to stop volunteering at the youth boxing gym.
Write down the six questions. Chart out the good and the bad of achieving and not achieving the outcome. It may appear tedious but it could also save you a lot of headaches later. We can’t get our time back so spend it wisely, put in a little time, and improve your outcome thinking with the right questions.