“So, what do you do?”

“Well, where are you from?”

Tell me you’ve heard those questions before. Maybe you were at a convention, a networking event, or you simply out and about going through life. When you heard that question, or one like it, how did you feel? Did the person asking you that question get you to open up? How much further did that conversation go?

Ask Better Questions

Over the years, I’ve come across all kinds of books with the word “Questions” in the title. (Go ahead and give it a go; jump over to your favorite online bookseller website and type the word “question” in to the search bar. You’ll quickly see how many books have that word in the title.)

power_relationshipsSo, when Andrew Sobel and Jerold Panas sent me a copy of their new book, “Power Relationships: 26 Irrefutiable Laws for Building Extraordinary Relationships” it took me a while to realize that this book really is a book of GREAT questions. I highly recommend reading this one; though I’m already sure that

Many things stand out to me about this book, but for the point of view of this post, and what it is I hope you’re working on, I’ll narrow it down to the three takeaways:

1. The Basics Are Special

Time and time again, I was reminded of how possible it is to make a difference by simply doing the very same things that we learned when we were young. Say you’re sorry. Be grateful. Do what you said you would do. Be interested…Before trying to be interesting. Chances are if you learned one of those maxims as a kid, Andrew and Jerold are going to say, “Keep on doing it. It’s good practice…”

2. Care More

I’m the first one to say that sometimes it’s tough; it seems at times that the world is working in a way that can surprise us…and at times in negative ways. Jodi and I have a saying, and we save it for those days that are “those days,” and it goes something like this: “Life is Messy.” Even so. When there is too much traffic. When a client says, “No.” When the day at the office is a “tough one.” Those are the days when it’s important to care…Even more.

What can you care about? My suggestion is to deepen your connection to the “So that…” you have created for whatever it is that is at the core of your dis-appointment. One of the “laws” in this book alludes to the fact that “enthusiasm” is often contagious. And, one way to increase your level of engagement or enthusiasm is to remember and reflect on what got you into all of this in the first place. Reflect back on your roles, goals and responsibilities. And then, for each one of them, wrote your current version of “So that…”

  • “I am an athlete so that…”
  • “I am a spouse so that…”
  • “I am a manager so that…”
  • “I am an employee so that…”
  • …and, keep going!

3. Ask For What You Want

60 months from now, your work, your world, your life and your health will look the way they look based on…

The 5 people you spend the most time with: they influence you. The push you. They let you slack off. They are the ones that are going to be there (or not!) to celebrate the person you become over the next 5 years. One of the themes that I picked up on from this little book is to continue to look for, reach out to, connect and maintain relationships with the kinds of people who can help you get to where you’re going.

And THAT is the real question you’re put here to answer. “What. Do. I. Want?” If you can spare 5 minutes right now, open up your notebook to a blank page and up on top of that page write: “Things I want to have, to experience, to be over the next 5 years.” List at least 10 things. Once you’ve got that inventory, you’re in a great position to read this book. I am sure you’ll get some ideas you can use immediately to make them possible.

If you do happen to download/buy this book, I hope you’ll let the authors know what you think. I’m sure they’d love to hear from you!