I ask a lot of questions. I trace it back to my childhood and observing my Dad, who is still the master of asking questions to everyone about everything. He ran a manufacturing consulting business for 30 years and knew the right questions to ask to solve big problems. He is a relationship-builder and knows what questions to ask to earn someone’s trust – he is the guy that stops for gas and ends up talking to the cashier he’s never met for 30 minutes and learning his full life story. He is a brilliant man and sees asking lots of questions as a way to learn, and as a way to get better. He questions every approach – in a thoughtful way – always looking for room for improvement.
I’m lucky that he passed his quest for knowledge, connection and problem-solving on to me. As a fractional CMO and growth strategist, I apply my strategic mindset every day to help our clients unlock new opportunities, solve problems and am constantly questioning myself – reflecting on what works and more importantly what doesn’t – so I can get better and we can do better work.
I recently read a BBC article, The mindset you need to succeed at every goal. It opened my mind to the correlation between success and constantly
- questioning and refining the current approach in the face of setbacks and challenges
- making intelligent decisions by learning from failures and building on small successes
- adapting and refining ideas
- looking for a more efficient route forward
Boosting your ‘metacognition’ helps you reach your goals more easily. All it takes is developing a strategic mindset – something anyone can do.
There’s a great quiz in the article and it made me think about my answers. Simply rate the following statements on a scale of 1 (never) to 5 (all the time).
- When you are stuck on something, how often do you ask yourself: “What are things I can do to help myself?”
- Whenever you feel like you are not making progress, how often do you ask yourself: “Is there a better way of doing this?”
- Whenever you feel frustrated with something, how often do you ask yourself: “How can I do this better?”
- In moments when you feel challenged, how often do you ask yourself: “What are things I can do to make myself better at this?”
- When you are struggling with something, how often do you ask yourself: “What can I do to help myself?”
- Whenever something feels difficult, how often do you ask yourself: “What can I do to get better at this?”
The higher you score, the more likely you are to have a strategic mindset.
The a-ha moment for me in taking the quiz and reading this article is that I responded to each question as a 5 – a perfect score. I have always called myself “a work in-progress” – I challenge myself all the time and feel like there is always some way to get better and BE better. Who knew that it’s actually metacognition at work and the core of building a strategic mindset?!
According to David Robson, “Genius may be one percent inspiration and 99% perspiration, but with some strategic thinking, we can save ourselves a lot of blood, sweat and tears.” Giddy up!