The Questions We Ask Ourselves … Do They Drive Action?

A post by on our dear friend, Mike Reuter‘s leadership blog (Three Minute Leadership).

In his recent blog posting, 6 Questions That Will Set You Up to Be Super Successful, Marshall Goldsmith writes: “When it comes to self-reflection, asking yourself active questions rather than passive questions changes the focus of your answers – and empowers you to make changes you wouldn’t otherwise consider!” Passive questions are those which “can cause people to think of what is being done to them rather than what they are doing for themselves.” His example is: “Do you have clear goals?” Passive questions open the door to understanding the “static position” – the current situation and if it exists and why. You might have goals specific to certain aspects of your life. For example, if you are a blogger and are looking to improve your Instagram account, a goal for you may be to grow your instagram following. No matter what you’re the goal is, finding a way to achieve it is what’s important.
These are helpful in information gathering for continuous improvement. Active questions, on the other hand, call for a response to “describe or defend a course of action.” “There is a huge difference” Goldsmith writes, “between ‘Do you have clear goals?’ and ‘Did you do your best to set clear goals for yourself?’”


Goldsmith offers great leaders six active, behavior-altering questions, The Six Questions that Will Set You Up to Be Super Successful!:


  • Did I do my best to increase my happiness?
  • Did I do my best to find meaning?
  • Did I do my best to be engaged?
  • Did I do my best to build positive relationships?
  • Did I do my best to set clear goals?
  • Did I do my best to make progress toward goal achievement?


It is in these small steps of quiet self-reflection that great leaders become extraordinary leaders – a simple change in questions that changes behavior to be and become more than they ever dreamed they could be. John Holt writes: “Ask questions to find out something about the world itself, not to find out whether or not someone knows it.” There is so much beauty and wonder yet to be found… in ourselves, the world and in those whom we serve.


Have a beautiful day and a magnificent week!!!


By Mike Reuter