Question your fears

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Author and "Questionologist" Warren Berger gives our book a shout in his recent article, "Why You Need to Start Questioning Your Fears." Thanks Warren! Check out an excerpt below:

"Questioning can help us identify the fears that may be influencing decisions and behaviors. “It can be hard to figure out what you’re really afraid of,” says Khemaridh Hy, a popular blogger and podcaster who CNN has dubbed “an Oprah for millennials.” “But often, once you do identify it and verbalize it—for instance, the fear that I’ll end up broke or dead or both—you can start to come to grips with it.”

Phil Keoghan, a lifelong adventurer and fear conqueror who hosts the television series The Amazing Race, agrees that asking probing questions about one’s fears is a good starting point for overcoming them. Keoghan has coached people to help them conquer a range of fears (from the fear of heights to the fear of sharks), and he says he often begins by asking: What is your earliest memory of this fear? How do you react to it? What has it kept you from doing? How might things change if you were able to overcome this fear? In dissecting the fear, “we talk about the irrationality of it—and about real versus imagined risks,” he says.

Notice Keoghan’s last two questions focus on the positive benefits of overcoming a fear. The life coach Curt Rosengren points out that it’s critical to emphasize the Why? when trying to overcome fears—as in, Why would I want to do this thing or make this choice, even though it scares me? “Rather than focusing on what you are going to do (the thing inducing the fear), focus on the positive energy of the desired outcome,” Rosengren advises. That outcome may be a personal benefit or it might involve having a positive impact on others. Either way, when the answer to Why am I doing this? is about making a difference, “that inspires you and pulls you forward”—and it becomes easier to move past the fear.

When you’re deciding on a possibility that makes you uneasy, focus on the positive feelings associated with taking a risk. Adam Hansen, coauthor of Outsmart Your Instincts, suggests clients ask themselves: Within this scary possibility, what excites me?

But it’s also important to examine the negative feelings that may be associated with taking a risk—which can be based on legitimate concerns about what might go wrong if you pursue a risky possibility. Rather than avoiding thinking about these, it’s generally better to come right out and ask: What is the worst that could happen?

That’s a familiar question and a fairly basic one—but that doesn’t make it any less valuable. The question is a favorite of not only professional risk managers but coaches and psychologists as well.

And though it may seem like a negative question because it evokes worst-case imaginings, as long as it is paired with a more positive follow-up question—And how would I recover from that?—it can actually end up lessening your fears and giving you the confidence to take on the risk."

Click here to read the complete article


“Questionologist” Warren Berger has studied hundreds of leading innovators, entrepreneurs, and creative thinkers to learn how they ask questions, generate original ideas, and solve problems. His latest book is The Book of Beautiful Questions, and he is also the author of the bestseller A More Beautiful Question and the internationally acclaimed Glimmer, among others. His writing appears in Fast Company, Harvard Business Review, and The New York Times, and he speaks around the world about the power of questioning in business and education. Visit his site www.amorebeautifulquestion.com for more.

Ideas To Go

Ideas To Go is an innovation agency that works with Fortune 500 companies in ideation and concept development to incorporate the voice of the consumer.