In 1971, NBC television brought Columbo (Peter Faulk) into our living rooms. I love the guy.
As a Police Lieutenant, Columbo is this shabbily-dressed, seemingly slow-witted police detective. His style is disarming as he fumbles around in an overly polite manner. Of course this makes him an unlikely choice to solve any crime, let alone a complex murder.
Whether it is put on or his brilliance, disguised by personality, he lulls the murder suspect into a false sense of security. Columbo is actually a brilliant detective. He has an eye for minute details and the ability to piece together seemingly unrelated incidents to solve the crime.
“Just one more thing…”
Do you remember his signature approach?
Columbo’s interrogation technique is to conduct a friendly and seemingly innocuous interview, politely conclude it and exit the scene, only to stop in the doorway or return moments later, “Just one more thing…” (called the false exit) which is always a jarring question regarding an inconsistency in either the crime scene or the suspects alibi.
Sometimes, it’s our ability to stay open to one more idea that brings the break through.
What if two simple words create a question that when answered sets you free to your next level of life success?
If you are new to this conversation we are exploring how two little words become a powerful question — “What if?”
Power is the ability, strength, and capacity to do something; to take action.
Where do you need to take action?
Recently, I suggested this “What if?” question is a partial solution to procrastination.
A well framed question helps us stop and think – a good thing. Some of us can get stuck here; what happens if we stop and think too long or over-analyze?
Procrastination is a consistent inclination to postpone doing something. Power in this conversation is about taking action.
Procrastination liberation comes when we start moving after we stop and think.
What are you looking for?
Once we stop and think and discover truth we can move forward in personal growth, in life, and leadership development.
Without truth we remain stuck. The power of a question comes with the truthfulness of the answer.
How do we get unstuck?
The initial power of a question is to help us stop, think, and discover reality.
Getting unstuck requires action…overcoming the subtle habit of postponing action. Often, that means we must overcome fear. This when “What if?” may become a powerful, liberating question!
This fear is not about a life-or-death presence of danger. This fear holds us back, for “no good reason”; it is that feeling of anxiety in ANTICIPATION of uncharted waters in everyday life.
Did you catch that? Anxiety in ANTICIPATION of what could happen…usually negative-focused.
This is when we can tap into the power of “What if?”
What if I…?
What if I don’t…?
What’s 1 thing?
Will you try one thing?
What is one thing you can do, to get moving toward your goal, something that is so easy it is laughable? When stuck, it’s helpful to make that first step so “doable it’s laughable”. That means you find yourself saying, “I can do that!” when you think about taking action.
It’s a sneaky way to manage the resistance.
The Holy Grail of Unstuck
I appreciate what by Michele Woodward writes in her Psychology Today blog:
The other morning I woke to a lovely email from a lovely woman. She said: “More than anyone, you’re the one who inspires me to do different…not more, not less, just different.”
“Huh”, I said to myself, rather surprised, “she’s uncovered the Holy Grail of Unstuck.”
Because getting unstuck – despite all the hype to the contrary – is not about Go Big or Go Home. The only person who benefits from that approach is the person who wants to sell you a biggification program at a low-low price.
And getting unstuck is not about the minimalism of a four hour work week. To tell you the truth, just as I am constitutionally unable to drive 55, I am unable to work four hours and call it a week. I just get too much meaning and purpose from what I do.
No, getting unstuck is mostly about Doing Something Different. Just something. Just trying.
I like that, what one thing you will do different?
What can you do different today to get moving?
What suggested action brings the response: “I can do that!”?
What if . . . ? Answer this simple question and you may just receive the power to act.
Now, what if you forward this to a friend?
What if you post a comment and engage in the conversation?
I’d love to hear your voice.