Let’s Get Underway!!

Let’s Get Underway!!

So this blog is based on a little book called 1,001 Real-Life Questions for Women: A Self-Exploration Workbook to Make You Laugh, Cry, Ponder, Ruminate, & Consider. And it literally contains 1,001 questions.

The first question many people ask me is, “How did you come up with the idea for the book?” I’ll tell you – but it’s a realllllly goofy story.

The time: March 2001. (Did I mention this book has been a long time coming?)

The place: my bathroom.

One morning, I was looking at my reflection in the mirror as I brushed my teeth. To my horror, I noticed a pimple on the very tip of my nose – the most inconcealable place possible. Bemoaning the fact that at the age of 33, I still got the occasional zit, I looked up at the mirror again and discovered that I also had not one, but two, gray hairs!! No way! Acne is the curse of the young, and gray hair speaks one word to me: OLD.

How ironic! I’m wasn’t really young anymore, but I certainly was not yet old – and still I had these two antithetical things happening at the same time. So I wondered, at that moment, how many other women were, that very day, experiencing this same exact age-related experience.

As I went through my day, I continued to wonder whether other women were having similar experiences to mine. Out of that wondering came other questions. And out of those questions came the idea for this book.

The plan for this blog is to examine the power and process of asking and answering questions – as well as exploring the actual questions from the book. The questions came, in large part, out of my personal experiences, prejudices, understandings, and philosophies. I am under no illusion that I hit every question concerning the integral aspects of being a woman in America today. I tried to cover all the bases, but certainly there is the possibility that I missed what you may consider an obvious question. In that case, I ask you please let me know. Perhaps your questions could formulate the makings of 1,001 Real-Life Questions for Women: Questions from the Readers.

The bottom line is that I have learned not to bother trying to please all of the people even some of the time. It never works. Certainly there are folks out there who will find these questions too personal, too graphic, too general, too specific, too pointless, too thought-provoking, too silly, too something. The fact is that nothing in life is off-limits, so nothing in this book is off-limits, either. Consider yourself warned.

Just to give you a sample of what’s coming, here are the questions from the first page of the book.

1. Do you brush your teeth every night before bed? Do you floss?
         
2. Do you wash your hands after you go to the bathroom? Every time? Does it depend on whether you do #1 or #2? Does it depend on whether it’s the middle of the night? Do you always use soap? Do you notice when people do not wash their hands in a public restroom?

3. How old were you when you first began to notice whether or not the men you met were wearing wedding bands?

4. How much does money motivate your decisions? Are you more price-conscious or more of a spendthrift?

5. How often do you have sex? Is that frequency your choice? Would you prefer to have sex more often? Less often?

6. When was the last time you cleaned out your refrigerator? Have you ever had to throw anything away because it was green/unidentifiable/disgusting? Regularly?

Although these are the first six questions, as we go through them, I’ll select the questions randomly – rather than the order in which they appear in the book. Please feel free to comment, or join our membership site and visit the Forum to read my answers to the questions and add your answers, as well.

I was advised to group the questions into categories, but I chose not to, simply because we do not live our lives in categories. Women, especially, are incredible multi-taskers. However, I did create an index where every question is listed and cross-referenced by subject. Visit the Web site to see a list of all the categories.

Please mark your calendar for next Tuesday, November 16, when Therese Skelly and I will be hosting In All Honesty – a teleconference with two experts speaking on the topics of question-asking and journaling as powerful tools for self-development. Don’t worry if you can’t make the scheduled call time – we will make a recording available to all who register.

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Question Quotes 1

Question Quotes 1

My goal was to put a question-related quote on every page of my book, 1,001 Real-Life Questions for Women – but it turns out that good, relevant quotes are more difficult to come by than you might think. As a result, there’s one quote about every fourth page. All quotes in the actual book are related to the process of asking questions, but I’ve been a little less stringent with the quotes for Twitter and the Facebook group. For Twitter and Facebook, I included the quote if it simply contained the word “question.”

Once a week, I’ll share a few question-related quotes from all of the above-mentioned sources.

Here we go!

“The question isn’t
‘Who is going to let me?’
It’s ‘Who is going to stop me?’”

~Ayn Rand

“Never be too big to ask questions, never know too much to learn something new.”
~Og Mandino

“Question with boldness even the existence of a God;
because, if there be one,
he must more approve of the homage of reason, than that
of blind-folded fear.”

~Thomas Jefferson

“The first question the priest and the Levite asked was: “If I stop to help this man,
what will happen to me?” But the good Samaritan reversed the question:
“If I do not stop to help this man, what will happen to him?”
~Martin Luther King, Jr.

“No question is so difficult to answer as that to which the answer is obvious.”
~George Bernard Shaw

Please visit the Web site to download a sampler with 40 random questions from the book. And mark your calendar for next Tuesday, November 16, when Therese Skelly and I will be hosting In All Honesty – a teleconference with two experts speaking on the topics of question-asking and journaling as powerful tools for self-development. Don’t worry if you can’t make the scheduled call time – we will make a recording available to all who register.

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2 Experts to Speak About the Power of Question-Asking and Journaling

2 Experts to Speak About the Power of Question-Asking and Journaling

ASKING QUESTIONS is a fantastic growth tool, for many reasons. The mere phrasing of a thought in the form of a question causes our brain instantly to begin to solve the problem as it works on answering the question. Simple things – like changing the phrase, “I can’t find my keys” to “Where are my keys?” can make a huge difference. Bigger things, too. Imagine how our lives would change if, instead of saying something like, “I don’t know how to  . . .” we were to say, “I wonder how to . . .?” 

Asking questions is essential if we are to continue growing. Because our knowledge becomes obsolete at various times throughout our lives, it becomes crucial to question our assumptions. Sometimes, when we’ve seemingly forgotten how to ask questions because the curiosity has been stomped out of us in our efforts to conform to society and fit in, we must relearn how to learn.

Searching questions can help us discover new opportunities, uncover the roots of a problem and find creative solutions. Asking searching questions begins with challenging assumptions. It’s been said that the three most dangerous words in the English language are, “I know that.” If we do not check our assumptions, we cannot ask good searching questions.

EQUALLY IMPORTANT to our personal development is journaling. Through journaling, we discover our hearts’ desires, solutions to problems, and inner resources we may not have known we had. Journaling also serves as an excellent way to chronicle the journeys of our lives, from the day-to-day interludes to the fantastic physical trips we take and everything in between.

Some people hesitate to journal because they don’t know what to write or where to begin. Sometimes, journal prompts – predesignated topics – are the perfect starting point to begin a journal entry.

JOIN US FOR A CONVERSATION about questions and journaling during a complimentary teleconference on Tuesday, November 16, 2010, 11 a.m. EST. The call will be hosted by Therese Skelly and will feature input from Laura Orsini, author of 1,001 Real-Life Questions for Women, as well as two other experts on journaling and question-asking.

MEET THE EXPERTS

AMY KESSEL is a certified professional life coach for women with a BA from Dartmouth and her MA from Johns Hopkins University. She works with women who are eager to step more fully into their power by embracing their authentic selves and inviting positive change into their personal and professional lives. 

Amy offers one-on-one coaching via telephone, as well as retreats and workshops in the Seattle area. Additionally, she helps MOMs reclaim themselves as WOMEN through Mamamorphosis, her website and online community of moms who think outside the lunchbox.

Amy will speak on the value of question-asking and answering as a transformative tool in the personal development process.

Amy’s website:  http://www.amykessel.com
Mamamorphosis website:  http://amykessel.wordpress.com
Twitter: @islandcoach
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/Mamamorphosis

DR. RAMANI DURVASULA is a psychologist, professor, clinician, researcher, teacher, and commentator. Her varied experiences make her an expert voice advocating for making mental health for a wide variety of audiences. Dr. Ramani is a professor of psychology at California State University Los Angeles, where she is also the Principal Investigator of a large federally funded grant on health behaviors, clinical director of a program working with Latinas who have eating disorders, director of the psychology clinic and director of clinical training. She also maintains a private practice in Los Angeles. 

Author of more than 40 published articles, Dr. Ramani has lectured around the world on a variety of topics related to psychology, health and wellness. She was named one of the most promising young scholars in the country in 2003 by the American Association of University Women and received her doctorate in clinical psychology from UCLA. She has been featured on Bravo’s THINtervention as the on-air psychologist, as well as programming on History Channel, CNN, E! Network, and FitTV, and she has been appeared in a wide variety of print media. 

In her clinical practice and work with HIV-positive clients, young women with eating disorders, and the students she mentors, Dr. Ramani often STRONGLY encourages journaling as an incredible way to generate a map of a person’s changing inner landscape. She will speak on this topic for our teleconference.

Dr. Ramani’s website: http://www.doctor-ramani.com
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/doctorramani
Twitter: @DoctorRamani

Reserve YOUR spot today for this thought-provoking teleconference! Don’t worry if your schedule does not permit you to participate on the call – we will make the recording available to all who register.

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A Different Kind of Question Book

A Different Kind of Question Book
 
Question books have been popular for decades, because human nature is innately inquisitive. A recent search of Amazon using the term “questions” reveals more than 100,000 titles. My new book, 1,001 Real-Life Questions for Women, contains questions about ever facet of the lives of 21st century American women. I believe this book truly has the power to make a difference in many women’s lives, primarily because it’s self-work in the purest sense of the word – but that’s not the thing that makes it unique.
 
Perhaps the major ways the book is different from ALL the other question books is that it includes a thorough resource section with Web sites and toll-free numbers people can use if they need help in many of the areas the book touches on.
 
The questions range from the innocuous (What’s your favorite color?) to the probing (What would you do if you found drugs in your child’s room?) and everything in between. But let’s say you’re working through the book and a topic arises that you’ve been burying or avoiding – but you now think you may be ready to deal with it. The resource section is there for that reason – so that people aren’t left hanging with nowhere to go once they’re ready to do further work.
 
Of course, I’m not a therapist, doctor, social worker, or any other form of certified healer – so I am obliged to add the usual caveat about not intending this as any sort of medical advice, and that the reader should seek professional help if they need it.
 
Please visit the Web site to download a sampler with 40 random questions from the book. And mark your calendar for next Tuesday, November 16, when Therese Skelly and I will be hosting In All Honesty – a teleconference with two experts speaking on the topics of question-asking and journaling as powerful tools for self-development. Don’t worry if you can’t make the scheduled call time – we will make a recording available to all who register.
 
Cheers!
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Want Better Conversations? Ask Better Questions

Want Better Conversations? Ask Better Questions

The reason for the effectiveness of questions in communication is quite obvious.  When you assert, whether in politics, business, or day-to-day life, the reaction of the listener depends to some degree on his or her opinion of the speaker.  But making the same statement in the form of a rhetorical question makes the reaction personal–and personalized communication is the best communication.

— Frank Luntz, author of Words that Work

Whether you’re at a networking event or your neighbor’s daughter’s wedding reception, you’ll enjoy yourself more next time if you have better conversations. Conversation leads to connection, and when we’re connected, we feel a part of things. Interestingly, the most compelling conversations often begin with questions, because questions engage a listener (or potential conversation partner) in ways that a statement — no matter how accurate — cannot. Effective questions open the door to understanding, to partnership, to simpatico.

If you want to become a better conversationalist, take some time to develop good question-asking skills – eliminate the predictable, trite, rhetorical questions, instead asking questions that trigger real thought and lead to an honest, open dialogue. The strongest skill of a good questioner lies in knowing which questions to ask when. Approach your potential conversation partner as if you were an alien visiting from another planet. If you could press a magic button that would reveal all the information you want to know about this person, what would that be? As soon as you discover where your curiosity lies, you’ll begin asking good questions.

Remember to ask open-ended questions, rather than closed questions that can be answered with a monosyllabic “yes” or “no” response. Open questions move the conversation from “How are you?” to “Who are you?” because they invite the other to offer an opinion or description, giving you, the question-asker, insight into his or her character and interests. The more the relevant the questions are to the person’s life, the more interested they will likely be in answering it. Good questions go deep enough to be challenging, but are not so prying as to be overwhelming.

Open-ended questions give people the opportunity to share their experiences and preferences and demonstrate creativity or storytelling skills. What’s more, the better you get to know the new person, the more interesting they become and the more fodder you have for further good questions. Ask specific questions only if you want to hear a specific answer.

Want to be the hit of the next party you attend? Brush up on your question-asking skills now and see how popular you become!
___________

LAURA ORSINI is the author of the forthcoming book, 1,001 Real-Life Questions for Women: A Self-Exploration Workbook to Make You Laugh, Cry, Ponder, Ruminate, & Consider. Sign up for her November 16 teleconference: In All Honesty – The Power and Process of Asking and Answering Questions and find other launch events at 1001RLQFW.com.

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The Power and Process of Asking – and Answering – Questions

The Power and Process of Asking – and Answering – Questions

If you don’t ask the right questions, you don’t get the right answers. A question asked in the right way often points to its own answer. Asking questions is the A-B-C of diagnosis. Only the inquiring mind solves problems.
                                                     — Edward Hodnett, author

One of the best gifts my father ever gave me was the ability to ask questions. His famous refrain was, “If you don’t know, ask.” He taught me never to be ashamed to ask a question for clarification or if I was confused about a point a teacher made. He reminded me that sometimes others had the same questions, and even encouraged me to ask questions when I did know the answer if I suspected there were others who didn’t quite understand the topic being explained at the moment.

My dad was a wise man.

Asking questions is a fantastic growth tool, for many reasons. The mere phrasing of a thought in the form of a question causes our brain instantly to begin to solve the problem as it works on answering the question. Simple things – like changing to the phrase, “I can’t find my keys” to “Where are my keys?” can make a huge difference. Bigger things, too. Imagine how our lives would change if, instead of saying something like, “I don’t know how to  . . .” we were to say, “I wonder how to . . .?” 

Asking questions is essential if we are to continue growing. Because our knowledge becomes obsolete at various times throughout our lives, it becomes crucial to question our assumptions. Sometimes, when we’ve seemingly forgotten how to ask questions because the curiosity has been stomped out of us in our efforts to conform to society and fit in, we must relearn how to learn.

Searching questions can help us discover new opportunities, uncover the roots of a problem and find creative solutions. Asking searching questions begins with challenging assumptions. It’s been said that the three most dangerous words in the English language are, “I know that.” If we do not check our assumptions, we cannot ask good searching questions.

Steer clear of the desire to ask one or two questions and hurtle toward a solution. An incomplete understanding of the problem makes it very easy to jump to erroneous or misleading conclusions. Open-ended questions allow us to elicit a wide range of answers to problems, challenges and conundrums. “Why” questions help us discover the roots of the problem. “How” questions provide different routes to significant answers or improvements.

Perhaps the biggest challenge to successfully using the process of asking questions comes in the willingness to admit, accept, and act on the answers. Self-discovery leads to self-growth, but only if we are willing participants. What kinds of questions are you asking yourself? And open are you to the answers?

___________

LAURA ORSINI is the author of the forthcoming book, 1,001 Real-Life Questions for Women: A Self-Exploration Workbook to Make You Laugh, Cry, Ponder, Ruminate, & Consider. Sign up for her November 16 teleconference: In All Honesty – The Power and Process of Asking and Answering Questions and find other launch events at 1001RLQFW.com.

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