Start with Asking What, not Why

For the longest time, I loved to ask “Why”. It was my favorite Question word. Until last week.

Rereading Simon Sinek’s “Start with Why”, and some additional material online, I realized the risk involved.

As Sinek puts it,
“Why is an emotional question.
What is a rational question.”

Why didn’t you complete your work on time?
What caused the delay?

Why are we doing this?
What is our objective?

Why did you get angry?
What caused you to react like that?

Even with my kids, I’ve found that Why typically elicits a defensive response. E.g., Why didn’t you finish your veggies? Why did you do that? Why did you not do that?

The Why quickly takes the weight off my chest. It’s my default response but not the best one. A better one, in terms of eliciting a productive response maybe asking What.

I continue to challenge myself with Why, to start with the Why. Outside, when possible, I’m trying to shift gears to What. As much as I’ve tried it does take time to translate the Why to What before delivery. But totally worth it. If you try it, let me know how it goes 🙂

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