How Little Questions Lead To Big Changes

image credit: Gabriel Flores

image credit: Gabriel Flores

This is a guest post by my friend and former college classmate, Kelsey Ploeger.

A career coach and writer, Kelsey Ploeger is in the business of celebrating the seemingly ordinary. Whether experimenting with a new recipe, discovering a new place, or listening to a new band, she does her best to make everyday a holiday. A Minnesota native, Kelsey resides physically in Lawrence, Kansas and electronically at Twitter/Instagram: @kelseyploeger.

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Some days, I feel a little noisy—a bit like an inquisitive, four-year-old child. More or less, I make a living out of asking questions. Who, what, when, where, why, and how combine to form an infinite roadmap of exciting possibilities and deep-seated truths.

I am a career coach. From reviewing resumes to interpreting career assessments to troubleshooting job search campaigns, I help people of all ages, primarily college students, identify where they want to go and how they plan to get there. I also seek to make weighty terms like passion, calling, and purpose more accessible. Through strategic sleuthing, I help my clients bridge the gap between inaction and meaningful change.

Some days, I only have to ask a few questions. And tears come. Motivation is unearthed. The light bulb illuminates. Other days, I prod and poke with equal parts persistence and care, but revelation is slow to come. The wheels aren’t turning. Ambivalence is too deep.

Gradual Revelations

Some days, revelation comes in bursts, some days in slow trickles. The latter was true for Deb (name changed, as I was unable to ask for permission during our impromptu heart-to-heart). I met Deb on a recent airplane ride from Kansas City to New York City and immediately connected with her about career and calling. She, too, was a writer of sorts. Deb had actually written two books, but never published either. While composing these unpublished manuscripts, she continued to work in corporate public relations.

And then, one day, she was done. She was finally ready to move her passion project from a side hobby to a full-time gig. Deb and her husband downsized their house, and she quit her salaried position to start a brand-new work of science fiction.

Crazy, right? I admit, that’s a close-ended question, not ideal for career coaching. But the thing is, Deb’s not crazy. She simply took stock of the cues, hints, and hunches around her and started trying it out. She started writing on the side, honing her craft one day at a time. Her decision to eventually quit her job was far from knee jerk reaction—in reality, she was slowly pulling away for years.

For Deb, small, daily action steps paired with continual questioning led towards big, life-changing outcomes and ongoing revelations.

The Importance of Inquiry

Every day, it’s important to question. Whether you’re in search of talent, flow, motivation, interest, or purpose, there’s likely a question that will get you one step closer to recognition.

Every day, it’s important to question.

Here are a few of my favorite questions to help people discover something about themselves:

  • What do I do so naturally that I find it challenging to explain my process to others?
  • What gives me an instant kick/high after I practice, complete, or talk about it?
  • What do I find myself daydreaming or talking about, unprompted?
  • What are recurring themes in the books I read, the movies I watch, or the leisure activities I enjoy?
  • What causes would I be willing to invest my money in or put my neck out for?

Without spoken or unspoken inquiry, we remain stagnant. Socrates’ famed saying rings true: “The unexamined life is not worth living.”

Without questioning, we stop exploring. Without exploring, we stop discovering. Without discovering, we stop celebrating. Without celebrating, we stop living fully, joyfully, and wondrously.

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Where do you go and what do you do to get inspired? Answer in the comments below.

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