Asking Empowering Questions

Mar 8, 2007: 9:55 AM CST

Do you run an internal dialog with yourself that oscillates between praise and criticism? Encouragement and discouragement?

While we can’t always stop this ‘inner critic,’ we can redirect its questions from negative criticism to positive encouragement with a few tactics.

First, you must identify your internal thoughts and call them to attention. What is that inner voice saying? Is it being helpful? Seek to quell any negative talk like: “If I buy here, they’ll gun my stop” or “I just lost money and I’d rather not trade right now because I’ll lose more” or “I always lose in the market.”

Instead, use your inner voice to ask empowering questions. It might be helpful to write out a list of questions that, when the answers are provided, move you closer to achieving your goal. Examples of empowering questions might be:

  • What additional work can I be doing to achieve my goal?
  • What more information do I need to know, without going too far (resulting in indecision)?
  • How long should I hold this position and should I play for a large or small target?
  • At what price (or condition) should I exit my trade early?
  • Is there anything I can learn from my emotional response during this trade?
  • What specifically is preventing me from achieving my goals (fears, overconfidence, lack of knowledge?)
  • What can I do to change my habits that are limiting me and attitudes that result in losses?

Asking these questions can help propel you to greater returns by laying a foundation for your actions and giving you more confidence because you know more now than if you did not undertake critical thinking.

Asking and answering empowering questions leads you to positive, proactive action rather than reaction to emotions or advice from others (or worse, inaction).

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