Primary Questions


So my husband, Stan, and I were sitting on the couch the other night. I asked him, “What are some of the questions you used to consistently ask yourself when you were a young man?” Stan looks at me and smiles. Now, Stan and I have been married 25 years. I know when he smiles one of those smiles, his comeback is going to be pretty darn good. He says, “Why did I just do that?” “Why did I do that again?” “Why do I want to do that again?” We both start laughing. I tell him I can totally relate to those questions. I confess, I asked myself that type of question and even poorer questions up into my 40’s.

Questions that we ask ourselves can greatly influence the direction we travel and the momentum at which we travel. Questions we ask ourselves can influence our commitment, work ethic and mindset. They are important influencers in our journey.

Questions we ask ourselves the most are called Primary Questions.

Primary questions are what we usually ask ourselves when we have a problem, when we are stressed, or when we are not getting the results we desire.

These types of situations give us an opportunity to gain awareness. One of the best strategies I use when working to get awareness of myself or of a situation is to ask myself thought-provoking questions.

For decades I asked myself very poor Primary Questions.

I have previously shared how it took me 38 years to accomplish my goal of becoming a World Champion in the Women’s Professional Rodeo Association in the Tie Down Calf Roping.

There were many reasons why it took me 38 years to accomplish my mission of becoming a World Champion. One of the contributing factors was the list of Primary Questions I was asking myself.

Here is a sampling of the type of Poor Primary Questions I used to ask myself before I had the awareness to ask better questions.
  1. “How much longer is this going to take before I start getting results?”
  2. “Will I win it this year?”
  3. “Why does this always happen to me?”
  4. “When will I catch a break?”
  5. “Why does she always have good luck?”
  6. “Are you kidding me?”
  7. “What will other people think of me?”

This line of questioning will take us down a negative thought process. This line of questioning keeps us focused on the outcome. I was focusing on the results I wanted, and these questions supported me in being the victim by blaming and complaining about others, the circumstances, the cards I had been dealt, and other people’s opinions.

I did not have this mindset all the time. But it was a pattern I would fall into when I had a problem, was stressed, or was not getting the desired results.

Asking myself poor questions set me up to receive poor answers.

Poor answers tripped me up and kept me stuck. It is pretty hard to move forward toward our goals when we are stuck.

Here is a sampling of Better Primary Questions I asked myself once I had the Awareness that I was asking myself poor questions.

I have made progress toward my goals by asking these questions.

This first question is my favorite!!!

  1.  “What do I need to do to close the gap to get from where I am to where I need to be?”

This is a great question to ask ourselves when we want to change our performance.

It all begins with gaining Awareness, developing a Strategy, and then taking Action. Each day we want to work towards taking one step that will help move us closer to closing the gap. “Closing the Gap” will happen when we make small, smart choices consistently over an extended period of time.

Success doesn’t happen by accident. Success happens by being intentional.

  1. “What if I __________?”

You fill in the blank:

For example, what if I ________ [called this person, went to this school, made this change, read this book, took this class, sent this email, got up earlier, worked out, practiced purposefully, developed a plan, asked better questions]?

  1. “Why not me?”

This is a question I would ask myself when things were going well and not so well.

When “good things” occur, it is a great opportunity to figure out what our process was, so we can learn from it and be in a better position to repeat it. We want to use “adverse situations” to our advantage as well – again, investing time to understand the adverse situation and grow through it. I have found that I have transformed the most while growing through adversity.

  1. “How can I do this differently next time?”

I will admit that in the heat of challenges, struggles, mistakes, failures, and adversity there had been times I was not looking for any lesson.

I was not thinking about how I can grow, evolve, or learn. However, with practice I got to “this place” of looking for the lesson or I came to the conclusion more quickly on how I can use this situation for my good. It does takes practice. When I do struggle getting to “this place,” I will ask for help. I will seek out someone in my elite inner circle who will help me find the lesson and or help me figure out how this can be for my good. A fresh set of eyes, from someone I trust, to help me grow through a situation is priceless.

  1. “What am I grateful for?”

Once I began practicing Gratitude I found consistent Happiness.

Each morning I journal three things I am grateful for. Sometimes, I will journal and be grateful for things I do not have yet. However, I know I am doing the work and closing the gap to having it.

  1. “What can I do, however small, to gain some level of control over this situation?”

This question allows me to move from feeling like a victim to being able to respond to the situation and be an influencer of the outcome.

Sometimes the worst thing that happens in your life can actually become one of the best things.

  1. “What would _________do?”
  2. “What would _________say?”
  3. “How would __________respond?”

I would ask myself these questions when I was having a problem, a struggle, and I did not know what to do, say, or how to respond.

I would think back to my coaching sessions with Troy Pruitt, Lari Dee Guy, and Brian Cain and reflect on all the knowledge and wisdom they have each taken the time to pour into me. Inserting the names of my coaches into this line of questioning absolutely worked for me. When I took the time to breathe and reflect on my coaches’ words of wisdom, it helped me move forward in times of uncertainty.

  1. “What’s Important Now?”

W.I.N. (What’s Important Now) helps me to maintain Present-Moment Focus.

Present-Moment Focus puts me in a peak performance state, so I can compete my best when it means the most.

Asking ourselves better questions encourages Awareness.

They give us an opportunity to expand our thinking. This line of questioning encourages positivity. Better questions help us to stay focused on the process.

I like to describe process as all the steps we need to take to reach our goal, our mission. This line of questioning is open-ended. Asking ourselves these types of questions puts us in the driver seat. We are in control of our next move, instead of our emotions being in control of us.

Everything we want in life starts with us.

Yes, it took an elite inner circle to help me accomplish my mission of becoming a World Champion.

However, once I took responsibility for my destiny I was able to take ownership for where my life would go and how I would get there.

When I began asking myself better questions, I received much better answers!!!

Asking ourselves better questions can move us from:

  • A Negative Perspective to a Positive Perspective
  • Mad to Motivated
  • Victim to Victor
  • Disempowerment to Empowerment
  • Stagnant to Taking Action
  • Frustrated to Fascinated
  • Furious to Curious
  • Hopelessness to Great Expectations

When we are an active, positive participant in our journey, it gives us an opportunity to see our situation with a new set of eyes.

Asking ourselves great questions will help shift our perspective of how we see our current situation.

Better questions insure better answers. Better answers help us move closer towards our goals.

Each day we want to work towards taking one step closer to what we want to accomplish.

We all are unique and have different experiences and stories. It is within our stories that we connect the most. Learning from others is a great opportunity to navigate through our own journey.

I would love to hear your story!!

What types of questions are you asking yourself when you have a problem, are feeling stressed, or are not getting the results you want?

I encourage you to invest time thinking about it. All performance change begins with Awareness.

“It’s the start that stops most people.~ Dr. Rob Gilbert

Please comment below.

When I stepped over the line and made the choice to ask myself better questions, I gained clarity of where I wanted to go and developed the strategies of how I could get there much more efficiently and effectively. I began closing the gap and narrowing the distance to my goals.

I would love to help you apply the same principles and strategies I used so you can compete Your Best when it means the most.

I can help you identify the awareness you need to begin, help you develop strategies that work, and hold you accountable to take the action needed to begin your journey of becoming the best version of yourself.

Also, if you’re interested in:

  • goal setting,
  • developing a success plan,
  • confidence,
  • being a savage of your time,
  • keeping process over outcome,
  • practicing present-moment focus,
  • mental imagery/visualization,
  • growing through adversity,
  • developing personal routines to help you practice and compete with consistency,
  • releasing bad performances and quickly refocusing,
  • competing your best when it means the most,

I have an amazing mental toughness conditioning program that might be a good fit for you!

Throughout this program, you will gain clarity and design your custom success plan to ensure you stay on track and make 2018 one of your best years yet!

I would love to connect with you! I can be reached by this email or you can DM me on Facebook. I will follow up with you within 24 hours.

I know how beneficial it was for me to work one-on-one with a Mental Performance Coach. Prior to getting a coach, I invested years reading mental game books and articles, watching videos on the mental game and listening to interviews of athletes, coaches, sports psychologists. I was determined to figure this mental game stuff out because I knew improving my mental game would make a huge impact on how I competed. I was very consistent and motivated in my efforts to learn all I could so that I would accomplish my goal to be a World Champion.

However, it wasn’t until I began working with my Mental Performance Coach that I closed the gap from where I was to where I wanted to be. I was learning how to apply mental game principles to my very own situations. My coach was guiding me step by step, teaching me how to apply Mental Performance Principles. Finally, it all started to make sense to me. My coach was a great accountability partner and provided me with support and guidance during the good, the bad and when the “stuff hit the fan.”

I want to do this for YOU! Working with a Mental Performance Coach one-on-one was transformational for me. My life will never be the same. I can’t see myself competing or living my life any other way.