Different Questions = Different Solutions

April 6, 2012  

I recently had a conversation with a colleague who is a professional speaker.  She and her husband are debating if they want to have a child in the near future.

She said, “Right now my life is easy and I know if I have a child, it will be a lot more difficult.”

The implied question: “Do I want a life that is easy or one that is challenging?”  Based on that question alone, many might go for the easy solution.

But maybe this is the wrong question.  I asked her, “How fulfilling is your life right now?”

Her answer: “Although life is easy, it is not fulfilling.”  She felt that having a child would make life more fulfilling.

A different question gives a different perspective which yields different solutions.

Because she eventually wants children, she wants to travel less.  As a professional speaker, she currently only makes money when she is on the road.  Therefore, to create passive income, she has been developing a number of “products” (books, CDs, DVD, cards, etc) that she can sell.

What she is doing again implies a particular question: “How do I create products that will generate passive income?”  As it turns out, the creation of these products has required a lot of time and money on her part.  And there is very little leverage since the margins are so low and the distribution channels are limited.

But what if she asked a different question: “How do I generate passive income that can scale with minimal effort and minimal investment?”

Now she has many more options including licensing, partnerships, sponsorships, technological platforms, etc.  The work can be done by others rather than her.  And given that others are selling to their networks, she can gain much greater leverage.  The opportunity now is much larger.

If you ask a different question, you will get a different solution.  And from my experience, most individuals and organizations are asking the wrong questions.  And this will always lead to the wrong solution.  A simple shift in mindset can fundamental shape your success.

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