Someone’s sitting in the shade today because someone planted a tree a long time ago.” — Warren Buffet

The 1st pillar in my 7 Pillars of Leadership is: Great leaders – or leaders worth following – start with a written plan.

To create an effective plan, they understand the importance of asking great questions and making asks of others on the journey.

How many times have you stopped yourself from pursuing what you want because you asked the wrong question?

Or, worse yet, you held back and didn’t ask the question you wanted to ask?

To fully understand any situation, you’ve got to become incredibly well-versed in the art of asking great questions.

When I’m stuck and don’t know what question to ask, I simply invite the person to “Tell me more about that…”

This allows me to more completely assess a situation, especially when I’m going to make an ask.

Asking for what you want can feel more risky (and scary for some people) than asking great questions.

You have to build your foundation, understand your value, and have a clear sense of “why” your mission is important. 

You also have to be able to speak it in a manner that has others want to listen and lean in to your request.

If you’re serious about what you want, you can’t sit around and hope others will telepathically understand what you want and then give it to you.

To get to the end you have in mind requires risk – and seeing that desired outcome is the 1st step in “The 5 Steps to an Effective Plan” taught at my annual Design Your Destiny Live 3-day leadership conference.

If a person doesn’t agree to what I’m asking for – or gives me an outright “no”, my mind is actively thinking about how I can still move in the direction of my vision.

Similarly, Pam Johnson, outdoor education expert and my long-time client, grew up with the belief that “No means yes.” Pam shares that this mindset about “no” developed because if her Dad didn’t say “yes” to something, she mind-mapped that it wasn’t a closed door, it was an opportunity to find another option or door to be opened.

This form of critical thinking has become her success habit which many people in the Upside Thinking and Destiny Designers community have benefitted from in their own decision making processes.

Great outcomes come from great plans.

Great plans come from great questions.

Both visionary and inquiry require courage, creativity and perseverance… the same qualities of great leaders.


The Upside Challenge of the week is to sit down and think about your own written plan for getting what you want. Is it clear? Is it mapped out? How good are you at asking great questions? Asking for what you want? 

The world needs you and your brilliance.

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