“At the end of the day, the questions we ask of ourselves determine the type of people that we will become.”

~ Leo Babauta – creator of Zen Habits


Our mind loves questions and a massive proportion of our thoughts arise in the form of questions. That’s what our mind is up to most of the time we are doing other things, just asking itself questions. When faced with a question our mind has to go off and search for an answer. Some questions produce better answers ……

“What if …?” thinking

If our mind is plagued by “What if …?” questions, it is likely the answers to those questions involve some kind of threat to our future physical and/or emotional well-being. Our response to these threats creates and fuels our anxiety.

Anxiety is defined as: ‘the stress we experience in response to FUTURE threats real or imagined.’

For many of us  “What if …?” thinking has become a habit and, like all habits it can be difficult to break. One of the ways I, and many of my coaching clients, have found effective in helping to break the hold that “What if …?” thinking has on our minds, is the daily use of Empowering Questions.

Empowering Questions

“When circumstances and situations are pressing in upon us, the only way we can overcome them is to go within, to actually begin to ask very empowering questions… .”

~ Dr. Michael Bernard Beckwith

An Empowering Question is a thought provoking, open ended question that contains positive assumptions or presuppositions. Empowering Questions focus our mind on possibilities and solutions. They act like a directional compass changing our focus in an instant. The positive nature of the answer shifts our state of mind from limiting into a more positive, resourceful state. The more specific our answers, the richer the positive, resourceful state we create.

Having asked yourself an Empowering Question, if you’re not happy with the answer you are getting back, you can either change the question or keep asking until you are happy with the answer. Your brain will keep on searching for you until a useful answer has been found.

An example

For example let’s say you’re boss asks you to present the status of your project to the company’s Board of Directors. Rather than ask yourself:

“What if I forget what I’m going to say once I start speaking?”

Ask yourself:

‘How well am I going to deliver my report?’

“And how can I use my existing skills to make my presentation even more of a success?”

These questions presuppose that not only are you going to successfully deliver your report, you are going to deliver it well. They also presuppose that you have the necessary skills to do a good presentation and that you’ll be able to access those resources when you need them.

Create an Empowering Question Habit

The more Empowering Questions you ask yourself each day the less room there is for “What if …?” disempowering, anxiety triggering questions. Plus, through daily practice you begin to create a new Empowering Question habit to supersede that old unhelpful “What if …?” habit.

Empowering questions typically begin with “What” or “How”

Here are some examples of Empowering Questions:

  • What would happen if this just wasn’t a problem anymore?
  • What are the benefits of this situation?
  • What’s going to move me forward the most today?
  • How am I going to enjoy improving what I do?
  • How could my life be transformed if I did this thing I fear?
  • How can I turn things around and take advantage of this situation?
  • If I knew there was a simple solution to this problem what would it be?

The list of potential Empowering Questions you could ask yourself is limited only by your imagination.

5 Empowering Questions to ask every morning

Master Coach Paul McKenna recommends that we ask ourselves one or more of these five Empowering Questions every morning.

  • Who or what in my life makes me feel happiest?
  • Who or what in my life makes me feel most loved?
  • Who or what in my life makes me feel richest?
  • Who or what in my life makes me feel most passionate?
  • Who or what in my life makes me feel most empowered?

Empowering Questions have a dramatic effect on everything you do in life

Whatever you focus on the most will eventually become your reality. By training yourself to consciously ask empowering questions, regardless of your circumstances, you will be able to direct your mind to focus on new possibilities and solutions. It is going to significantly impact how you feel and what you achieve. And it will help you lower your anxiety.

Need help in mastering your anxiety or stress?

If you are suffering with stress, anxiety, depression, traumatic flashbacks and want to break free and to start enjoying life fully again, call/text me on 021 056 8389 or email tony@tycoaching.nz with your name & number and let’s have a conversation about how I can help you.

By now, you might be wondering what positive differences Empowering Questions are going make to your life.

Go well


REMEMBER – “When you change your mind you change your life.”

Tony helps people of all ages say ‘goodbye’ to anxiety, stress, depression and trauma in the shortest time possible. His practical, evidence based approach is focused on enabling you to thrive and start fully enjoying life again.