Answer the Right Question

A mentor gave me this advice: “The customer doesn’t want you to solve his problem before you really understand it. The problem is an opportunity for conversation and connection, to have fun and build trust. Don’t solve the problem too quickly. Make a good conversation last as long as you can.”

If, like me, you like being an expert or need to feel useful (or be right), it’s tough to resist solving a problem as soon as you see one. We pounce on whatever smells solvable.

Curiosity is a reliable source of fresh inspiration for us reflexive fixers.
Wonder: What’s really going on? What is this puzzle really about? Why does she care so much?
If you practice curiosity, you can override the impulse to fix and learn to hear the “question behind the question.”

I overhead this conversation at my friends’ house:

SHE: Do these pants make me look fat?
HE: I love you so much it terrifies me, and every morning when I wake up beside you, I can’t believe how lucky I am — and I don’t much like those pants.