In this four part series I’m sharing what Gretchen Rubin’s Four Tendency framework has brought to my life and my coaching practice. My first post discussed Upholders, while last week touched on Obligers, which brings us to the Questioner tendency.

If you want to find out which tendency you are before we get into it, take the Four Tendencies quiz here.

What is a Questioner?

Questioners may be a bit easy to spot by the sheer number of questions they ask about any situation, but it goes deeper than that. Questioners need an internalized reason to carry out a task or set a goal. They do not operate well – if at all – with arbitrary rules or goals they do not fully believe in.

What holds Questioners back?

Not fully believing in or seeing a purpose in a task or goal will stop a Questioner in their tracks. It’s crucial that Questioners are internally motivated to work towards a goal, or they will brush it off after deeming it pointless. This isn’t to say Questioners won’t do something another person asks them to, they just need a justified reason.

A goal a Questioner picks based on what others are doing – all their friends are training for a 10K, or their spouse has a New Year’s weight loss goal – they aren’t likely to stick with it long since it’s not important to them.

What strategies help Questioners reach their goals?

Questioners need a meaningful reason to stick to a goal or task. They have to know the Why. Before a Questioner sets a goal, they should take a little more time diving into why it’s important to them, and focus on that deep reason when they start to lose motivation.

For example:
A Questioner decides her goal is to lose 10 pounds. She’s wanted to lose some weight, and picks 10 pounds, starts going to the gym and gives up sweets. A week in, she doesn’t want to get up for her 7am kickboxing class and a coworker’s birthday means doughnuts in the kitchen.

It’s really easy for her to see this 10 pounds as arbitrary and brush off losing weight if she hasn’t really thought about why she wants to lose weight. It’s easy to press snooze and have “just one” doughnut.

If this Questioner were to sit down and dig a little deeper, to connect with why losing this 10 pounds is important,she’ll have a logical reason to get up for that class and to skip the doughnut. This goal won’t seem arbitrary or unimportant, it will be rooted in her life plan.

Dealing with the Questioners in your life follows the same principals. Instead of telling your Questioner spouse to take out the trash, let them know there are leftovers in there that will smell up the house and since you’re catching a ride you won’t be able to take it that morning.

The takeaway here is Questioners need a reason. They need to know that the task they are asked to do, or the goal they are setting, is based in logic and serves a purpose.

Are you a Questioner? What tricks have you found that hold you accountable? Let us know so other Questioner’s can learn from you. Next week we’ll look at the last of the Four Tendencies; Rebels!

Published by Samantha Kellgren

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