Thursday, April 15, 2010

Asking Questions vs. Forming Judgments

I’m feeling a bit needy today and wanting comments and connection.

But, also trying to keep in mind the valuable lessons in The Four Agreements, which I recently read. So, I’m concentrating on not taking it personally when people don’t respond, comment, or reply to emails/phone calls/etc.

The behavior of others has nothing to do with me, after all, and everything to do with that individual.

I really didn’t believe that when I first read it, but after careful consideration, I agree.

I’m also learning to ask more questions to gain better understanding, instead of making assumptions which usually leads me down a road I’d rather not traverse.

Case in point: Someone asked me if I still had a necklace that matched a pair of earrings I have listed on Etsy. The earrings are quite simple, but the necklace that matched them was—while a nice design, it may be considered “too much” by some because it’s a more intricate piece than some folks like.

I replied with pictures of the necklace that had sold. I asked if she was interested in having me make something for her that would match the earrings.

After seeing the picture, she replied with a no thanks.

Here’s where the road diverges.

In the past, I would have read something into that.

She didn’t like the necklace.
She thought it was ugly.
She thought it was too busy.


Instead, I did something different.

I asked her a follow-up question.

I asked her if she would tell me what she likes. Not because I wanted to sell her a necklace, but because I’m re-evaluating my inventory and what I offer to my customers, and I’m genuinely curious.

Which is absolutely true. I always wonder what people think, what people want to buy, what people like and want to wear. Those questions are in my mind anytime I design a piece.

See how easy that was?

Instead of making an assumption, or a judgment that almost always leads me down a road of negativity, asking her those questions also allowed my train of thought to get away from the “not good enough” fears.

Instead, I got to nurture my positive, optimistic, inquisitive side.

I could get used to this!


  1. Thank you for sharing. I find myself doing the same thing finding the negative and assuming that something is, when it actually is not!! I probably need to get the book and expand upon my knowledge. Knowledge that can allow me to nurture the positive, optimistic, inquisitive side of ME!!

    Thank you again for sharing!!

  2. Thanks Sarah! This is something I've been working on for a while, and that book REALLY helped me push through to some new ground. It's by Don Miguel Ruiz. Very fast and easy read, although I found myself reading certain passages over and over, because the message was so important.

    I just re-read this post: and realized... I really HAVE grown a lot in the past 30 days!

    You have a sweet and gentle soul and I a glad to know you. ;-)

  3. Very insightful. Makes me rethink a couple of things that happened this week.


  4. That's fantastic. I too know how easy it is to turn toward the negative option, when really that's usually the ridiculous and self-absorbed way to be thinking. Good for you!

  5. First of all, I'm 400+ entries behind on my google reader, which puts me about 7 entries behind on your blog, so if you get a lot of comments from me today, that's why

    Secondly, did the customer answer your question?