Living in the Questions


When I started blogging I declared somewhat boldly that I had come up with a theme, a road map of where I was headed. It was all well and good to begin just to begin (thanks to guru Seth and his call to action), but I’d begun questioning my Why.

Why do it? Why put myself out there? Why take the risk?

As the doubts began to creep in, I decided to return to my tribe – who I love and trust much more than my lizard brain – and what they told me was this:

I’m relentlessly curious, a life-long learner and I’ve got more questions up my sleeve than Houdini!

It’s so damn easy to forget who I really am when LB starts whispering in my ear.

It blows my mind that somehow I stumbled upon the profession of coaching and had the biggest insight of my life:  this is what I’m supposed to be when I grow up!

What a relief to finally know and begin using my strengths rather than wondering why I had them! Up until then no J.O.B. had fit the bill and I constantly felt like a round peg in a square hole.

It’s been said when you know your Why, anything is possible.

My Why was so big (honouring my values of growth, learning and contribution) and so loud that it drowned out my lizard brain long enough that I could take the first steps, and then the next.

It took something to keep my word, writing and posting – shipping – every week. I began by really getting into the questions. I jotted down questions that worked with clients; questions I overheard; questions we usually don’t have the courage to ask ourselves.

Then I read How to Think Like Leonardo da Vinci. In this very cool, yet practical guide Michael Gelb invites us to begin training our vast untapped resources to start thinking like Leonardo.

Is it really possible to think like a Renaissance genius?

Remember as a child, asking questions, always questioning? Questions that drove our parents crazy. Questions that got us in trouble at school.

We are naturally curious and then families, culture, the school system join forces and it’s drummed out of us.

Michael Gelb believes that we all have what it takes to think like Leonardo. We just need to know how to develop the genius within. He also believes that we’re all born with unlimited potential for learning and says,

“Although it’s hard to overstate Leonardo da Vinci’s brilliance, recent scientific research reveals that you probably underestimate your own capabilities.”

The results of Michael Gelb’s study of Leonardo are seven elements of genius that apparently anyone can develop to be more like the master.

Yes, even you and I!


Seven Elements of Genius

Curiosità: an insatiably curious approach to life and an unrelenting quest for continuous learning.

Dimostrazione: a commitment to test knowledge through experience, persistence, and a willingness to learn from mistakes.

Sensazione: the continuall refinement of the senses, especially sight, as the means to enliven experience.

Sfumato: (literally “going up in smoke”) – a willingness to embrace ambiguity, paradox, and uncertainty.

Arte/Scienza: the development of the balance between science and art, logic and imagination. “Whole-brain” thinking.

Corporalita: the cultivation of grace, ambidexterity, fitness, and poise.

Connessione: a recognition of and appreciation for the interconnectedness of all things and phenomena. Systems thinking.

Of course, my personal favourite is Curiosità!

It’s also where the exploration begins in the book. Michael Gelb says,

“Great minds ask great questions.  The questions that ‘engage our thought’ on a daily basis reflect our life purpose and influence the quality of our lives.  By cultivating a Da Vinci-like open, questing frame of mind, we broaden our universe and improve our ability to travel through it.”

The following exercise may seem daunting. I promise it’s well worth the time!

100 Questions

  • Get yourself a notebook and set aside some time, preferably 60 minutes.
  • Write out a list of 100 questions; any kind of question as long as it’s important to you. Do this in one sitting, and write quickly.
  • Watch for themes to begin emerging after the first 20 questions. Make note of them: love, relationships, business, spirituality, etc.
  • Once you’ve reached 100, choose the 10 most meaningful questions for you; rate them from 1-10 in importance.

The journey begins here, with these 10 questions.

Hang out with them, let them work on you and be curious about what might open up. This will give you a sense of what’s really important in your life!

Great minds ask great questions.

What are some of yours?