The Greatest Networker in the World – Chapter 7: Asking Right Questions
Asking Right Questions
After we’d said goodbye to the kids – almost all of whom thanked me for coming and asked if I’d be back next week to help out, which I must say made me feel really terrific – and climbed into his truck, I asked anxiously about being and accomplishing.
He held up his hand and interrupted me, “Not so fast. We’ll do that. But first, tell me – did you have fun?”
“I sure did,” I exclaimed.
“That’s great,” he said. “Did you learn anything new?”
“Did that too,” I said.
“What?” he asked.
“That thing you did in the beginning, when you had them all come up to the plate as you called out their names like a ballpark announcer and everybody cheered and applauded – that was amazing. I loved it! What a great way to start.”
“We did that at our very first practice of the season,” he told me. “It gets the kids off to a great beginning. They’re a success right off the bat, and it makes them all feel special – they’re all stars immediately.”
He went on, “And did you notice how the parents stick around for that?”
I hadn’t ’til he mentioned it, but it was true. All the mothers and fathers had stood there behind the backstop, and they’d cheered and clapped, too.
“Anything else?” he asked me.
“A bunch,” I said. “The whole business of asking the kids what they did, rather than telling them – I got a lot from that. I remember my favorite teachers in school: they were the ones who let me discover things on my own, just like you were doing – ”
“And the others?” he inquired.
“The others? Oh – you mean my other teachers . . . the ones who told me ‘do this’ or ‘do that,’ or just had us repeat and remember? I was bored to death in their classes.”
“Hmm . . . which kind first taught you about higher math and computers?” he wondered aloud. He must have been remembering what I’d told him about my “pioneering” passion for hacking in those early computer days. I knew he already knew the answer.
“The first kind. Mr. Dougherty, my eleventh-grade math teacher. I remember his face – and his voice – as clear as yesterday.”
“Right,” was his only comment, followed by, “Go on.”
“Let’s see . . . the way you praised the kids – the way you had them acknowledge themselves first. It seems to me that that gives the kids responsibility for themselves, for relying on their own ideas first. That was just great.”
I thought back to find a good example. Truth was, there were lots to pick from.
“Who was the little boy on second base, the one who cried when he got confused about whether to call time or throw the ball to first?”
“Yeah, Johnny – the way you talked with him was terrific.”
“Thanks,” he said, pleased at the acknowledgement. “What did you get from that?”
“Well, I noticed how you brought his attention off how he was feeling without even dealing with it directly. First thing you did was kneel down, so you were on his level. Then you just asked him, ‘What happened?’ He told you that some kids were yelling, ‘Throw to first,’ while others were shouting, ‘Call time,’ and he didn’t know what to do. You asked, ‘What do you think would have been best?’ And he said, ‘Call time,’ and you said, ‘Okay, let’s do the play over and see if that works.’ Then you did, and he called time, and it worked great. That was incredible.”
“So, what did you get from that?”
“I just told you,” I said.
“No,” he corrected gently, “you just gave me a description of what I did. I asked, What did you get from that? In what way did that contribute something to you?”
“Oh,” I said. “Well, I saw how I don’t have to be controlled by my feelings about something. That it works better to focus on what happened and do something about that.”
I looked over at him to see his response. He just looked at the road and said, “Good!” Then he asked, “And tell me, what results did you get?”
“Results? How do you mean?”
“Results,” he repeated. “What results did you achieve out there today?”
“Well . . . ” I thought for a moment, “I showed Justin – was that his name?”
“I showed Justin how to hold his hand so that he could catch the ball without it scooting out of his glove: fingers up when the ball came at him above his waist, and fingers down when the ball came to him below his waist. That way, he wouldn’t miss the play, or get hit in the face with the ball.”
“That’s great,” he laughed. “So, you had fun . . . you learned something new . . . and you got results, too – right?”
“Yes,” I said. “I did.”
“Congratulations – you win!”
Win at what? I wondered – and then I remembered the points from the Coaching Kids . . . paperback: fun, learning, growth and development – and winning, when possible. Click.
“Those are the three ingredients in accomplishment,” he told me. “You get results. You learn, develop and grow. And, you have fun. All three are required. If any one is missing, you don’t have real accomplishment.”
“I see that,” I said excitedly, “I really do! I’ve done things where I’ve gotten results and learned something new, but didn’t have much fun. And I’ve done things where I had fun, but didn’t learn or get the result I was after. That’s wonderful. Accomplishment is all three.”
“Yup,” he said. “All three.”
“And,” he continued, “that’s why you don’t want to focus on just results – with yourself or with your people . . . ”
Aha! I thought – so this really is Network Marketing – and I flashed on the scene in the movie Karate Kid, where the master teaches his student karate by having him wax a car all day long: “Wax on, wax off, wax on, wax off . . . ”
“ . . . If you do,” the Networker/coach was saying, “you might get the results, but not really accomplish anything. This is vital in building a Network Marketing business: No results – no check. No learning – you get left behind. No fun – you quit, or burn out, or burn out and quit.”
“I see that,” I said, shaking my head. It all seemed so simple and so easy as he explained it, and I told him so.
“That’s because it’s just information,” he confided. “Once you start being that way . . . once you begin to be accomplishing, then you’ll do those things accomplishing people do, and you’ll have those things accomplishing people have.”
“So, how do I accomplish that?” I asked.
“That,” he exclaimed with emphasis, “is the $64,000 a month question!”
“Do you know the answer?” I asked, very tentatively.
“Yes,” he replied.
“Will you tell me?” I begged.
“Yes,” he said.
Silence . . .
For too long . . .
“When?” I pleaded.
He slowed the truck down, turned to me and made an exaggerated face with his eyebrows arched way up, and his eyes as wide as could be – and then he said, in an itsy-bitsy cartoon voice, “Can I tell ya now, mister? Huh, can I . . . can I . . . please?”
I think we both laughed for two minutes solid.
What an amazing man he was.
Click here to read: Chapter 8: The Habit Of Being You