How to Embrace being Questioned and see it as an Opportunity

Posted by martin.parnell |

The other day, I was reminded of a quote about looking at a question as an opportunity rather than a challenge. It’s true that, in some circumstances, we tend to see a question, whether it’s about our work, our opinion on something or a decision we make, as a challenge to our capabilities. It can make us feel vulnerable. We will often go on the defensive and feel we have to justify our actions or our choices. 

Instead, we might try to see it as a great opportunity, a chance to demonstrate how we work, shares our experience and our line of thinking. It’s also an opportunity to educate, especially if, in business, we have a particular expertise. 

If someone questions you in anything you do, it is also a great opportunity to evaluate your work, your company and your decisions, but, you should not be afraid to stand by what you have said or done, especially in business. Your actions would have been based on your knowledge, experience and training. Do not think that because someone questions you, you have done something wrong or they are not happy with your way of thinking. Take it as a sign that they want to know more. 

We are told that we should not be afraid to ask questions. It’s a way to increase our knowledge, understand another person’s point of view and a great opportunity to rethink the way we might do things and increase our skills. 

In education, students are encouraged to ask questions in order to learn. This is why it’s important to ask the right questions. See my blog dated June 12th. 2017 Get the best answers by preparing the right questions. 

I have also written about the use of surveys and questionnaires to receive feedback from customers. It’s important that they are invited to question us about our decisions. This enables us to explain what’s happening and why we have taken a certain path and introduced new innovations. It’s the way a client can gain a deeper insight into the way a company works. By answering questions, it gives us the opportunity to share our decision- making and promote the improvements we have made in order to become more efficient and improve our services. 

So bear this in mind, if we are being encouraged to ask questions and see this as a positive thing, then being asked should become the norm and we should see it in the same light.

Needless to say, there are times when we question ourselves, in which case you may want to take these steps before making a decision, making changes or introducing new concepts

  1. Know your facts – do your research
  2. Consult- either with your team, other colleagues or outside agencies
  3. Look at risks- could your decision jeopardise the work that is already in progress?
  4. See the end goal – and know when you’ve reached it.
  5. Consider how your decision may affect others.

When you have made your decision and acted upon it, evaluate – what are the consequences of your decision – did it prove beneficial?

Being able to question yourself and determine that you have made the right choices will give you confidence when being questioned by others.

About the Author

Martin Parnell is the Best-Selling author of MARATHON QUEST and RUNNING TO THE EDGE and his final book in the Marathon Trilogy, THE SECRET MARATHON-Empowering women and girls in Afghanistan through sport, was released on October 30th 2018. He speaks on having a “Finish the Race Attitude – Overcoming Obstacles to Achieve Your Full Potential” and has written for, or been covered by CNNBBCCBCThe Huffington Post, The Globe and Mail, The National Post, Runners World, Men’s Journal, Canadian Business, and Maclean’s.

In a five year period, from 2010 to 2014, Martin completed 10 extreme endurance “Quests” including running 250 marathons in one year and raising $1.3m for the humanitarian organization Right To Play. In 2016 he ran the Marathon of Afghanistan in support of Afghan women and girls running for equality. Find out more about Martin at  and see what he can do for you in the long run.

comments powered by Disqus