I recall a couple of years ago, at a networking event, an insurance business owner was complaining about the market crisis, the new governmental health policies and how they were being disruptive to his business for the last 4 to 5 years. He went on saying how difficult it was those days to sell a health insurance, a house insurance or even a car insurance because clients cared only about price having no interest in quality or reliable service.

– “There is no loyalty anymore”! he said, – “And with small businesses disappearing every day, it is getting harder and harder to sell insurances… this is a big problem for me and my business… small businesses used to be a very important market for me”. He was upset about his situation and very concerned about his future.

As a personal and professional leadership coach with an extensive background in business and in the corporate world, I couldn´t help asking… “If the market changed that much, what are you doing differently to promote your business and your services in this new environment?”

He looked at me as if I had just arrived from planet Mars and said: – “There is nothing I or anyone can do, you don´t understand… this is a cycle and until this goes up again there is nothing we can do”!

I didn´t want to be unpleasant but I had to know more… so I asked in a very kind and compassionate way: – “If this is a cycle and it will take time to recover, how long are you willing to wait? How long can you sustain your business”?

He looked again at me and after recognizing a genuine and sincere concern for his situation, he answered: – “I don´t know…”

I went on a little further… – “If this will take a long time to recover and you don´t foresee any positive evolution in the next few years, have you thought of doing something else?” He answered: – “No, I haven´t”.

I continued: – “Maybe applying all your knowledge, your contacts, your experience in a different business or a different business model?” … He answered again: – “No, I haven´t thought about any of that” …

I said: “What about your exit plan? Would now be a good moment to launch it?” He answered very slowly: – “I don´t have an exit plan… and he added in a low tone…you ask very good questions…”

The quality of your questions will be determinant to the success and the fulfillment of your life. If you get to a place where you keep repeating the same patterns and not getting the results you want…. ask yourself different questions or… get a leadership coach to do that for you!

Cristina da Costa is a Personal & Professional Leadership Developer and Coach based in Atlanta, USA.