• Carol Delisi

Let Go and Jump into the Possibilities


The one time I went skydiving, I very clearly remember hanging on to the strut of the airplane wing. I also very clearly remember letting go to drop into the blue sky and take my chances with one of several possible outcomes: my chute might not open and then I'd have to open my spare chute, maybe my spare wouldn't work either and I'd keep dropping with speed toward the ground 3000 feet away, or maybe my chute would open and allow me to drift to the ground, enjoying the views.

Some rather frightening possible outcomes along with the ideal outcome.

I wonder if sometimes we treat leading a discussion and asking questions like we are jumping out of an airplane. I've heard many people attempt to lead a discussion with:

  • "Do you ever...?"

  • "Do you think that...?"

  • "Have you considered...?"

  • "What about...?"

And then those same discussion leaders might get frustrated that no one is responding to their leading and closed-ended questions. Is it possible that we avoid asking truly open-ended questions because, like when jumping out of the airplane, we're worried about possible outcomes?

Some truly open-ended questions are:

  • "What are your thoughts about...?"

  • "What would you do/say?"

  • "How does that compare to your experiences?"

  • "How would you handle that?"

  • "What is your reaction to...?"

And these questions might be a bit like jumping out of an airplane; as discussion leaders we're unsure what answers/outcomes might result. And that can be scary.

It can also be exhilarating, engaging and exciting for those involved in our discussions. And I would say those open-ended questions are essential for learning for everyone involved. So let go...and jump into the possibilities.