Asking the kind of questions that consistently make a difference in the client’s life is quite challenging. In fact, I would argue it is the central challenge of this approach. I was recently introduced to something called “The Goldilocks Rule” and it immediately made me think of this approach and how it could be used to help with this task. That’s what this video is about.

So growing up, just like most kids, I wanted to be just like my older brother and uh, just like my dad when I was young. And one of the things my dad used to do in our like random moments of positive family time, is my dad used to take us to this restaurant called Clark’s. And Clark’s was known in Boston for having these really big burgers. Like they were huge, like big as the plate. And um, we’d sit at the table and my dad would order and my older brother would order, my little brother would order and I always ordered what my older brother would order. And when my burger came, I would pick up the burger and my little eight year old hands would moosh the burger into my face. I’d take the biggest bite I could, and then I would put the burger down and it would look like a little tiny squirrel bit it.

And I would get overwhelmed. Like, how am I going to eat this burger? And my dad would see the look of overwhelming on my face. He would reach over, cut the burger into eight pieces and I would immediately experience a calming, like a relaxing, like, oh now I can eat it. Somehow as if cutting it into eight pieces, reduced the quantity of the burger, then I’ll pick up each eight and eat the burger. So recently this past week at my Solution Focused couples intensive that I do, we were talking about the overwhelming feeling that sometimes clients get when we ask them questions. And I heard about this really cool thing called the ‘Goldilocks Rule’ and somebody wrote a book, I think the person name was White, but somebody wrote a book about this thing that in the book that’s called the ‘Goldilocks Rule’, which is, you’ve got to set a goal that is, like, big enough to make you uncomfortable but small enough that you think you can attain it.

And I was thinking about that and I’m just like, so in Solution Focus, when I first learned this approach, we often talked about client change. That’s why we use the scale, right? We always say zero to 10 suppose, and the client says they’re at five. And we say, “suppose you’re at six, what would you notice da…da…da?” So they can follow this Goldilocks Rule and they can envision themselves being at six. We wouldn’t say, “Oh you’re at five, suppose you’re at nine da…da…”, because it’s too big. It’s too overwhelming. It’s like trying to eat all the entire Clark’s burger in one bite. But the thing that, that was a huge part of our discussion one of the days of this intensive, is each question needs to be treated as such, right? So if I say to somebody, “what are you best from our talking?” And the client says, “I’d really like to be happy and it’s been real hard being happy these days because my wife left me”, or “my husband left me and I’ve lost my job and I don’t have any money.

I don’t know how to care for my family. I don’t know how I’m going to keep my house and my car and all this stuff”. I wouldn’t say, “well suppose you woke up happy, what would you notice?”, because I’m breaking the Goldilocks Rule and I’ve made the question so overwhelming because I’m so stuck in problem and saturation of problem that I can’t even think of waking up happy. I’m going to have to say something like, “suppose you woke up and in spite of all the challenges that have recently hit your life, what would you notice that gives you an idea that happiness was beginning to creep into your life”. Do you see how I shrunk the question but still stuck to the, we’re going to keep moving our life from problems saturation to uh, moving towards our desired outcome. So, so I guess what I want to say is it’s not just about having small attainable goals as it relates to change, it’s also about making sure that your questions challenge the client enough, but also don’t cause your client to feel overwhelmed as if they can’t answer them.

And I think that’s such an importantly huge distinction. So that means always at any point in the session, your client should experience your questions as hard to answer because you’ve asked the challenging question, but they should always find them attainable. So, always be prepared to follow up your questions with more questions to help the client answer them, but always make sure that they’re in the realm of reachability and clients can attain them. So thank you so much. I hope that makes sense. It was a really big part of our training this past week, and I hope in sharing this with you, it makes a difference in your work. So as usual, please like this video, head on over to my website, www.elliottconnie.com, there’s loads of free stuff over there. If you’re watching on a YouTube channel, hit the subscribe button and hit the bell so you get a notification every time I share a youtube video. Ah, share this on your social media platforms, spread the word about how amazing this approach is, and I’ll see you next time.