Your Intended Message

Shift your mindset from judger to learner: Marilee Adams

November 17, 2022

Are you asking questions to build or to tear down?

What is the difference between a learner and a judger mindset?

Episode 121 ( Marilee is based in New Jersey)

In this conversation we explore:

  • The polar opposites of learner versus judger mindsets
  • How to recognize your current mindset
  • How to shift your mindset with the choice map
  • How to be a stronger leader by asking stronger questions
  • How to ask better questions of yourself
  • Why decisions can be more productive when you are in learner mode

About Marilee Adams

Written 4 books, in August released two new books: (1) 4th edition of Change Your Questions, Change Your Life: 12 Powerful Tools for Leadership, Coaching, and Results—a business and leadership fable. (2) Change Your Questions Change Your Life Workbook: Master Your Mindset with Question Thinking. Note that the fable book has sold over 400,000 copies in 22 languages, mostly by word of mouth.

Marilee is the Founder and CEO of the Inquiry Institute, a consulting, coaching and educational organization that works internationally with organizations and government agencies large and small.

Marilee is a Senior Brown Belt in Karate, though that was 20 years ago; these days it’s mostly yoga for her!


Download your free copy of the Choice Map here and start making more productive choices about your mindset



Excerpts from this conversation with Marilee Adams

I think the most powerful leaders are the ones who can ask the most powerful questions and who encourage people around them to do the same thing.



And you you raise the the learner mindset versus the judging mindset. And that's something that you talk in your book about. Please tell us, what's the difference? What's the distinction? And why is it important?



Okay, I'm gonna describe each and I'm also going to show you a model that makes it easier to do that.

So first of all, let's assume that all of us, every human being has two mindsets. One I call judger. And the other I call learner, it's important to remember we all have both, both are normal.

And we will always have them, because we are not only neurologically hardwired for them, but we're also socially ingrained in them. So when I talk about being in judger, mindset, that means that I'm being more close minded more, putting myself or others down, being more judgmental, because judging means judgement fall.

And it can lead to a lot of self doubt, and also interacting with other people in ways that are not respectful and may actually be dismissive. So, but that's part of all of us.

And even if we don't like that part, that doesn't mean it's not there. And it's really useful to say, oh, yeah, that's me to accept all the parts of me. And if we can speak that we would be speaking from learner mindset, which we all have.

And when we're in learner mindset, we're more open minded, more accepting, more able to look from other people's point of view, and be dedicated to what can I create and learn in this situation with this person? So we all have both mindsets all the time.

What makes the powerful is that when we can observe the mindset we're in, and then ask ourselves, will this mindset let's say, it's judger? Well, this mindset helped me get to where I want to go in this situation. Most of the time, the answer's no.

But unless we can observe our mindsets, we might not even notice that. So it's important to note that I'm just going to, I'm going to show this and I'm going to make a comment about it to your listeners and your viewers. So this right, here it is, I get this confused. But this is called the choice map.

And we all have both mindsets, the judger mindset, and the learner mindset. And at any moment, we're in one or the other. And if we're in if we notice, we're in judger, we can start to use the switching lane. So it becomes a very practical how to.

So I know that this podcast is mostly auditory, which means people are not seeing it. But I do want to say that if you're interested in the choice map, go to my website, which is www inquiry

So you can go to my website, you can get the choice map for free. So there's a protocol for how to do it, you take a short quiz, which is also gives you some useful information.

But then you can have the choice map and use it. And it's the core of not only change your questions, change your life, but all the other books that I've written and the work that I do that George, you mentioned a bit in the beginning. So does that answer your question?




Do you discourage people from being the judge?



I would change that question a little bit. So, when they learn about the model of learner judger, and they start to see what the costs have been in their lives, and in particular situations of being in judger, rather than learner, then I don't need to convince them of anything, they start to go, oh, this problem occurred because I was in judger.

And I was just obstinate, maybe there's a different way to go about it. And truthfully, judger is, is human beings, it's always our default position. It's where we go. It's when we go reactive, it's it's fear based.

And it's very useful to accept that part of us. Because it is part of us, and then to see what there is to learn from it. It's also important, George not to go judge her on other people when they are in judgement.

Because then you end up with, like judges squared. Moving to a position where you can actually listen to each other, relate to each other, and maybe come up with some shared solutions together.


Your Intended Message is the podcast about how you can boost your career and business success by improving your communication skills. We’ll examine the aspects of how we communicate one-to-one, one to few and one to many – plus that important conversation, one to self.

In these interviews we will explore presentation skills, public speaking, conversation, persuasion, negotiation, sales conversations, marketing, team meetings, social media, branding, self talk and more.


Your host is George Torok

George is a specialist in executive communication skills. That includes conversation and presentation. He’s fascinated by way we communicate and influence behaviors. He delivers training and coaching programs to help leaders and promising professionals deliver the intended message for greater success.


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