The Most Powerful Question You Can Ask Someone

How are you doing?

That simple question can open up vistas in a person’s experience. We work and parent and neighbor mostly unaware of how we’re doing until some saint stops to ask. Mostly we’re unprepared to answer, or afraid to.

A retired school administrator describes how he used to sit down with principals and teachers after a crisis. After debriefing all of the why’s and what’s of the matter, the administrator would pause for a moment and ask, “Okay, now, how are you doing?”

“Oh fine.”

“No, really. How are you doing? Do you need a day off? Do you need to talk to someone? How are you doing?”

Even if “fine” is the honest answer, the question is still powerful. Because it’s humanizing. It says, “I care about you” and “I want to help you.” But, more importantly, it says, “I see you,” and masses of people living unseen and unnoticed is the bloody epidemic of our time.

Ask someone today, “How are you doing?”

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