Five Words That Hold Immense Power

Earlier this summer, we asked how you’re doing. As in, how are you holding up and thriving in the midst of everything going on in our world? Today, we’re making an important shift, and encouraging you to ask each other that same question…

“Hey, how are you doing?” Five simple, short words that hold immense power.

Here are five tips for asking that question the right way…

  1. Ask, then use your ears. The art of active listening can be challenging. Often, during our hearing, we’re preparing for our talking – as in, here’s how I’m going to respond. Instead, just listen, and if you’re going to talk, let it be to ask more questions so you can hear more deeply.
  2. Don’t rush to fix. Our response to “how are you doing?” can’t immediately be a solution or strategy. We may get to the point where we can offer that, but initially, the best thing we can do is to allow people to be heard.
  3. If you’re in a rush, don’t ask. “How are you doing?” isn’t the kind of question to ask if you have thirty seconds to spend engaged in conversation. When an open window of time presents itself, then you can inquire. Sometimes asking is going to require you to invest your most precious resource, your time.
  4. Be present. When you ask, put down your phone. Don’t steal glances at your Apple watch. If you’re on your computer connecting virtually, close the apps/programs that will distract you. Being present is the best signal you can give someone else that you’re all in and that their answer really matters to you.
  5. Practice empathy. Where someone else is at may be very different than your personal experience. There is no right or wrong answer to, “Hey, how are you doing?” Whatever reply you receive, spend some energy trying to understand what it feels like to be that person.

This is the kind of question we need to be asking our kids as they go back to school. We need to ask our parents and siblings how they’re doing as they battle isolation. We need to check in with our friends as their jobs are changing. We need to ask the people on our teams how they’re doing as our workplaces are changing.

So what’s the main barrier that keeps us from asking? Fear. For many of us, we’re afraid of what the answer will be. Hearing, “I’m doing great!” is much less scary than, “I’m struggling right now.” Asking this simple question can open up Pandora’s Box, and we need to be brave enough to see what’s inside. That’s what caring looks like to the people in our circles. When we step out of our comfort zone to get uncomfortable with someone else, that means something.

Asking creates connection – and connection is a basic human need. We all need to feel and know that we’re not alone. When we ask someone where they’re at, what they’re facing, or how they’re doing, we’re creating human connections that give life and provide a little extra strength. Today, we all need that, no matter what our answer is to, “Hey, how are you doing?”


Reach out and ask someone how they’re doing. Be there for someone, be present with them, and just listen. It’s that simple.

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