What do you ask people when you first see them?

Tell me. Do you ask: How are you doing? How did it go? What’s happening?

“There’s nothing wrong with those questions. But I want you to notice how when you ask them, it puts the answer in the context of something external… I FEEL AS IF WE ARE MISSING OUT ON KNOWING EACH OTHER IN DEEPER WAYS BECAUSE OF THE WAY THE WE SPEAK TO EACH OTHER.”

If instead of asking about your day, if I asked you how you were feeling, I’d be inviting you to look internally. And that is, really, more interesting for both you and me, right?

How are you feeling? It’s a story, right? Not a list a chronological events that happened. But a story!

“For all of us who want to connect deeper with people, and we want to connect with the people that we love, and we want to connect with ourselves, having just this one question to help direct where the conversation goes, I think is game-changing.”


  • When you ask this question, people often don’t hear what you are asking.
  • If they do understand, it may make the person feel slightly uncomfortable.
  • If you ask it, and they answer it, you may be very surprised with the answer. It may be completely unexpected.
  • The answers may bring up a lot of stuff that has been simmering. It may bring up stuff that you have been avoiding hearing/feeling. Be prepared for this when you ask.

“I want to encourage you to do it anyway… Because I think what it can do is connect us on a deeper level and in a way that creates progress.”

Another thing. When we ask, and then when we learn how someone is really feeling, our gut reaction is to solve the problem, right? You are feeling sad? What’s wrong? What happened? How can I fix it?

“If someone’s sad or if someone’s frustrated or if someone’s angry, we want to help them not be those things… This is not advised. It is not useful. First of all, you can’t solve other people’s emotions. And it almost invalidates the experience by trying to get them to get to a different experience immediately. So don’t try and solve people’s problems … And don’t try to talk people out of their emotions. Be with them and hear them where they are.”

  • How are you feeling?
  • How are you feeling right now?
  • How are you feeling about … ?

Let me try it on ME:

How am I feeling right now?

Well, my friends, let me tell you. I failed some today. I succeeded some today, too. I am feeling frustrated with myself for giving others power over me. And, this very minute, that feeling of frustration is overriding the feeling of satisfaction I could be feeling for all that I did well today.

How am I feeling?

When we ask ourselves this question, we need to be able use the correct vocabulary to describe how we are really feeling – know the difference between all the different emotions, and how to label them correctly.

Am I feeling frustrated. Am I feeling anxious. Am I feeling defensive. Am I feeling disappointed. I used the word “frustrated” earlier in the exercise. Is that how I am really feeling right now? Or am I disappointed in myself for not showing up the way I want to show up? Or am I anxious about what others think about my failures?

I am not going to try and change my experience right now. I am not going to try and change my emotion. It’s late, and I think some sleep will do some of the work for me. Then I will address my thoughts tomorrow. And the next day. And the next day. It is a journey. Being kind to myself in this journey will serve me better than beating myself up over my shortcomings. Being a watcher of my thoughts. Recognizing my weaknesses alone will give me leverage over them. And I can start there.

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