• ‘How are you?’
• ‘How’s life?’
• ‘What’s up?’
• ‘Kaise hain aap?’ The funny way Siddiqui asks Irfan in ‘Lunch Box’!
These are the common questions we ask colleagues at work/meetings, and beyond. The usual response is ‘fiiiiine’ or ‘gooooood’, with the drag!
Often we ask without really meaning it, don’t we? Without real feeling! Often it is ritualistic?
We almost don’t wait for response or expect the response to be favorable.
When asked, we don’t go beyond the mechanical reply either, do we? (Not one of those powerful questions, an ICF Coaching Competency)
A senior colleague at my earlier bank, would always respond with a high-energy, ‘Great!’ Nothing less or more! That used to infectious, to say the least. I thought that was a nice way to respond, and I used extensively thereafter! While I could never replicate his high-energy while saying so, at least it was far better than a low energy ‘fine’ or a mechanical, ‘good’!!
Once I asked him, how come ‘it was always great’? He said even if it was not so ‘great’, he would say so to connect with that space, rather than remaining at a lower energy level. Now, on my coaching journey, I understand the importance of the word & the feeling, emotion, energy and sincerity behind it. For sake of record, that former colleague, heads a global role.
In Middle East, I came across a new response, ‘All fine, by Grace of God’! I felt that was very powerful and embraced it immediately.
Tony Schwartz’s article, ‘the importance of naming emotions’, suggests something different. Ask ‘How are you feeling?’
It is different, to start with. And I feel it is sheer magic! These are indeed ‘four deceptively simple words’.
At work, we expect people to be machines! And our education system and even family/society prepares us to be ‘human doings’! But we are ‘human beings’! We ignore it at our own peril, especially in the post-industrialization/millennial era.
And the way to do it is by bringing in feelings & emotions at work. Not ignoring it.
Next time, try to ask, ‘HOW ARE YOU FEELING?’, with all sincerity & authenticity!