Are You Okay?

I met Charles Vogl a couple months ago. I’ve been to plenty of presentations that talk about sharing ideas. I typically attend multiple in-person talks each week. I’m a lover of TED. And I was extremely impressed with the workshop he delivered one Friday afternoon.

Charles spoke about connecting to your idea and sharing that story with others in a way that was so deeply personal, that I continue to think about it off and on now almost months removed.

Have you thought about how much what you do matters to you?

How you thought about the why’s behind why it really matters to you at the core? How about why it matters to others?

This may not be for everyone, but it certainly was for me.

After the workshop, one thing lead to another, and Charles and I agreed that we’d take an adventure down to New York City for the best Chinese food America has to offer.

He was was convinced of this long ago and was eager to go back. I was curious.

We got a car. And drove to Queens. And, well, … you’ll have to give it a try for yourself.

But if you need any help, or a vote of confidence that the food is fantastic, I’d sure be happy to join you for your next meal at the New World Mall food court.

The Sunday we went down to Flushing, I was a bit late to pick up Charles. I don’t think he was psyched about it. But the first words out of his mouth were, “Are you okay?”

I had been a bit on edge, and there was more behind my being late than just being late. Though after he said that I immediately felt more at ease.

We ended up having a lovely discussion on the ride down to New York on life, love, and relationships.

Charles got me thinking how it can be the easiest thing in the world to get frustrated about something, especially with the people we love most. But, what else might be going on that we didn’t or don’t see?

In any situation, be it with someone you know or someone you don’t, you always have two choices – to be proactive or reactive.

Let me think aloud how I would describe these two choices –

To be reactive is to immediately react. That usually comes in the form of anger, criticism, or cutting commentary.

To be proactive is to seek to understand before judgement. It’s a much more empathetic approach, and a question like, “Are you okay?” is the natural starting point.

The next time you find yourself getting frustrated with someone for something, what would it take for you to choose,”Are you okay?” as the first thing you say to that person?

How might it change each of your feelings in that moment? Might it open you up to an important conversation about something that might lie a bit deeper? Or might it just make both of your days just a little bit better?


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