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Girt By Sea

It's right there, in the opening verse of Advance Australia Fair so it must be true.

On a scale of 1 to 10, how is your day going?

So many people have had me ask them this simple question, "On a scale of 1 to 10, how is your day going? (where 1 is as low as it can get)"

Once the person responds, you then simply askm "Is there anything I could do to help move it from a 6 to a 7?" (or . . . "from a 3 to a 4" or "from a 10 to an 11").
Just reach out and ask ...
I cannot recommend this highly enough as both for support people / friends / family that are keeping an active eye on someone in their life, but also just as a great way to connect not matter what the situation.

So where did it come from - this is a technique that Jane McGonicall (@avantgame) picked up from her friend Michael, a philanthropist and entrepreneur and uses in a Super Better "quest" called Plus-One Better - here are the complete instructions.


QUEST: Plus-One Better

Pick three people:

1. Someone who would like to hear from you

2. Someone you would like to hear from

3. Someone who might be surprised to hear from you

Do you have your three people in mind? Good. Now--you have a choice. You can complete this quest on a difficulty setting of easy, medium, or hard. "Easy" means you're going to send a message to the first person on your list. "Medium" means you're going to message the first and second person on your list. "Hard" means you're going to message all three.

What to do: Ask each of the three people, "On a scale of 1 to 10, how is your day going?"

It may feel a bit out of the blue to the person who receives it. That's okay. In fact, it's good. Your goal is to catch someone off guard with a signal that you care, and that you're thinking about them. Meanwhile, asking for a number from 1 to 10 prompts more reflection than simply asking "How's it going?"--and it often gets you a more honest and interesting reply. (You'll see what I mean as soon as you give it a try!)

Send your message now. Make sure you send it privately--through email, text, or Facebook, for example.

Now you wait--and if they message back a number from 1 to 10, here's what you're going to reply: "Is there anything I could do to help move it from a 6 to a 7?" (or . . . "from a 3 to a 4" or "from a 10 to an 11"--you get the idea).

I learned this habit from my friend Michael, a philanthropist and entrepreneur who likes to ask this question (and make this offer) to almost everyone he talks to, day in and day out. He asks me to rate my day every single time I see him. He asks it of servers at restaurants when we eat out. He asked my husband the first time they met, too. After a while, I came to the conclusion that this question is completely awesome. You really can ask it of virtually anyone, close friend or stranger. And it's easy to answer--everyone can think of a number from 1 to 10.

Sometimes they'll answer with just a number. Sometimes they'll offer details to explain their number. It's amazing how much you can learn about what's on someone's mind by how they explain their 1, 5, or 10. And when you offer to do something to bump their number up by just +1, it pretty much always makes them smile. You'll be surprised by how surprised other people are when you take the time to explicitly offer your support. Consider this reply from my friend Chris, when I sent him the "1 to 10" question the other day: "Better now that you asked. Truly makes a difference. Was a 5, just became a 7."

Why it works: This quest is designed to adapt the best features of social games to everyday life. It's quick and easy, and like online games, you don't have to be face to face to do it. It models reciprocity: by offering to make someone's day +1 better, you're communicating that you care and that they can count on you for support. And it increases common ground--if they explain their number to you, you'll know a little bit more about what's going on, which gives you something to talk about. If they don't explain their number, you've still checked in--and every check-in helps increase the familiarity that leads to stronger relationships.

Tip: Don't do this quest just once--do it often. Whenever I find myself thinking about someone I haven't talked to in a while, I text them the "1 to 10" question. It's an easy and fun habit to develop and a great way to spark conversation. And if it becomes a playful tradition with some of your friends and family, all the better!


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