How Are You Doing Today, and Would Connecting Make It Better?

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A year ago, I was asked to serve on an advisory council for a national retail fashion company. It sounded like fun, and I immediately said yes. Not only am I a sucker for great clothes, I also love knowing what the trends are!

And equally as enjoyable, my responsibilities are simple. Each season, I express my preferences for the clothing items the company will market in the next season’s catalog.

When I opened my most recent email expecting to see images of sweaters, jackets, and slacks, I was surprised to find an altogether different set of questions. Titled “How are you doing today?”, the company wanted my take on current events, as well as my state of mind and mood.

Interesting, I thought! It is rare to be sincerely asked how the world is treating me. I appreciated the chance to reflect. Do you?


The first question on the company’s “how are you doing today” survey asked, on a scale of 1 to 5, how happy are you? Okay, I knew how to answer that, and gave it a 5. The next question was harder. Also using the same scale, are you more often calm or anxious? I gave that one a 4.

But the questions kept getting more challenging.

Are you nervous about the future vs. hopeful for the future? Hmmm. That had to be a 3, given not only my personal life, but also the state of the economy, the world, and the country.

Are you more often relaxed or stressed? Being truthful, that was another 3. I’d like to think I can relax, but given how much is on my plate (and yours too, no doubt!), I landed squarely in the middle of the scale.

And then came the kicker question: on a scale of 1 to 5, are you connected or disconnected? Ah! I am a 5, because I believe that connection is the difference maker. To be connected is to feel heard, safe, and best of all, valued.

When I know others have my back and I have theirs, those connections lessen every challenge.


Sometimes it takes stepping outside our own world view to know exactly how we are doing. What we think we have under control in the light of day may reveal itself lacking when we take a more objective look at our connections and relationships.

To know how connected you are, ask yourself these questions:

  • Do I have someone to call in case of emergencies? Do I have more than “one” someone?
  • Who will listen to me when I need personal advice? Who will give me career advice?
  • Do I have a friendship that fills in the gaps where my marriage or other romantic relationships can’t?
  • Who do I look up to, or see as a role model, and am I easily able to reach them?
  • Do I feel confident in my ability to continue expanding my circle?


We can all hear in our heads the voice of the “survey says” pitchman from the popular television show. I admit I couldn’t ever get all the answers right, but it was fun to try. And the more my responses fell in line with the contestants and the TV audience, the more I felt “connected”. But that was simplistic – only an artificial game show connection.

What I advocate for are real connections with real people.

Our level of connectedness is in direct proportion to how we all “are doing today”. Doing well? I would bet it’s at least partially because you don’t feel alone. The pandemic taught us that lesson.

Now I am grateful companies like the one I am advising are taking notice and asking questions.

So how will you answer your own connection survey? I hope affirmatively! I also hope you believe the act of being a connector will make your life better and richer.

Let me know at


  • Ann Louden

    A seasoned executive in the nonprofit world, Ann Louden is the founder and CEO of Ann Louden Strategy and Consulting. Recognized for her expertise in fund raising, high profile special events, and campaign planning, Ann provides counsel to chief executives, staff, and volunteer leadership. Ann’s primary interest areas are education, health care for women and children, the arts, and adoption. As a cancer survivor, she led and was the twelve-year spokesperson for a breast cancer advocacy initiative that engaged thousands of survivors, volunteers and medical providers. With a mantra of bringing big ideas to life, Ann focuses on identifying a compelling vision and creating a goals-oriented plan for execution. An in-demand national speaker for the Council for Advancement and Support of Education, Ann is the recipient of the Steuben Excellence in Teaching Award and has been named as a CASE Laureate. She is the author of the upcoming book: From Social Courage to Connection: Lessons from Leaders Who Change and Save Lives. You can find her at

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