how are you

How Are You Doing?

When was the last time you really asked yourself: How are you doing? Not in the same way you throw around “how are you doing?” as a glorified greeting in everyday conversations.

You’ve worn out the question that way, like all the rest of us. Over the years “how are you doing?” lost its true sense of care and curiosity, becoming as numb as the canned responses to that rhetorical question…

  • I’m good.
  • Fine. And, how are you?
  • Doing great. Busy, but great.

Most of the time we don’t give ourselves a chance to answer the rhetorical “how are you doing?” because we never ask it. Instead, we focus on a very different question: What are you doing?

It’s understandable that “what are you doing?” is engrained in so many of us. We have been raised in a society of “do” and we are only rewarded when we “do more.” It’s a contest to see who can do the most.

I’ll admit that when someone asks me how I am doing, I typically blurt out the third bullet point response listed above on auto-pilot…

Doing great. Busy, but great.

If I ask myself “how are you doing?” and I use that canned response, for once I look at what I’m saying—what lies beneath my choice of words.

I’m obviously competing in the “who can do the most” contest. I’m a reluctant competitor but I’m still showing up to compete.

I’m not fine, good, or great. I’d rather move on and get back to answering “what are you doing?” because focusing on “what” all the time is a hell of a lot easier than facing the “how.”

This is my first weekend off in…oh, about two months. Work, a new business, and other life transitions have swept me up into a tornado of doing. I finally asked myself how I was doing, without falling back on the default response.

Funny, because there was not a simple answer. In fact, the response was not a word or a sentence. It was more of a feeling response.

Since I ditched alcohol back in June, I’ve pushed myself to improve myself. In my typical extremist fashion, I’ve overdone it along the way. I’m acknowledging my self-induced whirlwind, which I will not call busyness because it’s not. I’m working through a lot of shit and I’m growing because of it.

Personal growth is pretty brutal when you’re not using a crutch (like alcohol or whatever). Still, you limp forward—fully aware of every second of awkwardness, regret, stupidity, and pain. But, you’re still inching toward the person you want to become, making progress slowly, slowly, slowly.

John Keats once said: “Do you not see how necessary a world of pains and troubles is to school an intelligence and make it a soul?”

Wherever you are right now—no matter how wrapped up you are—take a moment for self-inquiry. Ask yourself how you’re doing and skip the canned response. Give a real answer and keep working on your soul.

17 thoughts on “How Are You Doing?

  1. One of the women I run with, Jeannie, is a Malaysian accountant. Working in the Channel Islands, she can’t believe the contrast with her homeland. In Malaysia a professional is defined by their work. There Jeannie would head to work in the morning before her parents were awake. She’d work until the boss went home, usually very late. Her parents would usually be going to bed. Maybe, when you reach age 50, you might make manager, and lots more money. And – we both ask simultaneously – for what? Here in Jersey she runs on a Saturday morning, free as a bird, instead of working. She can’t believe the freedom, the quality of life.

    Britt you ask the question that too few people ask. We should all ask it early in life until waiting until our final years. But the world works in a way that demands our labour, our attention. It’s not so easy to disengage. But no one on their deathbed ever said ‘I wish I’d worked harder’.

    1. What a beautiful story, Roy. I’m glad Jeannie found more time to be free.

      Life’s certainly too short and the world asks so much of us. But, it is up to us to recognize that and figure out a way to improve our quality of life. I’m working on quality of life improvements myself this year, as you can tell by my post. Excited for some upcoming changes that will allow more freedom and less stress.

  2. Hello Britt, lovely and pertinate post. I too dumped alcohol about a years ago, super great super hard. I too haven’t had a weekend off, well…a weekend? Not since my last visa run two months ago. Forutantley, I really love my job.
    It is a great question and a great reminder, and for me is asked often, but still more with actions, Am I going to yoga today? yes…Is my phone off after dinner? Did I meditate today? Have I allowed myself time to do nothing? Did I sleep well? Did I drink enough water…
    The more I am able to asnswer yes these sorts of things the better I am.
    xo A

    1. I love my business, but running a business can be very difficult to balance. Especially since we are a husband and wife team!

      It’s so important to take breaks and step away to reexamine ourselves. Sounds like you’re checking in with yourself and asking all of the right questions. xo

  3. I’ve had my WordPress notifications turned off for a long time while I pursued my goals. Turns out I miss my WP peeps. So I’ve been checking in to see how everyone’s doing. Glad to hear that you’re on a positive track! Stay well and keep walking down that path. xo

    1. Hey, Jilanne! I’ve been trying to get back into the blog world a bit this year. Mainly, I only have time to write a little something here and there. It’s lovely to hear from you and I hope you’re well. Obviously the world is pretty nuts right now with the Coronavirus, so it’s a time where we are all being tested in some way. Even more important to check in with ourselves and see how we’re doing!

  4. It’s also important to have people in our life who ask us that in a genuine way. We often don’t think we have time to think about it. Yet if we don’t ask ourselves, maybe nobody else will. We’re so much more than our bodies and our tasks. Your self-honesty shines through here again, Britt!

    1. I totally agree, MJ! We are so much more than our bodies and our tasks. When I get wrapped up in the day-to-day, I quite literally feel like a machine…on/off…but mostly on. Not a great feeling and I’m working on being more kind to myself. Self-inquiry is always a good idea!

  5. Reblogged this on Self Help (Personal Growth) Books and commented: Hi Britt

    Thanks for the follow and likes.
    if you want to follow me, go to
    (to find one or two of interest…perhaps)



    # Though my family and close friends say it would be far more entertaining with a video-camera* in the “real world”, rather than in cyberspace!)
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    All the best with your blog and books, Britt
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