5 Lessons From How Are You, Really?

Life gets busy, and if we’re not careful it can slip through the cracks and leave us burnt out. Long, purposeful  conversations become short, meaningless check ins and goals we once had become distant afterthoughts. In the midst of all of this there is one simple question to ask yourself, and even those around you: How are you? I mean, how are you, really? 

*Hint: Fine and okay are not the answers here. 

This is a simple question, only four words and two punctuation marks, but the magnitude of this question can change everything. This is a question that can get you back to your 100% authentic self. Jenna Kutcher shows us how to do this in her new book How Are You, Really?

Before we get into the full review of How Are You, Really?, I want to introduce you to the author of the book, Jenna Kutcher. 

Who Is Jenna Kutcher?

Jenna describes herself as a small-town Minnesota photographer, podcaster, educator, and now, author. Her journey to creating her empire started when Jenna bought a $300 camera from Craigslist. Since then she has inspired many people to go after their goals through her podcast, Goal Digger, and other resources.

When she’s not inspiring people to scale their business, Jenna is sharing her authentic self while encouraging others to do the same. This is where her new book comes in.

Why Should You Read This Book

How Are You, Really? Is just as much a memoir as it is a practical guide, or call, to discover who you are and what you want. In her book Jenna shares everything from how she started her photography business to her journey of starting a family.

You’ll read about her successes and her heartbreaks and see that through it all Jenna showed up authentically herself. Throughout the book you’ll discover how you too can live your truth, and learn how it can make a world of difference. 

If you feel like you are running on empty and unsure of how to make things better, it’s time to ask yourself a few questions. One of them is, you guessed it, how are you, really?

Photo by Kelly Clark

5 Lessons From How Are You, Really?

I knew I would love this book, but I wasn’t sure how much. Jenna’s book challenged me to take inventory of who I am, where I am, and where I want to be. Here are some of the core takeaways that I got from How Are You, Really?.

The Importance of Pausing

If we are going to be asking ourselves these reflective questions, we can’t rush through them. One of my favorite quotes from this book comes early on, and it’s a perfect stepping stone for the rest of the book. “We can’t move forward if we don’t pause long enough to see where we are. We can’t process what is hidden from us. We can’t learn to cope until we know what we are really coping with.”

It’s time to pause and take inventory of where you are at and where you want to be. In fact, Jenna includes a life inventory in the first chapter of the book. You’ll answer questions like: what inspires you? What makes you cry with joy? What do you find unfair? What do you want to create in the world? and more.

When you pause to answer these questions, you’ll be more willing to answer them truthfully. Then we can really get to work.

Who Are You, Really?

There are so many voices and opinions vying for our attention, when was the last time you listened to yours? From social media, to well-meaning family and friends, it seems everyone has an opinion on how we should feel and what we should do.

The only opinion we should be listening to is our own, but we’ve been ignoring our intuition. Jenna Kutcher says it best in chapter four, “we’ve become information gatherers when what we need to do is seek our intuition.”

Here are a few questions that Jenna suggests asking ourselves: “Does this feel true to me? Does this method or path align with my goals? How is my gut responding to this information? And How am I, really?”

There are two great things that can come from getting clear on who you are. By following your intuition you inspire others to do the same, and you can now get clear on what you want. 

What Do You Really Want?

Have you ever found yourself in the middle of a thought, or a dream, but then you quickly dismiss it, saying things like “I’ll never be able to do that” or “I wouldn’t even know how to start?” Yeah, me too. Lately I’ve been realizing the power of taking small steps instead of counting myself out.

Once I gave myself permission to dream, and said it out loud, my dream became more possible in my mind. One of my favorite quotes from How Are You, Really? is about the importance of going after your passions and dreams. “In coming alive to our passions, we invite others to do the same.”

She goes on to say, “In sharing our dreams with someone else, we take the first step of many: admitting we have something pulling at our curiosities, and we just might be courageous enough to pursue that thing.”

So I’ll end this section by asking you this: what do you really want? What is the first step you are going to take to go for your dreams?

Friendships Are Built In The Small Moments

Going after what you want by yourself isn’t as fun as having someone to share it with. While you are being encouraged by your tribe, you can be an encouragement to them as well. The hard part is creating and maintaining that tribe.

It was easy back in school because we had this shared space and shared routine. Now that we are adults chasing different dreams, and in different stages of life, it’s a lot harder. However, it’s not impossible.

Jenna shows us how to do that in chapter 11 of her book. Here are three key points to takeaway from this chapter on friendship:

  1. “If you want to make a friend, be a friend” – Be the kind of friend that you are needing. Show up for the people in your life and they will show up for you.
  2. “Maintaining rich and vibrant relationships takes work, commitment, and shared expectations.” – We’re all busy, but with a little intentionality and purpose, strong friendships can be built and maintained.
  3. “Friendship isn’t a spotlight to be shoved into. It’s a floodlight to be shared.” – You won’t always agree on everything, and some periods of time may be more celebratory for one more than the other, but we can still root for and love each other.

Avoiding Future Burnout

Now that you have realigned with your truth and discovered what you want, it’s an exciting time. You may want to go all out, full steam ahead! That would be a mistake though.

This will only leave you burnt out, and likely start this whole process over again. What you want to do is create some boundaries in your life. 

Jenna says it best in chapter 18:  “Boundaries protect yourself from staying in constant motion because that’s when we stay so busy and distracted we stop listening to our souls, checking in with our bodies, or hearing our intuition.” When you are realigned with your purpose, don’t rush it. Now is the time to set up some boundaries in your personal and your professional life. Doing this will give you room to work on going after what you want. 

Now that you have followed your intuition, discovered what you want, and set some boundaries, you are on your way to creating the life of your dreams. Just remember to take time every so often and ask yourself, how are you, really?

As you can tell, this book is full of guidance and inspiration on becoming your truest self. Grab How Are You, Really? if you are ready to answer the hard questions and get to your most authentic self. Let me know your favorite quotes and takeaways in the comments.

About the Author

Kelly Clark

Kelly graduated from Liberty University with a degree in Advertising and Public Relations and a minor in Journalism. Even though it took her a little while to find her career path, she was always meant to be in Communications. She remembers writing poems and songs when she was a little girl and pitching to my parents the reasons why I should have a cell phone when I was a teenager. She currently has a blog (budding-joy.com) where she talks about her weight-loss journey, mental health and personal development. Her hope is to encourage and inspire readers and let them know they are not alone. Reading blog posts like that are what helped her in tough times and she wants to pay it forward. She loves dance fitness, listening to music, and creating layouts in her bullet journal. She’s a big fan of planning, especially when cute notebooks and pens are involved.
Her dream job has changed so much over the years; right now she’d love to co-own a dance studio.

Website: budding-joy.com