Orchard Lab

A place to share my thoughts and learnings

How do you feel

Posted at — Sep 2, 2023

With every single sophisticated tool nowadays, we are constantly measured by numbers: how well we perform, how well we accomplish certain tasks, how effective we were in our training.

However, we still rarely measure how we actually feel.

The first time I encountered this question was actually from my Suunto watch. By the end of the running workout, on top of showing the running summary, it will ask, “How was it? (Excellent, Good, OK, Poor ..)”.

Suddenly, I realized that what we feel matters. Because there are just so many things stats and completion rates cannot capture. And how we feel matters in the longevity of the training. Sometimes, even if the stats show perfect numbers, but if we constantly feel terrible, we might risk ourselves getting injured or burnt out.

Asking “How do you feel?” can create a sense of being cared for, which may enhance the psychological benefits of exercise and contribute to a more positive overall experience.

At BetterUp, I love the conscious checking part of our sprint retro meeting, which I never had before. In the past, all we cared about was how many tickets we closed, how well we could estimate the next sprint, but no one cared about how you feel.

To be clear, I don’t think asking “how do you feel” is the ultimate cure for team productivity, but I can say, I feel much more motivated and recharged after just casually chatting about our feelings, or putting those in my journal.

The same can apply to the products we use. Sometimes we can’t articulate why we prefer certain tools over others, but they just make us feel good (Apple WWDC 2013 - What do we want people to feel?).

Next time, try to ask more of yourself (or others), “How do I/you feel?”

So the next time you find yourself overwhelmed by metrics and numbers, take a moment to step back and listen to your feelings. After all, a little emotional self-check can make the journey, whether it’s a sprint retro or a morning jog, all the more meaningful.