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CM 061: Susan David on Emotional Agility: It is essential to achieve our goals, yet few of us practice it. It is emotional agility -- the ability to navigate the thoughts, feelings, and stories we tell ourselves as challenges arise. This does not mean ignoring how we feel or wallowing in thos...

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It is essential to achieve our goals, yet few of us practice it.

It is emotional agility -- the ability to navigate the thoughts, feelings, and stories we tell ourselves as challenges arise. This does not mean ignoring how we feel or wallowing in those emotions. And it is certainly not about just being happy all the time. It is about recognizing that the monologue inside our heads is not in control of us but, rather, we are in control of it.

That is something Susan David knows a lot about. Author of the book, Emotional Agility: Get Unstuck, Embrace Change, and Thrive in Work and Life, she is a psychologist on the faculty of Harvard Medical School, Co-Founder and Co-Director of the Institute of Coaching at McLean Hospital, and CEO of Evidence Based Psychology. Her writing has been featured in numerous publications, including Harvard Business Review, Time, Fast Company, and The Wall Street Journal.

Insights from our interview:  

How we deal with our thoughts and emotions impacts our well being
In a time of unprecedented complexity we need to be agile and responsive
We get hooked when we treat our thoughts and emotions as facts
How we can be blind to what is right in front of us
The fact that we will look for information to support the stories we make up
We engage with thought blaming when we give too much power to our thoughts
We need to let go of our need to be right
Between stimulus response, there is a space where we can choose
When we bottle emotions our emotions, we miss out on what they can teach us
When we brood or give too much space to thoughts and emotions, we get stuck
Brooding prevents closure and moving forward
Our consumer culture can make us feel that we are not good enough
When we extend compassion to ourselves we are more open to change
Constant comparison to others sets up a never ending competition
Giving language to our emotions helps us make plans and solve problems
Journaling thoughts and feelings for just 20 minutes a day can be life changing
When we walk our why, we are more resilient and focused
Walking our why helps us overcome social contagion
The value of tweaking our emotions from have to to want to
Making the shift from have to to want to is about prioritizing our values
Have to language makes our brains rebel and is about obligation and shame
Our brains are wired to make us comfortable - the unfamiliar feels unsafe
Aim for a state of whelm, rather than over- or underwhelmed
Emotional labor is the difference work demands and how we feel
How many workplaces are operating out of old industrial models?
How to raise emotionally agile children? Help them identify and label emotions.
Courage is not the absence of fear. Courage is fear walking.
Faced with complexity, we are less likely to collaborate, innovate or relate
Complexity requires we develop inner skills

Selected Links to Topics Mentioned

Susan David

@SusanDavid_PhD

Emotional Agility article in HBR

Victor Frankl

Charles Darwin

James Pennebaker

Take Pride by Jessica Tracy

NYTimes article - Teaching Your Child Emotional Agility

The Quiz - Emotional Agility Report - Susan David

How Levis Is Building Well-Being Programs Where They Matter Most: In Factories by Adele Peters

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