David proves here that no one trait is more indicative of success than the ability to collaborate gracefully with your own emotions. Learning how is the difference between a fight and a dance! Marshall Goldsmith, regarding Susan David’s Emotional Agility
Susan David, PhD, author of the new Emotional Agility: Get Unstuck, Embrace Change, and Thrive in Work and Life, has studied this concept for over two decades and, according to her book blurb, has “found that no matter how intelligent or creative people are, or what type of personality they have, it is how they navigate their inner world—their thoughts, feelings, and self-talk—that ultimately determines how successful they will become.”
Emotional agility as more specifically defined by the author:
…the ability to come to your inner world – your thoughts, emotions, experiences and self-stories – with courage, compassion and curiosity. Instead of these inner experiences holding you hostage, shrinking your life, or clouding your interactions, you’re able to learn from them; evaluate the situations you face; be clear-sighted about your options; and move forward with values and purpose. Emotional Agility is a critical skillset that helps you make real changes in your life, both at work and at home. It is key to thriving.
David’s book builds on an article she co-wrote in 2013 with Christina Congleton in the Harvard Business Review. At that time they recommended four different practices toward emotional agility in life and work that were adapted from Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT):
- Recognize your patterns: “…(N)otice when you’ve been hooked by your thoughts and feelings.”
- Label your thoughts and emotions. “Just as you call a spade a spade, call a thought a thought and an emotion an emotion.”
- Accept them. “The opposite of control is acceptance—not acting on every thought or resigning yourself to negativity but responding to your ideas and emotions with an open attitude, paying attention to them and letting yourself experience them.”
- Act on your values. “When you unhook yourself from your difficult thoughts and emotions, you expand your choices.”
The newer four steps outlined in Emotional Agility are similar but reconfigured:
- Showing up: Accepting all your emotions, positive or negative.
- Stepping out: Creating distance between yourself and your thoughts or feelings. One way to do this, for instance, is through writing about them.
- Walking your why: Or, deciding how to act based on what you’ve learned about yourself.
- Moving on: Continuing to tweak your “mindset, motivation, and habits.”
So, everyone likes a good (and free) quiz, no? Take five minutes to go here and find out not only how you personally rate on emotional agility but also how you can make desirable changes. Impressively, if you opt for it, you’ll quickly get a lengthy and detailed analysis (“Emotional Agility Insights Report”) in your email. It’s a chance to see if you like what the book could do for you.