The Real Potential of Emotional Agility

The Real Potential of Emotional Agility

You’ve heard about “emotional intelligence.” So what’s “emotional agility” and how is it different? Xenium’s own Tyler Meuwissen joins us to discuss a Xenium Book Club favorite: Emotional Agility by Susan David. We’ll break down the concept of emotional agility and cover the ways that emotional agility allows us to overcome challenges, reframe our realities and continue to grow. We’ll also discuss some of the tactics that can help anyone reach their full potential, no matter what you’re trying to achieve.

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Run Time: 35:45

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Brandon Laws: Well, I’ve got my good buddy Tyler back. For listeners that have been around with us for a while, that means we’re going to talk about a book, a book that we’ve talked about in our Xenium Book Club.

If you haven’t seen some of the books that we’ve been reading, we talk about them on this podcast quite a bit. We also have a website landing page that’s just dedicated to all the books we’ve read. And Tyler, we’ve been doing this for how many years? Four?

Tyler Meuwissen: Four years.

Brandon: Four years. And we’ve read – I think 30 books or so. For people who have been here from day one, they’ve read like 30 books. So we have an awesome list. I will probably link to it in the show notes. Just that way, you can access it pretty quick. But it’s a very worthwhile book club. I actually encourage other workplaces to get involved.

So if you’re listening, you’re an HR person and you’re like, “Hey, I’ve been thinking about this book club,” do it. I’m telling you, it’s the best thing. Not only can people learn from the books that they’re reading, but the discussion is so much fun. Everybody gets different nuggets. So what would you say that the value is from that?

Tyler: Yeah. I mean you get different perspectives on books you’ve been reading and it’s kind of a cool atmosphere to get a bunch of your colleagues together discussing a book and they can pick up on things that you may not have thought through or thought of through the book. So it’s kind of a fun, collaborative –

Brandon: Yeah. I think the best part is we’ve developed so many relationships that are cross-departments. So if you have like a larger organization where it’s impossible to get people to interact with each other, besides just normal passing in the halls, this is a great way to get to know each other, I think.

Tyler: Yeah. I definitely agree.

Brandon: So our book that we just finished up with a discussion probably three weeks ago, it’s called Emotional Agility: Get Unstuck, Embrace Change, and Thrive in Work and Life. This was written by Susan David, PhD. It’s a New York Times best-selling author and book, I think.

Tyler: Yeah.

Brandon: So I’m going to set the stage for us real quick. So emotional agility, I’m going to define it in her words that she had in the book. I thought it was – it helps kind of just define what emotional agility is. We’ve heard of emotional intelligence. So what’s the difference, right?

Tyler: Yeah.

Brandon: Well, I think this helps. So the definition in her words, “Emotional agility is a process that allows you to be in the moment, changing or maintaining your behaviors to live in ways that align with your intentions and values. This process isn’t about ignoring difficult emotions and thoughts. It’s about holding those emotions and thoughts loosely, facing them courageously and compassionately, and then moving past them to make big things happen in your life.” That’s the end of the definition. Tyler, what sticks out in your mind about that definition versus what you’ve heard about emotional intelligence?

Tyler: Well, I think it’s just more the flexible nature. You know, especially when you’re coming across certain situations in the moment, being able to be flexible and loose and kind of understanding the emotions that you’re going to be feeling in certain circumstances. So I think what sticks out is the flexibility nature of it, being flexible in your mind and your emotions.

Brandon: Yeah. No, I think what we’ve heard about emotional intelligence, there seems to be a lot of self-awareness.

Tyler: Yeah.

Brandon: And being aware of other people’s emotions. For me, like the emotional agility is more about adaptability.

Tyler: Yeah.

Brandon: It’s about, OK, if I know what I’m feeling and I know what other people are feeling, how do you sort of navigate through that to adapt and become a better person as a result of it?

Tyler: Yeah, that’s a great perspective. Yeah, I agree.

Brandon Laws and Tyler Meuwissen

Brandon: The author had mentioned that our so-called negative emotions are often actually working in our favor. You wouldn’t normally think that on the surface. This ties in nicely with just the emotional agility, like just the adaptability nature of it. So why would negative emotions sometimes work in our favor?

Tyler: Well, I think it’s all about the learning. You know, a learning period. So it’s like if you’re constantly being overtly positive and experiencing these over-positive emotions –

Brandon: Wait. It’s not OK to stay in the bubble all day?

Tyler: Exactly. You’re not understanding when things go awry or things may go wrong. How are you going to react to that? So you want to – the negative emotions and negative situations that occur, it’s good to have those to kind of step back and kind of review them and how you react to them, to be able to learn and kind of grow from that.

Brandon: Yeah. I could see – say I’m at work and somebody gives me negative feedback on a project that I did and I thought it was great. Maybe it wasn’t overly-criticized, but it was criticized to a certain extent. And what I’m feeling after that – maybe I’m frustrated, I’m angry, I’m sad. I put my heart and soul into this. But yet, it’s not good enough for this person. This is a made-up story, by the way. I’m just giving an example.

But maybe we can take those negative feelings I would have from that and say – I’m going to step back, I’m going to assess this from the other person’s perspective, and I’m going to say, “Well, maybe I didn’t nail it the way I thought I did because obviously the other person didn’t think I did. So maybe there’s an opportunity to learn here. Maybe there’s an opportunity to become better, and to not react so harshly next time too.”

Tyler: Yeah, I agree. You look at a lot of successful businessmen and scientists. Multiple times they fail. They receive criticism but they keep pushing forward. They learn from what they did and they keep pushing forward and they make great products, or run successful businesses. They were able to understand those criticisms and kind of work it into their favor.

Brandon: So much of emotional agility is about keeping the challenges and growth alive in your life. That was one of the things that stuck out to me – you can use some of these emotions that you’re feeling and challenge yourself. I think that was the point about living in the moment and being aware of what you’re feeling, and then using those to strive for greatness later on. What stuck out to you about this in terms of just challenging yourself and growth?

Tyler: Well, one thing that stuck out was don’t get complacent. Don’t always remain in one state of mind for a long time. A lot of this is growing up opportunities. Don’t necessarily seek out change and challenge. But be receptive to it. Don’t be stuck in one single-minded emotion. So I think it’s more just about embracing a lot of challenges that come your way and just kind of learning from them, grow.

Brandon: Well, it’s hard like if – when you’re not pushing yourself. I think what this book is about is really about pushing yourself to see things differently and react to different things. But like this author talked about becoming too comfortable with preexisting categories. She used a term called, “We’re using premature cognitive commitment, which is essentially like an inflexible response to ideas, things, people or ourselves.”

It leads to heuristics. For those that don’t really understand what heuristics are, it’s like – it’s almost like a statement about yourself or about others that it’s an all-the-time thing. It’s like if you say, “I don’t dance.” You’re at a wedding and somebody is like, “Come dance.” You say, “I don’t dance.”

Tyler: Yeah.

Brandon: And it has probably built up over time based on experiences, it’s an emotional response to whatever is happening and then over time, you’re just like, “I just don’t dance.” But yet, if you went out there and you felt the happiness that comes with dancing, maybe you would change. You challenge yourself a little bit. So heuristics can be dangerous because you label yourself.

Tyler: Exactly, exactly. Facing your emotions, negative emotions, and all the change that comes with that stuff, it’s not an easy process. But I think when you push yourself, as you mentioned earlier, to kind of understand that maybe this is something that I would enjoy doing if I actually did it. Or maybe this is something I can actually learn from, if I sit back and take in the overview perspective of what’s going on in my life. So maybe it’s something you can actually enjoy in the future. So I think this is about facing those challenges.

Brandon: It feels uncomfortable, right? I don’t mind staying in my bubble. But when I’m not growing and I’m not challenging myself emotionally or whatever, it doesn’t feel great. Like you may feel comfortable, but does that feel good?

Tyler: Yeah. Are you going to grow as a person?

Brandon: No, I don’t think so. Well, how do we push ourselves? So how do we get out of this premature cognitive commitment where we’re just staying the same all the time and being inflexible?

Tyler: Yeah. In the book, it mentions facing your emotions, but then also taking small, incremental steps to improving that. So I think you can’t automatically like something that you didn’t like before or expect to react to a situation in a better mood or more open arms than you did before. But it’s just taking those steps, those small steps to kind of move forward and progress.

Brandon: This is totally a cheesy thing. But do you remember that Jim Carrey movie years ago called Yes Man?

Tyler: Yes, yeah.

Brandon: And it was like, “OK, I’m not going to say yes to everything.” But if you just said yes a little bit more often to things, you know, work and your home life, to friends, family, whatever, and you just tried something that you hadn’t tried before. I wonder what that emotional feeling would be. Like if you just – for one day you said, “I’m just going to say yes.”

Tyler: I know.

Brandon: Of course like do things that are legal.

Tyler: Yeah, exactly.

Brandon: Stay within the bounds of law.

Tyler: It’s an interesting kind of concept. That movie really struck me too because it kind of plays into this book a little bit. You’re saying yes to everything.

Brandon: Yeah.

Tyler: Or just being more receptive to things that come your way. Like just overtly trying to do that. I think that might be – you might find something that you never knew that you could experience.

Brandon: Exactly. And then this is all about how do you live in the moment and then how do you capitalize on that? And I think just saying yes more could be one of those quick little things to help you take action. Because how often are we talking with people, or we’re reading a book or we’re watching a TED Talk, when we hear something that we hadn’t heard before and we’re like, “Wow, that’s really interesting.”

But the gap between actually making change in your life isn’t necessarily about just hearing those different things and they push you. It’s about taking action, isn’t it?

Tyler: Yeah, yeah.

Brandon: And most of us don’t. I can’t tell you how many books I’ve read, but then I don’t even take action.

Tyler: Exactly, yeah. I think it has to be that conscious effort to really say, “Hey, I want to change something maybe a little bit about my life.” You know, maybe grow and learn in some form. So it’s kind of having that foresight to say, “Hey, I’m going to try it. I’m going to try something new and see where it takes me.”

Brandon: Yeah.

Tyler: I think a lot of times, when you’re experiencing an emotion, you kind of just get caught up in the emotion. But you never step back and say, “Well, why am I experiencing this emotion? Why do I feel this way?” I think that gets left out when people are kind of processing –

Brandon: I think you hit on the right thing there. Why am I feeling this way? I think a lot of times we don’t sit and reflect on it. I know I don’t.

Tyler: Yeah.

Brandon: A lot of times we feel the anxiety in the moment, or we just take it and just sweep it under the rug, so to speak. But I think this book, and many other books that talk about capturing your emotions and growing and all that, it talks about writing and journaling and talking about the emotions that you’re feeling in the moment. ‘What did you feel yesterday? What did you feel when you woke up? What did you feel last week when a coworker criticized you for something? What were you feeling in the moment?’

Sometimes when we’re either not talking to people or not writing things down – I know several books that have talked about just writing things down – because it can be very therapeutic and it can help you adapt to the emotions you’re feeling to grow long term.

Tyler: Yeah, and it helps you articulate what you want to say too. Because a lot of times when you don’t write it down and you’re kind of experiencing things in the moment, you kind of lose yourself a bit. You can’t really express what you’re trying to say.

So writing things down is a medium for you to say, “OK, this is what I felt in the moment and this is how I can articulate this back to an individual that I was discussing this with.”

Brandon: Tyler, what you just said is so fascinating to me. As adults, we have the language, whether it’s English or some other language, we know the words to articulate what we’re feeling, right? We either write it down to ourselves or we can explain. Like I can be talking to you right now and I can say, “Tyler, doing this podcast is making me very anxious. I’m nervous.” We use words that describe the emotions that we’re feeling, right? And by the way, I’m not nervous because we’ve done this a thousand times.

But as adults, we have that language, right? As children, we don’t really have all the words in our vocabulary. So often they will just scream or – I mean, we have children. So you know what it’s like. You were just telling me this morning before I started recording that your son had a temper tantrum, when you were dropping him off for preschool, right?

Tyler: Yeah, that was fun.

Brandon: So yeah, and it’s frustrating because they’re probably feeling some sort of emotion. But they don’t know how to describe it.

Tyler: Yeah.

Brandon: So what it ends up being is kicking and screaming and throwing a fit and – you know, especially with babies. We’re like, OK, well, it’s got to be a dirty diaper, they’re hungry or they’re tired, right? It’s one of those three things. And then as parents, you sort of adapt to it, right?

As adults though, we don’t need to do that. But it often ends up something like that. Not on that end of the spectrum, but we end up like having an angry tantrum, in a way. Or we have a meltdown because we are not articulating what we’re feeling.

Tyler: Exactly, yeah.

Brandon: Right?

Tyler: It’s amazing. It’s fascinating how it doesn’t really change from childhood to adulthood. We experience those emotions and you think that you have all of that language, like you mentioned, and that you can articulate if you are able, so that you don’t outwardly experience those emotions in your current state. But we always kind of react with, “I can’t really explain myself. So I’m just going to get angry, raise my voice,” or “I’m going to shut down completely.”

Brandon: That’s what I do.

Tyler: Yeah. So it’s interesting to me how we kind of progress from childhood to adulthood, which is really not that much in terms of expression or emotions.

Brandon: Yeah.

Tyler: I think the key is with children is you got – they have to understand these emotions. So it’s kind of like working with them to understand, “Well, why are you angry? Why are you feeling this way?” This is what anger is. You’re angry because you didn’t get a toy or you didn’t get a treat that you wanted, or whatever. So it’s kind of about explaining to them why they feel this way. Or if you’re sad, you know, it’s about explaining to them in the simplest terms you can, and then seeing where that progresses.

Brandon: Yeah. Kind of like when you walk into a school or a doctor’s office and there are 10 different smiley faces showing the range of emotions, and the doctor will point to the scale and ask, what are you feeling right now about this pain or whatever it may be?

Tyler: Yeah.

Brandon: Because they’re visual. They can see the way their face should be. I have children and it’s funny how emotionally intelligent they can be, or aware of what you’re feeling. I don’t even have to say a word, and if I show frustration on my face or disappointment on my face, they know it, right?

Tyler: Yeah.

Brandon: So then they can make adjustments based on that. It’s funny. Verbalizing how you feel becomes so much harder.

Tyler: It is, yeah. I know. Yeah.

Brandon: But yeah, they can recognize it. So I think to be emotionally-agile, you have to sort of look at the visual aspects – body language, facial expressions. But you also have to learn how to use your words properly.

Tyler: Yeah.

Brandon: This is dealing with a co-worker, or it could be dealing with an employee or –

Tyler: Yeah, it’s tied up together too. As you mentioned, you have the non-verbal cues and the non-verbal responses. But then tying that with, “Well, how does this make me feel?”

Brandon: Yeah.

Tyler: And I think that’s one way to help navigate development, for children especially.

Brandon: So there’s another concept, I want to just kind of move on a little bit, a concept from the author, talking about “monkey mind.” I don’t know if you remember this part. But it was basically talking about how you obsess over the past, pulling from the future, and it takes out of the moment. So– I’m trying to think of an example. But let’s say you’re just dealing with something in the moment. You should just be in the moment.

But yet you’re – maybe you had a similar situation in the past that you’re pulling from – and you’re pulling emotions from there. Or you’re thinking about the future in some capacity and you’re feeling emotions that you would expect to feel. You’re pulling those things together, and you’re totally taken away from the moment.

Tyler: Yeah. No, I think that’s –

Brandon: It’s dangerous.

Tyler: I think when you’re trying to pull in too many things all at once, you kind of overlook and neglect the current situation, the reason why you’re feeling this certain way now. Because it could be completely different. Maybe it was similar in the past or you’re looking towards the future and how this is going to make you feel, or how this is going to play out.

But I think that’s really – you’re making yourself too convoluted with thoughts and feelings when really you should be focusing on why are you feeling this way now, and then take it from there. So a small-step process.

Brandon: Yeah, I love that. The author also said that we need to embrace the “beginner’s mind.” Have you ever played a new game or maybe started a new subject or read something that was totally new to you, like a concept you had never considered before. What did you feel in the moment?

If you can recall something that was so fresh to you, what did you feel?

Tyler: It’s just kind of like an eye-opening experience to me. It’s like –

Brandon: You’re open-minded, right?

Tyler: Yeah. It’s something completely new. It comes from completely – you haven’t understood before or – yeah, you just kind of embrace it with more of an open mind.

Brandon: But you don’t pull from the past, right? You don’t pull any emotions that you’re feeling and you don’t even pull from the future because you don’t even know what you’re about to read or do or whatever, right? So you have a fresh set of eyes on it. You’re like excited probably and you’re feeling all these things you haven’t really felt before and you’re in the moment.

Tyler: Yeah.

Brandon: Like that’s cool.

Tyler: Yeah, it’s a great feeling. It’s a great experience.

Brandon: Yeah, and that’s why I think like the author said we need to embrace the beginner’s mind so that we look at things with a fresh eye, a fresh pair of eyes, because it’s such a different experience than if you have preconceived notions about something.

Tyler: Yeah.

Brandon: Or you’re anticipating that it’s going to feel a certain way.

Tyler: Yeah. You can’t let the past cloud the feelings that you can experience in the now, especially with new emotions, like you just mentioned. I think of movies or something like that. You watch a movie. You have no preconceived notion of what this movie is about – you may have a summary of what it’s about.

Brandon: Yeah.

Tyler: But you don’t know how you’re going to feel when you’re watching this movie and it could be a completely moving experience – you know, emotions that you didn’t think you would feel before or have felt before. So I think, because I love movies, I think that’s kind of how I relate to that experience.

Brandon: There have been movies that I’ve watched, and all I had read beforehand was the summary, or somebody recommended it, and when you finish it, you just can’t stop thinking about it.

Tyler: Yeah.

Brandon: I know there have been several movies in the last couple of years that I’ve watched, and I’ll find myself lying awake at night just thinking about it because it was just so mind-blowing to me. The range of emotions I felt after watching these movies, it felt so cool. It was so fresh to me.

Tyler: Yeah, that’s a great feeling. And so I completely agree with the author’s take on the learner’s mind. So I think that’s kind of how I want to perceive and view new experiences as well – with a fresh perspective.

Brandon: I feel like there are so many opportunities to do this throughout the day. We can have conversations with people where we can just ask them questions that might draw out the answers that we never would have thought of. So, interactions with people. There are probably things that we can do during the work day that would inspire us and cause us to look at things from a unique perspective. And what we would probably feel from that is that it’s rewarding, right?

Tyler: Yeah.

Brandon: And I’m not going to put words in other people’s mouths. I’m sure it would have a lot of different meanings for a lot of people and they would feel something very unique.

Tyler: I completely agree.

Brandon: There’s this example of – it’s a husband-wife situation, but you can apply this to anybody. Tyler, you’re laughing because you know what I’m going to say. This applies at work, absolutely. So there’s an example and this is in the book, just making reference to it. But this is actually, I believe, a YouTube video that was floating around there for a while. It features a husband-wife pair. The woman is venting about something and – she’s got a nail in her head – in her forehead. And her boyfriend or husband is just sitting there kind of looking straight at the nail that’s in her forehead.

She says, “There’s just so much pressure. I can just feel it,” and the boyfriend says, “Well, you’ve got a nail in your head. Just pull it out.” But she says, “No, you’re not listening to me.” He says, “Well, you’ve got a nail in your head.” She keeps repeating, “But there’s just so much pressure.” And he keeps repeating, “Well, you’ve got a nail in your head.”

The whole point of this is that often – this is not just a woman-man thing. But a lot of people, instead of listening to the person or just allowing them to go through the range of emotions and vent about all those things, we want to jump in and fix it. We’re not really listening to them. We’re just wanting to hammer the nail, so to speak. That was the metaphor.

But the nail is just like on the surface, but there are deeper issues that she was trying to get out. How do we use this? How do we use that in work and in life I guess?

Tyler: I think it’s really about – you may know what the problem is, whether it be a nail in the head or some kind of issue going on. But I think it’s more important to understand the individual’s emotions and how they feel about that problem, to really kind of work towards fixing it or just even – maybe it’s not even fixing it. Maybe it’s just understanding how they feel in that moment. And I think that will help us gain a better perspective on, and with developing a relationship with that person.

Brandon: Trust.

Tyler: Trust, yeah. You’re not trying to fix anything. I think inherently, human beings inherently want to fix things. They always want to fix. I mean it’s kind of like that. But maybe in certain situations, you don’t. You can’t fix it and maybe you shouldn’t fix it. Maybe –

Brandon: Just let it be.

Tyler: Let it be and kind of understand those person’s feelings about it.

Brandon: I was going to draw a comparison to the 2008-2009 collapse of the economy. You’ve got the government and the feds – they want to try to fix it, right? Just jump in and fix it. Whereas some people will just say, “Yeah, just let it be.”

Tyler: Exactly.

Brandon: Let it go through its cycle and – I guess there are two schools of argument with anything like that. But your point is, as human beings, we want to jump in and just fix things. Sometimes they just need to work through it. People need to figure it out for themselves and go through the range of emotions.

Tyler: Yeah.

Brandon: And feel it. Because then that’s a good learning opportunity for when you come across another thing in the future.

Tyler: Yeah.

Brandon: And now they know how to handle it because they’ve already been through it.

Tyler: Exactly, exactly. So I think it’s more about addressing the emotions and the feelings behind the problem rather than addressing the problem itself head on. No pun intended with the nail.

Brandon: I love that. I think it’s why I did that exact example is because you can use so many puns with that.

I want to touch on three different things and then I will let you go.

So there’s this thing about social contagion that the author brings up. And it’s basically about how you mindlessly plow through your day watching what other people are doing, and you make decisions based on what everybody else is doing, and not what you’re doing.

So you’re totally not living in the moment. You’re watching. You’re observing what other people are doing. And what they’re doing might catch on. You might make silly decisions based on that. An example that we all hear is ‘keeping up with the Joneses,’ right?

Tyler: Yeah.

Brandon: You see somebody that buys a car next year. Maybe everybody in the neighborhood is buying a new car. It seems that way. So then you’re like, “Oh, I’m going to buy a new car too.”

Tyler: Yeah.

Brandon: I deserve it.

Tyler: Yeah.

Brandon: Instead of asking, “Is this the right decision for my family?”

Tyler: Also the societal pressures. You try to confirm and be like everybody else. But really I think you should really kind of take a step back and take an overview perspective and ask, “Is this something that I want to do or is this something that I think other people would want me to do?”

Brandon: Yeah.

Tyler: So I think we have a lot of focus on what others think of us rather than what we think of ourselves. So I think it’s important to understand our emotions first rather than everybody else’s.

Brandon: I mean you think about it at work, right? If you care too much about what people think of you, maybe you’re making decisions based on pleasing people all day long.

Tyler: Yeah, yeah.

Brandon: So you’re not doing anything that’s actually fulfilling to you. Then all of a sudden, you’re unhappy at work and you’re going through all of these emotions. Whereas, if you just stop thinking of other people first from that perspective, and trying to please and make decisions based on what other people want, maybe we can figure out ourselves internally a little bit.

Tyler: Exactly, exactly.

Brandon: One other quick thing. So the author says, “Cheap thrills have high costs.” What does she mean by that?

Tyler: Well, my take on it at least is that, when you expect to experience things that are just kind of granular, not refined, and it’s in the moment, it takes you away from your understanding of the emotions. So experiencing things that just might get an immediate reaction.

Brandon: Yeah. Oh, like an immediate, positive reaction.

Tyler: You know, positive or negative reaction.

Brandon: A hit of like dopamine or whatever. It just feels good.

Tyler: Yeah, whatever feels good in the moment. But it takes away from understanding the other emotions that you could be feeling, in a deeper lining, kind of understanding of your emotional state.

Brandon: Yeah. We’ve talked about this a lot on our podcasts. But it just relates to employee productivity stuff, health-related things. So, having a beer at night – you know, it’s a nice, cheap thrill. You feel good in the moment. Or a glass of wine. I’m not knocking that at all.

But a lot of times we might do something like that where we think, “Oh, I just need it. It will help my stress,” or whatever. But the high cost long term could be maybe that your health depletes. Maybe you don’t get good sleep.

Tyler: Yeah.

Brandon: Like that’s what I think the author means is that we make decisions. Like maybe I didn’t need a $5 latte today from Starbucks because the high cost can be it’s maybe not great for my health. Maybe I’m not going to sleep well tonight. Maybe my checking account goes down as a result of it.

You know, I think there are so many things that you can do. But in the moment, like I felt good.

Tyler: Yeah.

Brandon: Right? I think that’s kind of the point.

Tyler: Yeah. I think – I mean there’s like no quick fixes, especially when you’re talking about your emotional health. So I think it’s – when you expect to get cheap thrills, you’re going to get cheap responses and cheap kind of solvent.

Brandon: It’s nothing deep.

Tyler: Yeah.

Brandon: Yeah.

Tyler: So I think it’s nothing deep.

Brandon: No deep emotional change and that’s the result of those cheap thrills.

Tyler: It’s not changing yourself. You’re just kind of putting a Band-Aid on a situation where it could get out of hand later on because you’re not really addressing the true issue.

Brandon: Real quick. I wanted to go back to when we were talking about writing. I brought it up, I think. So the author actually cites some work – and I don’t have it in front of me – but there are several pages on it. It basically talked about how there were studies done about people who write versus those who don’t write. They probably put them in a lab of some sort. They basically said, in a nutshell, the writing sessions that this group of people went through, it made people happier, less depressed, less anxious, they had better immune function, et cetera.

There are a lot of things that came as a result of them just writing down their emotions and what they’re feeling at the time, versus the group that didn’t do any writing.

Tyler: Yeah.

Brandon: Do you think that would be a nice first step to becoming more emotionally-agile?

Tyler: Yeah, definitely. I think journaling or just kind of writing down your feelings – nothing has to happen for you to do that – but just every day, in the moment, just write down what you’re feeling. It just gives you a better sense of how you’re feeling and why you’re feeling that way. And then maybe you can determine steps you can take to address them the next time they occur.

So I think it’s a great way to kind of start articulating how you feel at the moment because it’s definitely different writing it down than verbalizing it. I think that we’ve kind of gotten away from that as a society.

Brandon: I think so.

Tyler: No one journals.

Brandon: No, not a lot. We’ve got bloggers.

Tyler: Yeah, bloggers. Yeah, that’s true.

Brandon: They put it out on social media.

Tyler: It changes the form. Yeah.

Brandon: Yeah, a lot.

Tyler: But yeah, I think that’s a really healthy way to kind of take a first step.

Brandon: Yeah. I’m going to end with the most important question for people like you and me and hopefully other listeners out there are in the same boat. How do we raise emotionally-agile children, those that really can use the same words that we can?

Tyler: Yeah. As we mentioned earlier, it’s kind of tying those non-verbal cues to the emotion, defining what the emotion is and why they felt that way. I think with kids, you have to – you really have to play into the fact that they’re not going to understand the words you use. Maybe at that rate, but you can tie that into facial expressions or how that made me feel and I think that’s kind of the way you have to relate to them on that level a little bit more.

Brandon: I like it. I like it. I think it’s recognizing what they’re feeling and actually sitting them down. If they felt something they can articulate, talk to them –talk through the situation and say, “What were you feeling at the time? I saw your face and you got angry. What was it?”

Tyler: It’s tough for parents too because when your child is in the throes of a tantrum or just an outburst or in a huge crying spree, it’s tough –

Brandon: It’s so easy just to mirror what it is, right? Like, they’re screaming. I’m going to scream back at them.

Tyler: Just kind of almost tease them in a way. It’s tough to say, “OK, let’s discuss this. Let’s talk about this,” especially with younger children. But I think it’s important. Because I think that they need to understand not only how they feel about it, but how it’s making the parents feel as well. I think that they can take that to their interactions with other children and other adults as well. So I think that’s kind of important to keep in mind.

Brandon: Well, awesome Tyler. This book has been a great read. Actually, I liked it. I think out of the group, a lot of people liked it. There were a couple people who didn’t really like it. Some people loved it.

Tyler: Yeah.

Brandon: It’s one of their favorite books of the year. So I definitely encourage it. It’s a nice pairing with the emotional intelligence work if you’ve read books on that. It is a little – it’s a little different than emotional intelligence.

Tyler: Sure.

Brandon: So yeah, this book has been Emotional Agility: Get Unstuck, Embrace Change, and Thrive in Work and Life. It’s by Susan David. Tyler Meuwissen, you’re the man. Thanks for being part of the podcast. We will have you back for the next book. Our next book is –

Tyler: What is our next book?

Brandon: The Ideal Team Player by Patrick Lencioni.

Tyler: Oh, yeah. That will be a good one.

Brandon: Once we go through that, we will have the discussion. We always like to do the podcast on the backend of the team discussion. So we will do that and follow Tyler. He’s on LinkedIn. You’re on Twitter too, I think, right?

Tyler: Yes, yeah.

Brandon: OK. So follow Tyler. Give him some love. Let him know how you liked the podcast today and follow me. I’m on Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram as well. Thanks for being part of the podcast. Appreciate it, Tyler.

Tyler: Yeah, thank you.

Brandon Laws

As Director of Marketing, Brandon Laws leads all marketing efforts for Xenium, providing oversight on all marketing campaigns, digital marketing strategy, events, sponsorships and public relations. Brandon brings a positive energy to every aspect of his role at Xenium—from internal initiatives around culture and wellness to industry thought leadership through the Xenium podcast and other social efforts. Active within the HR community, he currently volunteers on the board of the Portland Human Resource Management Association as the Director of Marketing & PR.

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