A Sneak Peek into My Conversation with Adam Grant

By Susan David

As we continue to embrace this new year with hopes for peace and growth, I wanted to share a riveting and fun conversation I had recently with Adam Grant on his podcast, ReThinking with Adam Grant. We discuss how to recover from empathic fatigue, the importance of human skills, and many other essential tools for home, the workplace, and beyond. 

Adam and I have known each other for many years, but while we’ve often shared the stage at a mutual client event or connected socially, we’ve never actually sat down for a full-on psychology geek out. Until now! If you’re interested in learning about motivation, emotions, and being the best human you can, this podcast is for you. Here’s a 1-2-3 sneak peek into our conversation and an invitation to read to the end to learn about one of my favorite words. (You’ve likely never heard it before, but I hope it makes it into your vocabulary!)

1. The number one most underrated emotion? Adam and I both agreed: guilt.

Guilt is a powerful social emotion, one that promotes repair and restoration. It can prompt us to understand how we might have wronged ourselves or others. As we connect with the sense of unease that guilt evokes, we learn to better understand our values, including how we can act toward or against them in the future.

Guilt inspires us to help others and keeps us grounded in a sense of moral clarity. It can be a sign that we have disappointed someone we care about, and sometimes that someone is ourselves. 

I’ve created a resource to help you uncover what guilt might be signaling the next time it crops up. You can download it here.

 2. Two powerful techniques for regaining agency in your life:

  • Abandon the phrase “You made me feel…” While this is a commonly used phrase, Adam and I discuss the subtle role it plays in undermining our sense of responsibility and empowerment within our lives.  
  • In moments of stress, feeling stuck, or uncertainty, ask yourself, “Even in the midst of this challenge, who do I want to be?”

3. Key ways that forced positivity can cause harm. Forced positivity can:

  • Decrease resilience
  • Make it more difficult for us to have tough conversations
  • Lead us to avoid difficult emotions, so we fail to harness the wisdom they contain

Last, here is one of my favorite emotion words: indignate. Indignate is a verb created by my husband to describe something I used to do a lot. 🫢 To indignate means to get stuck in a sense of righteousness or frustration and is usually accompanied by raging on and on about the thing that is annoying you. When I do this, I’m not just indignant, I am actively “indignating”! 

Listen to the full podcast to hear about some other interesting emotions words as well as many more key insights into the world of emotions and emotional health at work and home—including the critical difference between forced positivity and optimism, how a lack of pessimism can impact your wellbeing, and how a specific combination of skills predisposes you to burnout, to name just a few…

I’d love to hear what you think, and if this episode resonates with you, please consider sharing with a friend or reposting it on social media!

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