#1: How to Use Your Emotions as a Powerful Tool to Navigate Your Life
with Dan Newby
January 12, 2023 | 89 Minutes
On "Inside-Out Career Design" this week, hosts Nicola Vetter & Peter Axtell speak with Dan Newby.
Do emotions make you uncomfortable? Do you sometimes wish they would just go away? Would you like to live with more ease and understanding of what you are feeling? Join us in this conversation with Dan Newby to see why emotions don't have to be awkward or scary but can be used as a powerful tool we each possess to help us navigate our lives and careers. Learn how to understand your emotions and see how they can help you live a life full of choice.
In our conversation we talk about…
- emotional literacy and the importance of being able to name the exact emotion you experience,
- what emotions are and what they are trying to tell you,
- the stories we tell ourselves around emotions,
- how to unpack an emotion to see what it is trying to tell you,
- how every emotion has a purpose which leads to satisfaction,
- how we go out and look for what jobs are available, and then try to fit ourselves into that, not understanding that they are not designed for us,
- how having conversations around emotions open up possibilities,
- how finding the right context is crucial for satisfaction,
- how we need trust when we interact with people,
- how everybody can learn to unpack their emotions individually,
- how to find the emotion that will pull us forward.
About Dan Newby
Dan brings over 20 years of coaching and expertise in emotional development to supporting people choosing change. The combination creates an effective methodology that opens possibilities for his clients. He is the author of four books on emotions and emotional literacy and is a regular presenter to groups globally who are focused on emotional learning.
His courses on Emotions-Centered Coaching regularly sell out and he is the co-creator of an app called EMOTE: Master your Emotions, which helps users expand their emotional vocabulary and understanding.
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Books, resources, and people mentioned in this episode
- Gallup - https://www.gallup.com/topic/employee-engagement.aspx
- Dan Newby: The unopened gift - https://amzn.to/3W7kpDv
- Online dictionary - https://www.etymonline.com/
- Newfield School of Coaching - https://newfieldnetwork.com/
- Nelson Mandela - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nelson_Mandela
- Mother Teresa - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mother_Teresa
- App: EMOTE – Master Your Emotions - https://apps.apple.com/sa/app/emote-master-your-emotions/id1609038427
About the Inside-Out Career Design Podcast
This podcast is obsessed with answering a single question: Is it possible to create an authentic, meaningful, and fulfilling life you love while building a successful and rewarding career?
Join Nicola Vetter and Peter Axtell, co-founders of the WhatsNext.com Career Insights platform and creators of the groundbreaking MotivationFinder assessment, as they follow their obsession with answering this question by sharing their insights, discoveries, and life lessons and talking career experts, leaders, spiritual guides, psychologists, data scientists, coaches -- anyone and everyone who might hold a strategy or answer to the age-old questions of “what’s next for me?” and “what should I do with my life?”
They seek to transform suffering into joy for millions of people stuck and confused in their lives and careers.
Get ready to be inspired, motivated, and above all, to connect deeply with who you are and what you are meant to do with the time you’ve been given.
Dan Newby 00:00
I have been working with people in every part of the world, every age down to six-year-olds. And one of the things I believe is that human beings in general, have what I call emotional wisdom. Meaning they know they have emotions, they feel their emotions. It's not that they're completely unaware of their emotions. But what we lack universally is the ability to articulate what that experience is for us. So, we're emotionally illiterate. And I find this with people of every age, I find this with people who are extremely well educated, I find this of adolescents. It doesn't matter, all of us are this way. We use those same 15 or 20 words, we don't really understand what constitutes an emotion. We don't really understand what are and aren't emotions, even according to us. And so, the big piece missing is not the emotional wisdom. We have that. The big piece missing is the language. It's the emotional literacy. It's the ability for people to put a name on what they're experiencing, and then to explain it in some way that makes sense to other people so they can have a conversation about it.
Peter Axtell 01:21
Welcome to Inside-Out Career Design. In this show, we're obsessed with answering a single question. Is it possible to create an authentic, meaningful, and fulfilling life you love while building a successful and rewarding career? My name is Peter Axtell, and I'm here with Nicola Vetter. We're co-founders of the WhatsNext.com CareerInsights platform, and creators of the groundbreaking MotivationFinder assessment. Join us as we seek to transform suffering into joy for millions of people stuck and confused in their lives and careers. We'll share our insights, discoveries, and life lessons and talk with career experts, leaders, spiritual guides, psychologists, data scientists, coaches, anyone who might hold a strategy or answer to the age-old questions of: "What's next for me?" and "What should I do with my life?" Get ready to be inspired, motivated, and above all, to connect deeply with who you are, and what you're meant to do with the time you've been given.
Peter Axtell 02:36
Are you trying to figure out what to do with your life, to figure out what to do with the precious time you've been given on this earth? Or to figure out what only you as a remarkable and unique individual can bring into this world? If you are, please join us for one of our live and completely free online workshops, where we cover different topics to help you figure out what to do with your life and career without wasting precious time, taking wild guesses, or risking it all. To save your spot in our next live and free workshop go to WhatsNext.com/workshops. We can't wait to see you there. Again, that's WhatsNext.com/workshops.
Nicola Vetter 03:41
Our guest today is Dan Newby. Dan brings over 20 years of coaching and experience in emotional development to supporting people choosing change. The combination creates an effective methodology that opens possibilities for his clients. He is the author of four books on emotions and emotional literacy and is a regular presenter, two groups globally, who are focused on emotional learning.
Peter Axtell 04:20
The purpose of this podcast is to explore the idea, the process of designing your life and career from the inside out from an authentic and meaningful place rather than just drifting through life and doing what you think you should do, or what it seems like you could do. So, in many ways, we're discussing doing the opposite of what we're taught or what's easiest. When it comes to making decisions, this process is not always easy, and it does not always come naturally. How do you look inward? And then how do you bring that out into the world? One way to do this is through your emotions. They aren't the only way to journey inward. But understanding your emotions can give you clues and insights to what's going on beneath the surface.
Nicola Vetter 05:17
And that's why we were so excited to talk with Dan. He is a leading expert on emotions. And in our conversation, we talk about many things, including emotional literacy, and the importance of being able to name the exact emotion you are experiencing, what emotions are and what they are trying to tell you, the stories we tell ourselves around emotions, and how to unpack an emotion to see what it is trying to tell you. Now, it's time to listen and learn from Dan. Dan, it's wonderful to have you on again.
Dan Newby 06:06
Nicola Vetter 06:06
We're so grateful that you took this time. You are the expert in emotions, I'd say. And we would like to know, what was your journey? How did you get to where you are today?
Dan Newby 06:25
Well, people often ask me that. And the answer I would give is that one of the emotions that got me on the path I'm on today was desperation. And I say that because there was a point in my life that was very dark, very difficult, and particularly in my late 30s, my early 40s. And now looking back, I know what the emotions were that were troubling me or giving me difficulty. And one of those was anxiety, there was fear, there was confusion, and a lack of a sense of purpose. But what happened was, because that was so painful, I was struggling looking for a path, I was looking for a way out. And the only thing I could think of at the time was, well, maybe I missed something intellectually. You know, in fourth grade, everybody learned something, but I was sick that day, I missed it. So, my life was difficult and other peoples was much easier. Or life is just difficult. Those were the only two answers I could come up with at the time. But as I struggled in that time, one of the things I began to see was that intellectually, I was fine. I was smart enough, I had a good education, it really wasn't anything. There was nothing missing. For me intellectually, what was missing for me, were emotions, that I was emotionally ignorant, that I had emotions and big emotions. I didn't know what to do with them. I didn't know what to call them. I didn't know what they were for. I wanted more than anything, just to get rid of them.
Nicola Vetter 08:10
Did somebody point this out to you, or did you get help to realize that?
Dan Newby 08:17
Well, it happened in a number of different ways. There were some books I read, but there were also some groups I belong to. Nobody said it specifically to me. But little by little, it began to make sense to me. And when I could articulate it, when I began to talk about being emotionally ignorant or, or lacking emotional literacy, certain people suggest that I become a psychologist that I go back to school study psychology. But for me, what I realized was that I wanted something very practical. I'm quite a practical guy. And I wanted something I could use, I wanted a tool. I didn't want a great theory. I wanted something that would solve these challenges that I had in life. And the more I worked, the more I learned, the more I noticed that it wasn't, you know, it wasn't neuroscience that was going to help me. What was going to help me was emotional literacy, was the idea that just like with our intellect, we teach children to read and write, right? And then they can take advantage of their intellect, they can build their intellect, but the building block, the practical piece is literacy, learning to read and write. And so, it made sense to me that well, the practical piece of emotional intelligence would be emotional literacy. So, what's that? And as I you know, learn more I began to see that the first step is to notice our emotions, because most of us go through life living and reacting out of emotions, but we don't have a practice of stopping and reflecting on what the emotion is, right? And many times, they just go past because there's so many and they, they happen so frequently, we're always in an emotion. So, the first step was a practice of noticing or creating awareness about emotions. And the second step was beginning to name them, to put a name on them. And one of the things I've discovered since then, is that I've read studies that say that people like us really educated intelligent adults, use the same 15 or 20 words always to describe their emotions. So, they have anger, they have joy, they have excitement. But in my work, there's more than 200. So, what you can see is that we're only articulating maybe 10% of our emotions correctly. And we're overlooking the others. And we're also collapsing emotions. We're calling lots of things, anger, that are not necessarily anger. We're calling lots of things anxiety, that are not truly anxiety. So, we don't have the distinctions necessary to really articulate what we're experiencing emotionally. So, those were the beginning steps, just simply noticing and beginning to build a vocabulary. So, I could precisely talk about what emotion am I experiencing right now.
Nicola Vetter 11:27
Could you walk us through one example? You mentioned anger? So how do you peel that onion, so to speak, to get to the core to it?
Dan Newby 11:39
Yeah, perfect. Well, we could do this with any of the emotions. But one of the things that we have to think about is, what are the criteria for determining that something is an emotion. And I thought this would be easy. When I started writing about emotions, I thought, oh, I'll just go to Google, and the answer will be there. And there is no universal agreement on how we determine what is and isn't an emotion. And to demonstrate this, you can go out and collect lists of emotions. And one of the things you'll find is that every list is slightly different. Some of them, you know, they'll all have anger, but many of them will have emotions that don't show up on another list. And the only sense I could make of that is, well, whoever created the list had their criteria for how they know something is an emotion, but they don't have the same criteria. So, in my work, I had to think about, well, what are my criteria? And the three things that made sense to me after reflecting on this were that one, it has a narrative that never changes, or a story, or a belief, or thinking something that is always consistent. And an example of that is sadness. If you think about sadness, what's the universal story of sadness? Well, I've lost something. But it's a little bit more than that. I've lost something I care about or cared about. But there's even a little bit more to it. I believe I've lost something I care about. And I'll give you an example. Imagine you have a dog, and the dog runs away. Will you feel sad? Well, it depends, right? You lost something. But did you like the dog? Did you care about the dog? Because if you hated the dog, you won't be sad, you'll actually probably be happy, right? So, it requires that you've lost something that you care about. But what if the dog disappears, and then suddenly comes back? Well, you were sad because you believed you had lost the dog. But when the dog reappears, and you're reunited, then you won't be sad anymore. So, this narrative, the belief that we've lost something that we care about, never changes, no matter when we feel sad, or about what, my grandmother passed away, my dog ran away, somebody stole my car, I lost my wallet, doesn't really matter. Any event in life that triggers sadness, has the story connected with it, which is that I believe I've lost something I care about. So that's a beginning piece, right, that there's always a consistent story. And every one of those 200 emotions I mentioned, has a slightly different story, a unique story. And that's one of the ways that we can determine what emotion we're experiencing.
Peter Axtell 14:37
And the unique story that you're talking about is that everybody has a unique story within them or that is attached to an emotion. Do understand that right?
Dan Newby 14:47
Well, I would say that that interpretation of sadness is fairly universal. Because if I were to ask you tell me a time when you were sad, Peter, and you begin to describe something. Well, the elements that we're going to find are that you had lost something, and that you cared about it. And you either knew you had lost it, confirmed you had lost it, or you believed you had lost it. And so, what I'm saying is that with people I work with in every part of the world, when we talk about sadness, they say, yeah, that actually resonates. That's pretty much the story that I have. That's what I'm thinking, or that's what I'm believing when I feel the emotion of sadness. So, what I'm saying is that particular narrative or story is not just yours, it's that we human beings have the emotion of sadness, and there is a story connected with it. And that's the story as I would articulate it. Now, to your point, you may have learned to articulate it slightly differently. But it's pretty close, right? If we were to have a conversation, we'll probably come to an agreement on Okay, here's what sadness means. Here's what jealousy means. Here's what resentment means. Here's what anger means. And through a little bit of conversation, we can agree on an interpretation. And the reason that's important is because it is an interpretation, right? What you believe sadness is, what you believe anger is, it's the interpretation, you did learn growing up in your family, and your culture, in your era.
Nicola Vetter 16:25
So does that mean there are definitely emotions that are universal, worldwide, that apply? But are there also emotions where you say, well, there are cultural differences, and you have to look at it with different glasses?
Dan Newby 16:50
Well, first of all, I would say that probably 80 or 90% of emotions occur in any population. So, they're universal. Now, the way they're articulated, and the way we relate to them is different culturally, because for instance, in the US is, you know, we think that ambition is great, right? It's the be all, end all of emotions, right? If you're not ambitious, there's something wrong with you. But in many cultures, you know, ambition is seen as slightly unsavory, or even painful. So, we have different ways of relating to the emotion. But one of the things that is true in my experience is that in different cultures, they have names for emotions, that maybe we in English, or in the US haven't articulated, like, we don't have that particular distinctions. We can probably connect with it if we can understand what they're trying to describe. Yeah, so there is a lot of nuances to emotions. But one way I approach it is if I'm working with somebody in a different culture, is that if we can, you know, easily find an agreement on what an emotion means, or the name of an emotion, I might say, Well, what do you call it in your world, when you believe somebody has done something that's morally wrong or unjust? Because that would be my interpretation of anger. And so, they may have a slightly different word for it. But there will be a word because justice and injustice are human experiences. They're not just experiences of one culture. So, when you approach it from that direction, then actually you can find common ground. But what's lovely about emotions is it's both the beauty and sometimes the frustration of emotions, is that we can't see them directly. So, I'm looking at you, I could guess what emotion you might be in, or I could get close, but I don't know for sure. Only you can tell me, right, I have to ask you, I have to have a conversation with you. And when you name an emotion, what that emotion means to you and how you relate to it is almost certainly different than the way I understand how it relates to me, even though it's similar. So, it's lovely to explore emotions, because, I'll give you an example. Most people don't like guilt. Guilt feels very uncomfortable. People don't like to experience it, they'd like to get rid of guilt. And many people have the story that guilt means, I did something wrong. And I would say well, yes, but I did something wrong, according to me, meaning I violated my own standards, or my own norms, or my own values. Yeah, that's how I understand it. Now, if you're somebody who grew up with the interpretation of guilt means you did something wrong. That's quite different than according to my standards. So, when we have a conversation about it sometimes just taking a look at, what you believe that this emotion means? Sometimes that's all that's needed. Because when you see it from a different perspective, when you go, Oh, actually, that's true. Sometimes I do things that are wrong, and I don't feel guilt. Why is that? Well, because they're not contrary to my norms, or my standards, or my values. The only time I feel guilt is when I break my own standards. Oh, interesting. Well, now, right now we're having a different conversation about guilt. And if you're somebody who's really struggled with guilt, then we can work with that, then what we need to look at is, well, what are your values? What's your value? Or what are your values? And where did those come from? And are you sure those are the values you're really committed to? And what about your behavior? Because something's not aligned between your behavior and your values. So, either you need to modify your values, if you choose to, or you need to bring your behavior in alignment with your values. Because when you do that, guilt will disappear.
Peter Axtell 21:26
That's a piece of gold right there, Dan. So, are you saying that when your behavior and your values, if they're not congruent, or they're not in alignment, when they get out of alignment, and then you get them in alignment, then you're saying, then that guilt will disappear?
Dan Newby 21:42
Yeah, then you'll feel peaceful, because you're living in alignment with your values, there's no fight. There's no internal fight anymore. So, if you, for instance, if you say, oh, I feel guilt, because I'm not donating money to, you know, to the Ukraine for the war effort, or to children for Christmas, okay? I feel guilt. Well, what does that mean? You have a belief, that generosity, that giving is important, it's good, you should do that. And you're not doing that. So now you have two things you could do. One you could give, in which case, well, you won't feel guilty because you're fulfilling what your value is telling you to do. Or you can say, you know what, I do value that, but this year, I don't have the funds to do that. Right? So, you can say, I'm gonna take a break from giving for this year, even though I value it. I'm not dismissing that I value it. But I'm choosing to not give as a way of taking care of myself. So, you might say, self-compassion, right, that I'm taking care of myself. And if you do that, then you still may have moments of guilt when you say, oh, but I didn't give. Well, yeah, but I chose not to, I chose not to live in alignment with that value, not because I don't want to but because this year, I can't, I can't afford to. And so, it was a choice that I needed to make. But you're doing it consciously. It's not something that's just happening. You're taking charge of your emotions, and you're empowering yourself to make choices emotionally.
Nicola Vetter 23:33
I'm wondering, Dan, are there also some universal waves of emotions coming up? Like at the moment, we are living in quite a chaotic time, with so much uncertainty, with war going on, with a recession or inflation, so many things that are uncertain for people. There are shifts in history, I guess, where you can see that probably certain emotions pop up more. What do you see in the world today with people that you help? What emotions do you see come up most?
Dan Newby 24:24
Yeah. So I think that when COVID hit and, you know, we all know that story, is that there was a confusion, right, there was uncertainty. People were looking for answers. In some cases that provoked other emotions. But I think uncertainty was one of the biggest emotions that people faced. And what they did was they looked for certainty, right? They turn on the news and they say, Well tell us what we're supposed to do. And that's a typical way that we resolve uncertainty because uncertainty is telling us, we don't know, we don't know what's going to happen. We don't know what's next. We don't know what the future holds. Now for some people that provokes another emotion, which is excitement, or adventurousness, but for other people anxiety, or apprehension, and in some cases with people I worked with it provoked guilt. And the reason it provoked guilt is I'll give you an example. I worked a lot with educators during that period at the beginning of COVID. And when I talked to them about their emotions, I said, So what emotions are really present? And it was interesting, because, you know, they said, anxiety, fear, you know, things you would expect them to say. But then many people said, guilt. Now, we're back to guilt. And I said, well, tell me why. What's happening with your behavior that's not in alignment with your values? And they said, well, it's uncertainty that has produced the guilt. And here's why: I feel guilt, because for instance, I'm an art teacher. And I'm used to being in the classroom, and I've got 200 students, and I go class to class, and I work with them on their art projects. Now, I can't do that. And so, I believe that the quality of my instruction is not at the level I think is sufficient. It doesn't meet my value. It doesn't bring the quality that I'm committed to as a teacher. And the uncertainty part was nobody knows how to tell me what to do, how to teach art, remotely, like there are no models for this. And the superintendent can't tell me, and my principal can tell me. All I know, is that there are no answers and the way I'm doing it doesn't meet my standards and so I feel guilt. Oh, wow. Isn't that interesting? So, then we worked with that. Okay, guilt is there, uncertainty is there. What emotion might help you to move through this? Right? So, let's begin to think about emotions that could support us to shift in life. And that's always a lovely question. Because even though I'm a coach, and even though I've got lots of years working with emotions, I can't predict what people will say. One person will say compassion, I need compassion for myself because I'm being really hard on myself, I didn't cause COVID, I didn't cause us to have to work remotely. So maybe more compassion with me, or tenderness or patience with myself. And other people would say things like inspiration. I just need to look for ways to do this. I know there's got to be a way. And for other people would be hope. I hope this is going to end really soon. So, I can go back to the classroom. So, everybody has an emotion that they could select, which would support them even though right this moment they were feeling uncertainty and guilt. And I think this is one of the big discoveries for me, you know, emotions come to us. We have experiences, they get provoked or triggered. But we don't choose them initially. They happen to us, you might say, but then we have the opportunity, if we understand emotions, and if we reflect on them to say, Okay, this emotion is here, and this is the emotion I'm experiencing. But what emotion would I like to experience? What would help me? What would support me? And we have a lot of latitude to shift emotions. The focus on other emotions that will help us, that will support us. So, we don't have to stay wherever we are. But for most people, they don't quite get to that step. They're somewhere, they're suffering, they're struggling, but they don't have the realization or the learning to say, oh, okay, well, here's where I am. You know, you are here. Here's the red dot on the emotions map. And where do you want to go? To challenge themselves to go somewhere else emotionally.
Peter Axtell 29:18
Absolutely fantastic. You can see how this is all tying into the world of dissatisfaction at work, the great resignation, the Gallup poll, or 70%, give or take are still unhappy and dissatisfied with their jobs and all the fallout from that. I know that you have a whole connection with people who are now looking to either choose, change, or advance their career. How is the struggle that goes on when someone's going to change their career, and how do emotions tie into that? And I'd love to know how your wisdom can teach people with the knowledge of their emotions, help them make that change to more fulfilling work and everything else.
Dan Newby 30:10
Okay, lovely. Well, you know, the emotion, you name dissatisfaction. And the other side of the coin satisfaction are two that I think are intimately connected. And if you look at the etymology, the root of the word satisfaction in Latin it meant to have enough. So, my universal story about satisfaction is I believe I have enough. So, you know, if you sit down at Thanksgiving dinner, you can either eat till you're bursting and full, or you can eat until you're satisfied. And satisfaction would be the moment when you say, you know what, I think I've had enough. It's not that I couldn't eat more, but I think I've had enough. That's satisfaction. And satisfaction is highly personal. You know, when I'm satisfied with things that other people might not be satisfied with, whether it's income, whether it's my work, whether it's the rhythm of my life, whether it's the temperature in the room, right, I have my own gauge for satisfaction, but it always means the same thing. I believe I have enough of whatever we're discussing. In dissatisfaction, it's not that I think something's wrong. It's that I believe I don't have enough of something. Something is missing. And that's what dissatisfaction is. So, when I hear this conversation about people being dissatisfied at work, I think, oh, okay, there's something missing for them. And the question is, what is it? Because it could be lots of things. And it's probably different for different people. So, the way I approach this with people because I work with people in transition, I work with people who are dissatisfied with many parts of their lives. And so, the question I usually ask is, what are the things large or small, that produce for you a profound sense of satisfaction, where you feel like you have enough. And you have an inner sense, like, you feel nurtured, you feel warm, right? When you're satisfied you feel really content, oh, this is really good. I got enough, I don't need to worry. One of the things about emotions that we didn't talk about, is that every emotion in my view, has a purpose. It exists for some reason. If you think about sadness, what does it tell us? It tells us what we care about. And you don't actually have to lose something to feel sad, right? I can think about my wife passing away, and I feel sad. Why would I feel sad? Well, because I care about her. It hasn't happened, I may go first. So, it's completely hypothetical. But I can still generate sadness, just by thinking about it. And that tells me that I care about her. So, every emotion has a purpose, or it exists to help us in some way as human beings. Here's my question that I ask my coachees and the people I'm working with is, what do you think the purpose of satisfaction is? Okay, you feel good, you feel warm, your belief is you have enough. And many times, I get silence, like, well, I don't know, what would the purpose of satisfaction be? My view, my belief is that in relation to life in general, what satisfaction points to is our purpose. So, when you are acting in alignment with your purpose, for instance, through work, and you feel very satisfied, what it says to me is that somehow that work is aligned with what you're here to do as a human being. It's aligned with your purpose in life. Now, nobody gave you a manual that said that when you were born. You have to discover it for yourself. But one way to discover it is simply to begin to notice, what is it that you want, not just love to do, but it produces satisfaction for you? Because my experience is that if you begin to notice that, and if you begin to think about what does all of that tell you, all of those elements that produce satisfaction for you? If you could combine those and if you could put those in the form of a job, and if you had that job or that work, what would happen? You would feel completely content, you feel completely satisfied. There would be very little dissatisfaction because now you're living in alignment with your purpose, why you're even here as a human being. And it's not the way we approach job searches, I understand that. We look for what's available, we look for how much they pay. But think about what we're doing there, we're focused on different values. And those are legitimate, right? I need to earn money, so I can take care of my family. And, you know, those are completely legitimate ways to think about work. But the one that we forget is the satisfaction perspective, or the purpose perspective. Because what we do is we, we go out and look for what's available, and then we try to fit ourselves into that. And the odds are that that is not probably going to be terribly fulfilling, because it's not designed for me.
Nicola Vetter 35:47
I think this is really, really interesting, Dan, because if you take your emotions, you're unsatisfied, you learn to align what's within you with your values and your purpose, then you have a chance at really finding a career, a job that is in alignment with who you are, and then automatically, the emotions turn out to be more positive. Do I get you right in that way?
Dan Newby 36:28
Absolutely. In practice, it's a little more complicated than that. I mean, there's steps to it. But yeah, essentially, what you're doing is you're creating, you're pursuing your job, or your work by a different route, meaning you're going to, first and foremost, get clear if it was possible, right, my job would include XY and Z. The next step is, once you're clear about those elements, then you have to begin to think about well, what kind of job that includes those is something that people would pay for, is something that people do, or is a combination of jobs. Maybe it's not just one, maybe it's several jobs, but in the end, it produces the satisfaction for me. And, of course, the revenue and the stability, etc., which I also need. But instead of approaching it from the left, we're approaching it from the right. So, we're not living in a dream. We're not living in a fairy tale here. No, it's just that the thing that we leave out of our job pursuits is what will produce satisfaction for me. Now, it's interesting, because it's related to another emotion, which is dignity. And dignity is when I believe I'm legitimate, my knees have value. I'm enough, I'm sufficient, I get to decide for me. And there's a large number of people who are not strongly connected with dignity, meaning, they fundamentally aren't sure that they deserve to have a job that satisfies them. So, this is another dimension, right? We could work on dignity, we could work on satisfaction. But having these conversations opens up possibilities, it opens up things that we never saw before. And I'll give you an example. Now what I do is this, I'm a coach, a writer, and a teacher. I trained in education, my mother was a teacher, but I never taught in a classroom, except student teaching. And I never taught in the classroom because I didn't like the context. I didn't like the structure. I didn't feel good there. I wasn't comfortable. And so, I began to think, oh, I don't like teaching. But that wasn't true. I love teaching. I love helping people learn. And so, my desire, my satisfaction wasn't produced in that context of teaching. But later, after I went through many years of work, and I became a coach, and then I began to train coaches. Oh my gosh, I loved it. It was so fulfilling to me. And suddenly I realized, oh, it's not that I don't want to teach it's that I don't want to teach in that context. I want to teach in this context. And so now you know, the work I do is lovely, it's tremendously fulfilling, tremendously satisfying, and you know, I found other things, the coaching, the writing, etc. So, in essence, I have created through these discoveries work in a rhythm of work that is satisfying to me. Now, it doesn't mean there's no dissatisfaction. Of course, there's some, there's things that, you know, I'm not quite satisfied with this or that, or I don't like doing certain things like taxes, for instance. But you know, that's part of having a job like I have, so the balance is important. In every work, in every pursuit, in every relationship, there will be some dissatisfaction, I don't want to be naive about that. But if it is too big, well, then we'll live in dissatisfaction. And we'll always want to leave, even if we don't have a way to leave, right, we'll live in that sort of captivity of dissatisfaction. So, I think there's certainly a way to do this. We can have work we love, we can earn a living. But we need to know ourselves better, we need to get really clear. What are the things that produce satisfaction for me? What are the things that are fulfilling for me? What are the things that nurture me? And if those aren't included in the job, I will never be satisfied.
Peter Axtell 41:15
This is so fascinating, because I think many people who are unaware of the goal that you are teaching today is that they are blaming their boss, they are blaming their job, they're blaming all that. And in truth, the studies show that people don't leave their jobs, you know, they leave a bad boss, whatever, you just can't get this all match to perfection. So, let's say that at the core, if you really hate your job, and you say I have to make a change, maybe you have to make a change and maybe you don't have to make a change. Maybe it is through accessing your emotions and what they are telling you that changes your view of what you actually see at work. Because after you get a certain filter on, you go to work and then the boss always says the wrong thing, the work is always wrong. I'm very curious for people who not necessarily want to change their career, or maybe they do, then how this knowledge of their emotions can help them to make that decision.
Dan Newby 42:25
Yeah. So there's lots of different ways. But you know, one thing we confuse, we confuse the emotion of affection with trust, meaning many people say, oh, but I can't trust somebody unless I like them. And we bring this into the workplace like that, oh, I can't work with that person, if I don't like them. Well, actually, that's not the most important criteria is liking the people I work with or liking my boss. It's lovely when we do, it's fantastic. But what we really need is we need the emotion of trust, meaning, I feel like it's safe to interact with this person, whether I like them. And you know, an example for me is, you know, if you call Uber, you don't have to like the Uber driver, you need to trust that that Uber driver knows how to drive and that they will charge you what they say they're gonna charge you, you have to trust the app, you have to trust the company. If you don't trust them sufficiently, you won't get in the car. But you don't have to like the driver, you're probably never going to see this driver again. It's immaterial. So, to interact with people, what we need is we need trust. And if affection is there, fantastic. It's a lovely, but you know, it's curious, because sometimes we have friends, we feel great affection for them, but we don't actually trust them all that much. For instance, we wouldn't loan the money because we don't trust that they would pay us back. Interesting. So, we can like someone without trusting them 100%. We can trust someone without liking them 100%. So, we have this situation. First of all, we need to see that: Is the challenge you're having with your boss that you don't trust them? What is it that you don't trust? Is it their sincerity? Is it their competence? Is it their reliability? And is the trust, distrust, or lack of trust so profound, that you feel at risk working with them? Because if you feel at risk, then probably you shouldn't continue working with them. But don't get stuck on whether you like them or not. Because some bosses you like and some bosses you don't like. It's immaterial. In this equation, it doesn't matter. And sometimes, what we need to think about is, you know, trust is our assessment, meaning it's according to our standards, and other people have different standards for trust. So sometimes what we need to think about is well, is their behavior something I can choose to tolerate, or endure, or put up with, or not? Because if it is, that might be a solution. Maybe it's that I don't like them, maybe it's, I don't even completely trust them. But I could tolerate that person being my boss, for the sake of me getting to do what I love to do and is satisfying to me. So, there's a lot of pieces to this puzzle. But again, I would come back to designing or looking for jobs based on, you know, what is it that produces satisfaction for me, because I believe that's in alignment with my purpose as a human being.
Nicola Vetter 45:36
So, Dan, your book is always on the top stack of my books, because I just love to refer to it, the unopened gift, I even love the title. You have some really practical ways for people to get at their emotions if they don't have an amazing coach like you at hand. But you have a whole dictionary at the end of this book about emotions and how to understand emotions, which we went through a little bit now. How did you come up with that?
Dan Newby 46:24
Well, I think there's two answers. One is, I couldn't find anything like that. I wanted to have clarity for me. And I'm somebody who likes to keep things simple. To be honest, I like simplicity. Oh, one last piece, I'm a former project manager. So, creating an Excel spreadsheet was, you know, the perfect solution. And so, I just started listing emotions, and sometimes when I'd see them on TV, or I would feel them, or I'd read them somewhere, or I would just go look at a list of emotions. And I began putting them in this list in alphabetical order. Another thing that I found extremely useful is looking at the root of the word. Where did this word come from? Because if we look at the etymology, or the root of the word, it tells us an awfully lot about that emotion. Because if you think about the emotion of anxiety, if you go look up the etymology, the root of anxiety, it comes from Latin, and it meant something like to have a troubled mind. And if you think about anxiety, that's exactly how we feel, right? We're all in turmoil, we just keep going over the same story over and over and over. And so, for me, the root, the etymology is important. And then the story, the impulse, what we feel like doing in that emotion, and the purpose. And the purpose sometimes is so revealing, because as I thought about, why do we feel anxiety? Well, we feel anxiety, because we have a concern that there might be some danger, but we don't know what the source is, like, where's the danger coming from? So, anxiety, for me is like when you hold your child's hand crossing the parking lot. Why do you do that? Well, you love them, you care for them. Yes, but also anxiety. Why? Because you're aware that a car might back out and not see them because they're a child, and hurt them, right. And so, your anxiety is looking for the possible sources of danger. So, if you think about the purpose then, universally speaking, it would be something like to help us remain vigilant, to look for the source of danger. Well, that's fantastic. What a great purpose. We all talk about how anxiety is such a horrible emotion, oh, my gosh, I'd like to get rid of anxiety. But think about it. If you didn't have that ability to remain vigilant about possible danger, you wouldn't live very long. So, if you think about it that way, you think, well, this anxiety, this is not so bad, you know, maybe I need to learn a little bit more about it. So, I just began building this table, and putting the columns, and adding those and what's interesting is, you know, there's things in that list - now, that book is five years old - that I would not put in there because now I don't see them as emotions proper. There are emotions missing, which I've discovered, or I've realized, or people have pointed out to me, so it's, it's really a great exploration. And I would suggest to anybody who wants to build their emotional vocabulary to create their own spreadsheet or their own list, because it forces you to get clear what you believe about that emotion. And I think that's critical because you're operating out of those emotions. And if you're ever talking to people, or in my case coaching people, what's important is I need to know what I believe that emotion is or why we have that emotion, or what's it trying to tell us. Then I need to ask the other person, the person I'm working with, well, what do you believe? And then we need to come to a shared interpretation. But if I don't have my interpretation to begin with, and I'm kind of lost, right, I need an anchor. And I need to understand for me, and for whatever conversations I'm having.
Nicola Vetter 50:39
That's why this book, your book is so important. Also, if you are in conversation with other people, not only in order to gain clarity for yourself, but also, in order to have you speak about emotional literacy, in order to have the words to actually express yourself. And we'll put this book in the show notes for everybody who might be wondering right now.
Dan Newby 51:09
Lovely. You know, one point about that is, I have been working with people in every part of the world, every age down to six-year-olds. And one of the things I believe is that human beings in general, have what I call emotional wisdom, meaning they know they have emotions, they feel their emotions, it's not that they're completely unaware of their emotions. But what we lack universally, is the ability to articulate what that experience is for us. So, we're emotionally illiterate. And I find this with people of every age, I find this with people who are extremely well educated, I find this with adolescents, it doesn't matter, all of us are this way. We use those same 15 or 20 words, we don't really understand what constitutes an emotion, we don't really understand what are and aren't emotions, even according to us. And so, the big piece missing is not the emotional wisdom, we have that, the big piece missing is the language, it's the emotional literacy, it's the ability for people to put a name on what they're experiencing, and then to explain it in some way that makes sense to other people so they can have a conversation about it.
Peter Axtell 52:33
So, Dan, let's circle back to when you talked about your recommendation for people to have their own list of emotions. I'm thinking, Okay, where would I get started? Let's take an example of one emotion, and what would be the sequence of events that I would write down on a piece of paper to identify whatever it is. Let's take anxiety, because the world is filled with a lot of anxiety. So, let's start with anxiety. How would you teach me to start my own list of emotions, starting with anxiety?
Dan Newby 53:06
I would say, if you look at the back of the book, or, you know, we could walk through it. But basically, I'd say write down anxiety now, go to the online dictionary, look it up in the etymology dictionary, and see what it says about the root of anxiety? Where did it come from? Where did we get this word from? What did it used to mean 2000 years ago? And how does that relate to your understanding? And then I would have you spend some time reflecting on those three elements that I mentioned. The story. So, I would have you begin to write down and notice when you feel anxiety. What are you thinking? Because you are thinking something? So, as to the best of your ability, articulate, note down. What are you thinking? What story? What's the narrative that's happening for you? And then maybe ask other people, or maybe, you know, look up in the dictionary, but get as clear as you can. Also notice the impulse, what do you feel like doing in anxiety? And mostly what I find people feel like doing in anxiety is figuring out where's the danger possibly coming from? And we call that process in my world worry, right? We get into a circular conversation, we're trying to figure out, we go over and over and over it. And as long as we stay in anxiety, we won't figure it out. Because that's what anxiety does for us, it helps us try to figure it out. And also think about the value of anxiety for you, but I would have you just create those cells and put that information in those cells. And then I would invite you to another emotion. One of the things that's very useful is to take emotions that we often collapse, or we think are very similar, and deconstruct them in the way I'm suggesting, and compare them. So, the second emotion I might have you write down is fear, because fear and anxiety are often confused, or interchanged. And then I would do the same thing, okay Peter, go to the etymological dictionary. Look up the root of fear. See where it came from. Write down, what are you thinking in fear? What's your story? What's your impulse? What do you think the purpose of fear is? And little by little, what you'll begin to see is, oh, you know what? Fear is different than anxiety. If you look up, if you do what I'm suggesting, you'll go to the etymological dictionary, and you'll realize that fear doesn't come from Latin. It comes from Old English, and it meant: a sudden attack. Wow, that's very different than a troubled mind. So, a sudden attack is how you feel or what you're expecting in fear. And in fear, the story is, I think there might be danger, but I know exactly where it's coming from. It's a sudden attack. So, you know, it's the bully, or you know it's your neighbor, or you know it's the soldiers on the other side, but fear is, you have fear of getting hit by a bus, you have fear catching COVID. You know, what the danger is, you know, what the fear is, you can name it. And so, you begin to see that, oh, anxiety has one purpose: to keep us vigilant. Fear has a different purpose: to help us avoid specific dangers. Oh, this is getting interesting. And then we can add apprehension, how is apprehension, different from fear and anxiety? How is doubt different from fear, anxiety, and apprehension. And the more you work with this, the finer the distinctions get, and the clearer you get on what that emotion is, why you're experiencing it, what its purpose is, and how it can support you.
Peter Axtell 57:16
Dan Newby being one of probably my favorite teachers in our Newfield School of Coaching. One of the things that I believe is that there's also a danger of getting so much into your neurotic mind, of what we would call the inner voice, the inner critic, we call it the egoic voice, which is always the voice of fear to keep you in catastrophizing and all that. Where do you tie in, I'm thinking of somebody who is, I'm trying to pick a new career, I really want to find meaningful work, and I have a fear, I'm going to make the wrong decision. And they go all up in their head, trying to figure out something in their head, logically, that will alleviate their anxiety. But we believe that your body has a lot of the wisdom that will guide you much more than your head. So, my question is, we've got this way to identify your fears, and you have to use your analytical mind for that but isn't there something in your body that is informing your wisdom on am I going to make the right decision? Is that going to be okay? Or make a decision, maybe not even the right decision.
Dan Newby 58:32
Yep. So, one thing you can see is, with every emotion, our body shapes itself to support that emotion. Think about somebody in resignation. They're all collapsed. They're just as collapsed, they're looking down, they have no energy, right? Think about somebody in resignation. You see somebody and you think immediately, well, that person looks really resigned. Thank you, sadness, maybe, but it's something in that territory. And then think about somebody enjoy. Wow, yes. Let's celebrate. I mean, think about the World Cup, and all those people cheering, okay. So, the body has an essential role as the container for the emotion. So, if you think about fear, your body shapes itself to continue supporting fear as an emotion. Now, there are some general things we could say about that, your breath is shallow, you're very tense, right? You're very focused with your eyes because you're looking for the danger or the attack. So, one way you can do this is you can allow yourself to shape your body into the emotion of fear, whatever it is for you. And then intensify it, and then exaggerate it, and feel what it feels like, feel fear, okay, feel it in your body. Then you can think about what emotion is going to help you to go out, to make changes, to explore. And here's where you get to have some fun. It's kind of like if you were to say, well, I'm here at home, and you know what I like to go on vacation. I can pick anywhere in the world, right? I can say, oh, I could go to Greece, I could go to Malta, I can go to Colombia, I could, you know, I could pick anywhere in the world to go, or Mars or the Moon, right? The sky's the limit, I could choose whatever I want. The thing is, I don't have to know how I'm going to get there. That comes next. First, I got to decide where do I want to be. And this is what we need to do with emotions. It's okay, you're in fear. That's where you are and you're in fear for a good reason. Or you're in anxiety for a good reason. Because you're facing a lot of unknowns, you may be feeling uncertainty, you may be feeling doubt, you may be feeling a whole cocktail of emotions. But you can also think about what's the emotion that's gonna allow you to move forward and there's many to choose from, you might choose adventurousness right, this looking for a new job, it's an adventure. And what does that mean? Well, some parts of it are going to be uncomfortable, some parts of you're going to be really pleasant, but you know what, I'm going to see things I never saw before. So, adventurousness is an emotion that could help us move forward. And it's not that we need to get rid of the fear, we need to quit putting attention on the fear because if you start putting your attention on adventurousness or on satisfaction, as we discussed, which will have happened is that fear will stay there, it'll still show up sometimes, and it's doing its job. But we don't need to get rid of it. Right, it has a purpose, what we need to do is quit focusing on it, we need to put our attention more and more and practice on whatever this other emotion is, that's going to support us. And the thing about fear and anxiety is, they're part of us, they're part of our neural system, they keep us safe, they're really important emotions. And I would argue that if we spend a lot of time in them, they can become habitual, they can become our go to emotions. So, whenever anything feels a little bit uncomfortable, I go to anxiety, or I go to fear, or something related. And that's not a criticism. What I think that is, is I think that's emotional ignorance is that we just don't know, it doesn't occur to us, that we're strengthening those every time we're feeling them. So, every time we feel adventurous, every time we feel passion, every time we feel satisfaction, we're strengthening those. And that's the practice, that's what we need to do is we need to find the emotion that will pull us forward. And this is what's interesting is I can't predict what emotion it would be for you. Because for some people, it would be something like wonder or amazement. And for other people, it'd be things like compassion or curiosity, or, you know, but there is an emotion for you, you just need to go find it.
Nicola Vetter 1:03:29
I mean, for the two of us, Dan, it's very clear, it's adventurous, because we both moved opposite ways over the big ocean to live at the other side of the world. But there are people, especially in career change, that have a family, that are thinking about I need to support them, they are risk adverse, and there would not be the adventurous part that comes up in order to resolve that stressful emotion.
Dan Newby 1:04:01
Well, and for people like that there are emotions, like dignity, right? I deserve to have a job that satisfies me. But it can also be something like faith, it can be something like trust, right? It can be love and care for my family, right? That could be what fuels me to move. And for many, I mean, we've seen this in many movies, in many novels, in many people's lives, is the amount that they're willing to do to safeguard their family and the emotions that allow them to do that. Well. If that's what works for you. That's fantastic. And this is what I say, there's a whole palette of emotions out there. There's 200 you could choose from, pick the one that resonates with you. All right, there's not a single one that works for everybody. It's not one size fits all, but there is an emotion that will fuel you. You just need to go find what it is.
Peter Axtell 1:05:01
I really like this idea that you are never really going to get away from fear because it's hardwired into us to protect us. But that urge that you want to get away from it, there's something wrong with it. I always want flowers, and babies, and good things to eat, you know, I don't want to feel fear. The other thing you're saying is, well, if I could just step into this, if I could curl up into a ball, and just explore, oh, here's what fear really feels like, what is this signaling for me? What is the purpose of this emotion? This is a huge point for people to know.
Dan Newby 1:05:37
So, one of the things about emotions is that with many of them, they don't represent what is. So, with fear, it's not that there is danger, it's that I believe there is danger, right? It's a belief that I have, it's not necessarily true, there might be danger, there might not be danger, but I believe there's danger. And so, with the other emotions that we're talking about, it's the same thing, right? I believe if I choose faith as an emotion, I believe that I will get to the place of satisfaction. And I don't need any evidence to prove that's true. I just choose to believe that. If, you know with adventurousness, I believe the things will be comfortable and uncomfortable, but I believe I will discover something I've never seen before. So, a lot of emotions are this way, we're very connected with our beliefs. And there's nothing wrong with believing there may be danger, but if it immobilizes us, then it's not serving us. And so, in my view, there aren't positive and negative emotions inherently, is that fear keeps us safe. The fear also is a barrier sometimes to things we want to do. So, my approach is always to think about, well, is that emotion that I'm experiencing, is it serving me right now? Or is it not serving me? Like, is it doing something for me or is it a barrier? And many times, the emotions come, and then we kind of hold on them, and they get done over their service, they're not serving us anymore. And that's the time to say, thank you doubt, I've done everything I can to prepare, there's nothing else I can do. I heard your message. And now I'm going to faith, and I'm choosing. And you can talk to your emotions, as you know, they're part of you. And in fact, I think befriending them is one of the best things you can possibly do. Because they all have a value and a purpose. They're trying to do something for you. But they don't know, right? You're the one who has to choose. And you have to choose based on your body, you have to choose based on your intellect, you have to choose based on where you want to go in life. So, I tend to see emotions really as a tool, as a life skill, as a competence. But they shouldn't be driving the bus. But your intellect shouldn't be driving the bus either, right? You should be riding the bus, and then using these as they serve you because sometimes our intellect doesn't serve us. We remember things wrongly, we make errors of judgment. We're not 100% intellectually, we're not 100% emotionally, we're not 100% somatically. Your foot has fallen asleep, and you thought it was gone. Yeah, we've all had that experience. But it wasn't, it's there, right. But your body is communicating something to you that isn't, in fact, correct. And so, what I see is that, you know, we have these three amazing areas of wisdom of knowledge, and one is the body that we can listen to, and we can shift, one is emotions, and one is the intellect. Fantastic. What could be better? I mean, imagine, wow, that is a pretty incredible package to get when you're born. Well, we think that's where all the answers are. But I disagree. I think there's a lot of answers in our emotions, a lot of answers in the wisdom of the body. You know, but we haven't been trained to take advantage of those. And that's the opportunity.
Nicola Vetter 1:09:32
I would like to circle back to the doubt, because we spoke about doubt. And what I see in the world a lot is self-doubt, especially with people that are reading all these headlines of people being laid off especially in tech. They experience a lot of self-doubt all the way up to imposter syndrome. But what are other fears that are connected with self-doubt that you see out there and how to address that?
Dan Newby 1:10:03
I think the most profound thing that self-doubt is telling us is, that we're questioning our legitimacy as a human being. Am I really worthy as a human being? Do I matter? Do I have a place in this world? You know, I think about doubt is simple doubt is, well, I'm not sure I can do it. Right. It's about doing things. I'm not sure I can, I don't know collect the information in time. I don't know if I know the directions to get me there. So, doubt itself is an emotion actually means to be of two minds. So, doubt means I'm unsure. I don't know how to do something, or I may not know, I'm not sure I do know. But self-doubt is when we doubt ourselves, at the level of being, it's not about what we do. It's about whether we're worthy. So, whether we have value as human beings. And the way I work with people who struggle with self-doubt, the sense of maybe they're not as important as other people. And there's lots of behaviors that demonstrate this, you know, continuously apologizing for things that don't need an apology, hiding, you know, being timid, deferring to others, not taking a stand for yourself. There's lots of behaviors that point to this, comparing ourselves with others, and always coming up short, you know, that person's smarter, more beautiful, whatever, we got lots of stories about how we're less than other people. And the emotion that I find counterbalances that is dignity. Because dignity comes from the Latin which means worth. And so, in dignity, I believe, it's not just that I think, I believe, I know, that I have worth as a human being, I have as much worth as every other human being. But you know, there's a lot of messages in the world that you don't for many reasons, right? If women aren't paid as much as men, what does that tell you? You're not as valuable as man. People of color, people with, you know, different gender preference, people from different nationalities, cultures. We get this message continuously. In many ways, that produces a sense of self-doubt. Am I worthy as a human being? And we'll continue to get those messages, that's not going to stop. It's been going on the entire existence of the human race, but we have a tool. And that tool is the emotion of dignity. And if we strengthen dignity, dignity allows us to set boundaries, to take a stand for ourselves, to know what we want, to say what we want, to pursue what we want, and we don't need permission. So, dignity is a fantastic emotion to work against self-doubt. And one of the beautiful things about dignity is, I can't be in dignity without extending dignity to you. So, dignity reproduces itself, dignity spreads. And this is what you see with people like Mandela, this is what you see with people like Mother Teresa. Okay, they lived with dignity. And extended dignity to others, was really powerful. So, I think there is an opportunity, there is a possibility. But an interesting statistic that I both read and experience as a coach is, you know, 75% of the women I coach, this is a topic, 50% of the men lack dignity. And when I ask them, well, you sound like you're not so sure that, you know, you're worthwhile, you have value. So, tell me about dignity. And you know what they usually say, I know the word, but I don't know how to tell you what it means. And if I ask them to embody dignity, they have no clue. So, I think it's a tremendous territory that we could work. And you know, just because we can take a stand for ourselves, doesn't mean it's always the right time to do that. It may put us in danger. So many people have learned to hide. Many people have learned to not speak on their own behalf. Many people have learned not to take a stand for themselves. Because the situation they were in growing up was unsafe to do that. And it could have been culturally, it could have been because of their family, there's lots of reasons, but we always have the opportunity to develop that to strengthen dignity, and to have it available. Because when you need it, then you have it as a tool. But if you don't even know what it is...
Nicola Vetter 1:15:15
True, now, when they say, we don't know how to embody dignity, how do you help them with that struggle?
Dan Newby 1:15:25
Well, the character in general, that embodies dignity is the Monarch, the king, or the queen. So, I usually invite them to think about, it doesn't have to be an actual king or queen, somebody who takes a stand for themselves. Somebody who takes up their space, somebody who believes they're legitimate, and usually, everybody can think of Oh, yeah, my mother's friend or my uncle, or, you know, they can relate it to somebody they know, or have known. They can sometimes relate it to characters in movies or books, or, you know, we had a living example with Queen Elizabeth, shows, there's lots of possibilities. But if you think about how does a queen or a king, a good queen or good King, not an evil queen, right? But how do they walk? How do they move? How do they stand? How do they speak? Well, all of that is emanating from the emotion of dignity. And it's no coincidence that queens and kings wear crowns. Why? Because it produces the body that can hold and carry dignity. It's not an accident. So, one thing people can do is they can begin to wear a hat, for instance, because, well, that might be a little more socially acceptable than wandering around with a crown on your head. But it will produce the same effect, you will need to stand very vertically to take up your space. So, there's practices that can go with that. But what's interesting is, I do have a kind of a routine that we go through, an exercise. It's very short. I asked people to stay in this body, in this posture for two minutes. And to observe what they feel, what they notice about their energy, what's happening with their thoughts, with their thinking. And universally, people say the same thing, I feel bigger, I feel stronger, I feel more confident. I had trouble staying with the belief that I am enough, or I am worthy, my thoughts kept drifting away, or this part of it was awkward or uncomfortable, let's say yeah, of course, because it's not your habit. But if you were to make it a habit, then it would feel completely normal to you. And then people would react to you differently, they would respond to you differently, because it has a different impact on them when you are walking, standing, living, speaking from the emotion of dignity.
Nicola Vetter 1:18:13
I actually experience with my clients a lot of confusion when I first bring up the way how they can embody their feelings, for example, flexibility. When I tell them, well, you could just put on some music and move your body in a more flexible way. Especially the engineers that I've been working with a lot, I could literally see a bit of fear in their eyes, because it is a totally unknown territory that they move into, right. But then, bit by bit when the allowance comes, when they allow themselves to move out of their blockage here in their mind's, I see there is more joy all of the sudden coming in.
Dan Newby 1:19:10
Well, there's a lot of judgments, you know, then people say, oh, I'll feel silly, or I'll be embarrassed or it's awkward. Yeah. Okay. It's new, it's different. You always have a choice. You can stay the way you are, or you can experiment with something new. You know, it's up to you. But if we want to change in life, I think experimenting with something new probably will have better results.
Peter Axtell 1:19:33
I have one more question about when I go to work, or in my job, I don't get the respect that I deserve, can dignity come, is that an internal state that you can develop by the way that you've just talked about, the way you hold yourself? Does it always come from yourself? Or what about the people who say, I demand respect, but I don't get it at work. And so, I want to go and do something else because I'm not respected. I'm curious about your view on that.
Dan Newby 1:20:02
Well, the approach I would take with somebody in that conversation is first, what is respect? Tell me what it means to you. Dignity encompasses, to some degree respect, I believe that I deserve respect. And I believe I deserve self-respect, which means to treat myself as worthy, as important as valuable. And so, I would begin an inquiry. But one of the things that I find is that people need to, at least with dignity, they need to embody this first and begin to experiment with what is the impact? How do people treat them differently? Because they will begin to notice the difference. And that's really the key is that when you begin to hold yourself in dignity, then other people will respond to you differently, is that they'll begin to listen to you, they'll begin to notice you, they'll begin to give you credit for things. And it's a little bit odd at first, because you're not really saying anything different. But you are different. And so, the way the impact that has for people, is that it's felt quite differently, and people respond to it differently. So, you know, I would tend to go to a conversation maybe about dignity. But also, I would be curious, you know, why does that person believe they deserve respect? And what is respect? And are they really behaving in a way to invite respect, but also, does it really matter? Is it really important? Or does it just feel good to them, you know, for people to defer to them or to acknowledge them? And I would be curious about that because maybe they're being treated disrespectfully. And if so then the question would be, is that the place you should stay, because if other people don't see you as having worth or value, then maybe you're in the wrong place, you're probably not going to change them. Right? Mainly, what you can do is change you. And that may be changing something internally, and it also may be changing where you are.
Peter Axtell 1:22:23
I think it'd be fun to go to work next week, as a kind of a lab experiment. I'm going to practice the stuff that Dan taught me about more dignity, I'm gonna practice holding myself in a certain way and have fun with that and see what kind of reaction I get, how I feel and what I get over time, I suspect this doesn't happen instantaneously.
Nicola Vetter 1:22:45
I was just wondering, Dan, is there anything that we didn't touch on that you really want our audience to know?
Dan Newby 1:22:54
I think the biggest thing I would share with people is invite them to consider the possibility that many of the interpretations they've learned about emotions are misunderstandings or they're myths, for instance, that we can control our emotions and we need to because I would say, I don't. And I don't know anybody who does. So maybe that whole idea is not the most useful idea. And quite a few of these emotions are not inherently positive or negative, that emotions have no purpose, you know, and on and on. I think that people questioning what they believe about emotions is a really great beginning place. Because many of the things that we've been told or that we've assumed about emotions are not particularly helpful, is what I find, is that we need to kind of step back and dig into a new interpretation, which is really what the book you showed is. It's a primer in emotional literacy. And the whole idea is to invite people to stop and think about, well, I learned this about emotions, but is it true? Is it true in my experience, right? Not according to Dan, just is it true in my experience, am I sure that the best relationship I can have with emotions, is learning to control them? I don't know. Let me just take a look because I would suggest that if you look at those 10 or so myths or misapprehensions about emotions, you'll find that your interpretation of emotions changes quite radically. And you can begin to see them as something very practical, a very useful tool. Once you begin to believe that then the rest is you know, investigation, curiosity, research, creating your table, or reading mine, and really just being in the conversation of emotions and you will learn, you can't not. Once you begin to see that it is learnable that, oh, I can learn about my emotions, and they do have a value and a purpose. Once you begin to believe that, then you'll pursue, you'll begin to explore. And you'll make some really amazing discoveries. I mean, I can tell you, this has completely changed my life, completely, and much, much to my benefit, much. But also, I've thought, this idea of emotional literacy to 1000s of people, and they all say pretty much the same thing is like, wow, I never had any idea. So, take a look, you may be surprised.
Nicola Vetter 1:25:40
And the wonderful thing with you Dan is, you just make it fun along the way.
Dan Newby 1:25:45
Well, why not?
Peter Axtell 1:25:48
I want to encourage everybody to go and buy Dan's book, The unopened gift. And also, Dan, I understand that you have a new app to help people access their emotions, a new fantastic app, can you just briefly tell us a little bit about your new app?
Dan Newby 1:26:05
Sure. It's, for the moment, it's only available on iPhone, so you have to go to the App Store is called the full name is EMOTE - master your emotions. So, if you type in that, you will get connected with it. And it has a lot of the content from the book. It also has exercises, it also has a list of emotions. So, you can scroll through if you're unsure what emotion you're in. If you select an emotion, it will take you to a deeper explanation or a bigger explanation of the emotion. And at the bottom of each emotion. There's also a section about well, what if this emotion, what if you have so much of it, you'd like to rein it in? Or what if you would like to amplify it in your life, there are some tips about how you might do that. There’re also some exercises that are for learning. And we're going to be issuing an upgrade really soon that has some coaching tips in it. So, you can do a little self-coaching. So, it actually helps you, it's not just informational, but it can help you track your emotions. You can see patterns with your emotions. And it will also answer or give you suggestions about, you know, if you want to change something in your life, then what are emotions you might select that could be useful to create that change. So, it's, yeah, it's a lovely tool that people use to get great reviews. So, I'm delighted and we're just going to keep making it better. So at least check it out. And I'd love for people to download it and use it.
Peter Axtell 1:27:42
Nicola Vetter 1:27:43
Amazing. Thank you so much. Thank you for all the wisdom you provided.
Dan Newby 1:27:48
It's a pleasure. Thank you as always.
Peter Axtell 1:27:52
We hope you enjoyed this interview. The biggest takeaway for me was this idea of how important and useful it is to gain emotional literacy and when Dan said, most people can name about 15 to 20 emotions, when there are actually 200 or more and each emotion has a story along with it. You might think you are feeling fear, when in reality you're feeling doubt.
Nicola Vetter 1:28:19
Yes. And along with that the biggest takeaway for me was this idea that once you've identified the emotion you're feeling, you get to choose which emotion you're going to use to move you forward. So, if you're feeling doubt, you can decide to choose adventurousness to move forward.
Peter Axtell 1:28:46
Wonderful. To learn more about Dan, head to WhatsNext.com/1, where we share the transcript, links, and more. Again, that's WhatsNext.com/1.
Nicola Vetter 1:29:03
And if you like what you've heard, share it with someone you care about. And subscribe, rate, and review our Inside-Out Career Design podcast on Apple podcasts, Spotify, or wherever you get your podcasts, so you'll never miss an episode. Thanks so much for joining us here today. We'll see you next week for another episode. Same time, same place.