This week, our blog addresses the importance of emotional agility for your career, as inspired by Susan David.  In her book, Emotional Agility, she writes that how we see ourselves and how we deal with our inner world impacts how we live our lives.  

Most people handle emotions in one of two ways:

They wallow in feelings and become victims to them


they push aside and refuse to acknowledge the ‘shameful’ emotions.

In a nutshell, emotional agility is the ability to acknowledge emotions, accurately label them, and understand the cause of them. 

Susan says, “Dealing with emotions helps us deal with situations as they are, not as we wish them to be.” 

She describes emotions as data that leads to a better understanding of ourselves, and only when we label emotions accurately can we learn the precise cause of our feelings. 

So, what does emotional agility have to do with your career?

Emotional agility guides interactions with coworkers

We wrote previously that emotional intelligence (EQ) is more important than IQ when it comes to your career.  Having emotional agility enables you to understand and navigate your feelings, thus increasing your EQ.  

Have you encountered a challenging coworker in the workplace, who tends to escalate conversations?  Or have you ever been involved in a heated inter-departmental discussion?  How have you handled these? 

Viktor Frankl said, “Between stimulus and response there is space.  In that space is our power to choose our response.  In our response lies our growth and freedom.”  

With emotional agility, you can acknowledge your emotions, yet filter them to respond neutrally.  It helps you regulate your emotions to have more favorable outcomes in those emotionally charged interactions. 

Handling yourself well in these situations sets you apart from your coworkers, and you’ll likely catch the eye of management.  This could put you at the top of the list for a promotion when an opportunity comes along.

Emotional agility helps you establish your career path

Do you dread waking up in the morning and going to work? Do you thrive in certain aspects of your job and not others? 

Emotional agility requires you to be honest about how you feel about your job and analyze why you feel that way.  This deep self-reflection leads to a greater understanding of self, which can help you establish new goals for your career or take you down an entirely different path.   (Check out our New Year’s blog, which talks about self-reflection).

Learn more about emotional agility

To learn more about emotional agility, read Susan David’s book, Emotional Agility, or check out her TedTalk.

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