Our TED Circles journey continues and it is awesome to see the community continuing to grow. In May TED Circles had 237 active hosts with over 4000 guests – everyone who joined is a part of this bigger community that is sharing ideas and collaborating to help make the world better, more inclusive, and open to learning. So, thank you for joining our TED Circle.

The theme for June was Resilience, an interesting theme and as I have mentioned before it is rather uncanny how these themes tie in to the current circumstances despite having been finalised before we had a global pandemic on our hands. The TED Circle hosts were also encouraged to discuss the current circumstances and realities that we are facing.

A side note before we unpack the discussion for our latest TED Circles. TED 2020 is being hosted under the theme of “UnCharted”, An eight-week virtual get together that is running from 18 May to 10 July. TED are releasing some of the sessions from the event on their YouTube channel and through their podcast the TED Interview, the latest release is Why a company’s future depends on putting its employees first with Dan Schulman.

The talk that we picked for our latest TED Circles was made by Susan David at TED Women in 2017, it is title “The gift and power of emotional courage”.

Psychologist Susan David shares how the way we deal with our emotions shapes everything that matters: our actions, careers, relationships, health and happiness. In this deeply moving, humorous and potentially life-changing talk, she challenges a culture that prizes positivity over emotional truth and discusses the powerful strategies of emotional agility. A talk to share.

Susan David is a founder and co-director of the Institute of Coaching at McLean Hospital of Harvard Medical School and an Instructor in Psychology at Harvard University. In the talk you will hear here refer to Emotional agility, which is the title of her book. It encourages you to Get Unstuck, Embrace Change, and Thrive in Work and Life.

So, what does the word resilience mean? In the dictionary it is defined as “the capacity to recover quickly from difficulties; toughness.” An apt word to ponder and as Colin Ford said in the session it will mean different things to different people.

Here are a few notes from the circle and some of the thoughts that Susan’s talk evoked.

  • The talk challenges a culture that prizes positivity over emotional truth and discusses the powerful strategies of emotional agility. 
  • Praised for being strong – language we use and our lack of descriptive choices (‘okay’, ‘fine’).
  • Are there ever instances where you feel like ignoring your emotions is a good idea? Why or why not?
  • When you’re able to talk about — rather than suppress — difficult emotions, and experience “individualised consideration,” how do you feel afterward?
  • “The only certainty is uncertainty” – will we ever truly know what the future holds? Our lives require us to adapt, this is part of the journey… the journey is the destination.
  • We bottle things up, hide behind emails and don’t communicate properly we often make difficult situations worse. The digital age (lack of human connection) requires us to be more in tune with our EQ.
  • Diversity – adaption and evolution are two things that make humanity resilient. Bouncing back from challenges and learning from mistakes.
  • Authenticity and agility – real people, real connections. Challenges we face in a virtual world and being physically distant. How do we foster authenticity in the way we communicate?
  • Have you had moments when your inner world and emotions affected your outer-world and other people? What do you do to mitigate those feelings if/when they arise?
  • We are victimised by our newsfeeds – this links to the attention economy and how we can be controlled by the algorithms of the social media platforms that control so much of your time. Social media is a powerful tool that can enable positive change, giving people a voice, however it does need to be challenged and checked.
  • Judging our own emotions – not allowing ourselves to feel emotion. Has this changed during the lockdown and dealing with the global pandemic? Have we learnt to deal with challenges on a different level and learnt to understand ourselves better?
  • Disappointment that comes with failure – stress and discomfort is the admission to meaningful life.
  • Diversity and difficult conversations – expanding our minds, through physical experiences and learning from different opinions.
  • Emotions are data not a directive.
  • Rigid deniability does not work – powerful words that we should all consider and seek a deeper level of understanding to societal issues. Seth Godin wrote a blog that speaks about “invisible insulation”.

So, just as Susan started her talk, I would also like to end with the Zulu greeting, “Sawubona” which means “I see you”.

Let’s all be and do better. Make an effort to embrace diversity and learn from our emotions.

Join our next TED Circle on Wednesday the 15th of July at 4pm, sign up here: https://forms.gle/6ZRxTpFiC33VDvQy8

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