Emotional agility, a phrase coined by Harvard psychologist Dr. Susan David, is “the ability to be with yourself, your thoughts, your difficult emotions, sadness, fear, and anger in a way that is curious and compassionate, but without allowing yourself to be derailed by those emotions.” [Source] #goals

Doesn’t that sound lovely? If your answer is “yes,” then below are my notes from a Dare to Lead podcast in which Brene Brown interviews Susan David. I found Susan David’s research fascinating and especially appreciated her description of “toxic positivity.”

I’d love to hear how this information landed with you, so please, send me a note if you resonated with Susan David’s work.

Have a wonderful week!


Kim Bushore-Maki


Kim’s Notes from Brene Brown’s Interview of Susan David

Too often people are discouraged from noticing, let alone, feeling their emotions. When uncomfortable emotions are discouraged from being felt, Susan David says we fall into a trap of “positive toxicity.”

Not allowing ourselves to feel and to move through unpleasant emotions leads to emotional fragility or an inability to accept the world as it is. The disconnect between what we are experiencing and what we are allowed to feel decreases our resiliency.

To avoid emotional fragility and to increase emotional agility, the first step is to “show up” and allow your feelings to be present. Strategies for showing up are to recognize:

  • your feelings are neither good nor bad
  • your feelings are signposts – not directives
  • your feelings are a reflection of your experience – not of your character

The second step to emotional agility is to “step out.” Stepping out is when you do not become the feeling, rather you observe the feeling. The more granular, or clear you are about what you are feeling, the more information you can siphon from your experience. Strategies for stepping out are:

  • To change your language from “I am angry” to “I am noticing I feel anger.”
  • To create a space between the experience and the response which invites emotional vulnerability or the ability to express your emotions consciously rather than to lash out.
  • To approach your emotions with both courage and compassion

When you realize your emotions are signposts to what you value, you are better able to “walk your why,” which is the third step toward emotional agility. Walking your why is to make choices and to have goals which reflect what you value.

To notice and to name what your emotion is telling you is to learn more about what you value. For example, quite often anger signposts the values of fairness and justice and loneliness signposts the values of connection and intimacy.

Knowing what you value also informs your goal setting. Creating goals around what you value turns your objectives from have to’s to want-to’s. When we feel obligated to complete a goal, we are less likely to meet our expectations. Setting goals which reflect our values makes it easier for us to obtain them.

The fourth and final step to emotional agility is moving on. Moving on is connecting your values to your behaviors. Some strategies for moving on are:

  • to make “tiny tweaks” to habits which negate your values. For example: if you value connection, then you come to the dinner table without your phone.
  • to write down what you value and to refer to the list when setting goals
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Kim Bushore-Maki is a soul-driven entrepreneur who understands the undeniable urge to create a business and a life filled with meaning and purpose. Her vision of opening a center where women could heal and grow led her to open Shakti in the Mountains in Johnson City, Tennessee: a place where the creative, feminine energy is nurtured and valued.

Five years later, Kim is still in the flow of supporting and building a healthy, vibrant community and now guides retreats, teaches yoga, and provides one-on-one services for women who want an immersion experience into the life-affirming, Shakti energy.

Kim’s training as a therapist and yoga teacher allows her to safely and compassionately guide women on a heart-centered journey to Self, where women re-connect with their beautiful, authentic spirit.

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