In the past two seasons I have done 40 episodes with experts. Some were writers, musicians, coaches, therapists, and lots of them were authors. Here’s what I learned about Great Work from these interviews.
Join us as we discuss:
· How Great Work often comes out of our most painful and powerful experiences
· How Great Work emerges from moments of courage
· How our fully authentic selves are required to do Great Work
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Click here to get your own copy of Amanda’s book, Great Work.
About The Host:
Dr. Amanda Crowell is a cognitive psychologist, speaker, author, and coach focused on changing our perspective on the world of work. It IS possible to do Great Work—the work that calls to you from the inside– without sacrificing your health, happiness, and relationships.
Amanda is the Author of the book, Great Work: Do What Matters Most Without Sacrificing Everything Else, and the creator of the Great Work Journals. Amanda’s TEDx talk has received almost two million views and has been featured on TED’s Ideas blog and Ted Shorts. Her ideas have also been featured on NPR, Al Jazeera, The Wall Street Journal, Quartz, and Thrive Global.
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One of my favorite insights over these 40 interviews is exactly this one that in order to do great work, you really have to know who you are, and then be that person.Dr. Amanda Crowell:
Welcome to unleashing your great work, a podcast about doing the work that matters the most to you. I'm your host, Dr. Amanda Crowell, a cognitive psychologist, coach, author of the book, great work, and the creator of the great work journals. Every week on this podcast, we're here asking the big questions. What is your great work? How do you find it? And why does it matter? Whether we do it? What does it actually take to do more of your great work without sacrificing everything else? And how does the world change, when more people are doing more of the work that matters the most to them? Stay tuned for answers to these questions, and so much more.Dr. Amanda Crowell:
Last week, on the podcast, I shared the 40th interview that I've done. It is amazing to think that I have had deep conversations about great work with 40 people who are experts in their field, doing the great work, and are a wonderful example of what's possible. When you give yourself the opportunity to do the work that matters the most to you. In those 40 interviews, one of my favorite parts, was learning so much about the concept of great work by hearing how other people share their experiences of great work. When I wrote my book, great work, I built my theory on a decade of coaching people who are overcoming resistance and building self confidence and figuring out how to do great work. And of course, I drew from my own experiences of a lifetime striving towards doing great work. And so I thought I really understand great work at a deep level. And to doing these interviews confirmed that great work is what I thought it was. But there are also so many varieties, lots of different approaches, often based on the individual doing the great work, like what baggage and constraints and strengths and quirks and proclivities are they bringing to their great work. And what's fascinating is that great work absolutely requires that you figure out who you are, and then use what you discover, to make it possible. So whatever your constraints are, whatever your baggage is, it will play out in your great work, whatever your strengths were, whatever your quirkiness and your specific interests, they will show up in your great work, because great work is the expression of your unique perspective of your life experiences. I haven't really met anyone who says that their great work is, you know, not those things. And so doing great work requires that we express our full selves in the doing of it. One of my favorite insights over these 40 interviews is exactly this one, that in order to do great work, you really have to know who you are, and then be that person. And it's not just because as Oscar Wilde says, Be yourself, everyone else has taken. Like that's true. There is no one else who can be you. So your unique, you know, what do they call it, yourDr. Amanda Crowell:
unique selling proposition is that you are you and no one else can be you like there's a lot of truth in that. But it's also somewhat deeper than that the notion that who you are was sort of designed to do this work that if you try to slice off a part of yourself and hide it, or shame it or try to keep it from being the truth about you, you will struggle to do your great work. And there were so many examples of this in the interviews. I think one of my favorite is Matt Haggerty. He is a young adult, book author. He recently wrote the book when his when his interview came out he had just released lumberjack EULA book about a boy who is a half of a vampire and half the lumberjack. And he has to decide which school to go to. And Matt writes quirky books like this that are a lot about identity and knowing yourself and one of the things that he shared with me when we were talking is that he puts into his book these messages of knowing yourself and being yourself and accepting who you are, because he himself struggled a lot to think he was good and Have you had dyslexia and struggled to learn how to read, he had ADHD and had trouble in school. And it wasn't until he tapped into a part of himself that was, that was just a part of him, he tapped into music, he tapped into creativity, he learned to appreciate that he learned to leverage that, that he grew into the person that he can be today who can share these stories. And, and I have to tell you that that book is great. My son loves it, he is communicating the message, to be who you are, to accept what you know about yourself to have the courage to express what's true for you. And that was his own story, too. And we hear that over and over again, from people where they are sharing what they needed to learn. Great example, Tara McMillan who wrote the book, what works, she had a massive experience of burnout. And now she has written a treatise on what it means to radically change the way that you think about work, I think of it as a very close relative to great work. They're very symbiotic, really aligned books. And so if you enjoyed great work, you should check out what works by Tara McMullen because she had to admit that she was ambitious, and that she wanted to be happy. And so in order to do both of those things, she had to find another way. But it's not possible to solve your problems until you admit what's true. Tara McMullen is ambitious. And she got burned out, and she didn't like it. And so if she was trying to hide the fact that she was ambitious, or she was trying to hide the fact that she was an over worker, she would not have hit upon her great work. It is her expression of her real life that led her to write a really wonderful, really well written, really powerful book that's helped a lot of people. Similarly, in the vein of we teach what we need to learn. So many of my guests talk about how they learned a painful lesson, or or powerful lesson, but usually both painful and powerful, and use that to propel themselves into their great work. The person coming to mind here is Melissa Monty, who is the host of the really wonderful podcast mind love. And she's very open about the fact that she was a hot mess. She just was a an almighty mess. She was struggling with eating disorders and substances and low self esteem and depression and anxiety. And she was just really unhappy in her life. And then she decided that she was just going to fix it. And over the course of some really painful years, she's figured out who she was, and started to discover the power of mindset in changing your life. And she has a extremely popular podcast, and she's a great keynote speaker. And what she talks about is how she lived the experience of getting to rock bottom and then turning it around. And it's powerful, because it's true for her great work that comes from your truth. People can tell that it's authentic, they can be moved by you in a way that somebody's studying the problem like a specimen like a researcher, like we need both perspectives, certainly, but there is something so powerful about hearing someone's own unique story. And that experience is heard over and over again, with Melissa with Tara with me. There's Michelle ARP, in Virgina, from the episode taking money from taboo to talk about talking about how she had a terrible experience where her father spent her college fund on a yacht, and then said, Sorry, we can't send you to school and what it did for her to turn around and build her own way through college and learn how to talk about money coming from a family that just simply avoided talking about it and then had all these like money related showdowns and misunderstandings and miscommunications and really tore their family apart, not to talk about money. And so Michelle has taken that experience and built her great work on top of it. And of course, then there's KP Christina Pater, who wrote the book, The Hollywood approach, where she had debilitating panic attacks around the water, and then figured out how to find her way back into the water. And she did it by jumping through waterfalls, and then she features that really painful, multi year kind of life defining experience, and she put it in her book, The Hollywood approach. This is one of my favorite discoveries is how much of our great work comes out of some of our most painful All Powerful experiences. I know for sure it's true for me that I wrote great work because I realized I wanted to do world changing work. And I just could not continue to be burned out and suffer through health problems. And so I figured out for myself how I can do great work without sacrificing everything else. And then I wrote the book. So this is a great, wonderful realization. And really, there's a piece of it and every one of these stories, and embedded in these stories is often what I like to refer to as the moment of great courage, where the person is going along in whatever their prior, you know, reality was, and then they have a realization, they feel a call of great work. And then what do they do? I think the vast majority of us, myself included, when you first get the call of great work, you're like, yeah, no, not doing that. That's a lot of work that's too dangerous. It's so risky. Sometimes it involves these like big shifts, and we say no, we say no to our great work. And I think in all of these experiences, where they, they actually took that moment of great courage, there was first the rejection of the call, there was at first a rejection of the call. And yet, eventually, they did take that leap, they entered into that moment of courage and those they have, they're sort of different flavors of them. There are some people who are taking a leap into like, just a hugely competitive field. Charlie Gilbert comes to mind in this one, he was like, lots of us interested in musical theater, and went to school for it and put on some shows in school and then took the leap to actually be in the world of musical theater, knowing eyes wide open, that it's sometimes difficult to make a living in this space. And he did it anyways, and figured out how to do it and did all kinds of has done all kinds of interesting things. He's written shows, he's been a professor, he created a program at the University of the Arts in Philadelphia, and really is a great, lovely example of how to do great work over the course of a lifetime. Even when you're in a hugely competitive field that is inherently risky. I loved his story. And of course, there's Diane DiNapoli, from season one, who was 30 years old, and went back to get a master's degree so that she could work with penguins and dolphins and at 30 years old, just went back to school because she realized I just I don't want to not have the chance to do that. It's worth it to just start over and do that. So one of my all time favorite stories of that moment of courage. And then there's like every writer on this podcast, Gina Cox, J.Dr. Amanda Crowell:
Y, Matt Haggerty, AJ Arbor, Tara McMullen, like just, you know, author after author or Jeanette Brene, like were a lot of us have written these books, and every author who's finished a book had a moment of courage when they said, Okay, fine, I'll write the book. And they sat down, and they started. And that might not feel like a huge moment of courage, if you haven't really, really wrapped your head around sitting down to write a book, but it's such a massive project. Even if it's a short book, it's a massive project. And it's a great expression of courage to sit down and decide to write a book. And then to finish it, let me just tell you, is 1000 moments of courage later, because every time you want to say, Nobody even wants this book, nobody wants to read this book, nobody cares about this book, you feel get through each of those moments with the moment of courage where you return to the manuscript, your 1000 moments of courage. And by the time that book comes out, and as you listen to the stories of people who are writing their books, you hear that courage come through, I also noticed a trend of courage around allowing ourselves to be happy. I think the best example of this is Amy Bermudez, who was working in textiles, and really wasn't that happy doing it. But you know, lives just outside of New York City, and you have to make a certain amount of money to live comfortably in this environment has a really high standard of living, and was Jan mortgage and kids and that's what she was doing. So she continued doing it. And then the moment came where, during the pandemic, her company shut down, and instead of looking for a new job in textiles, she decided to become a voice actor. And so she took classes and she has put together her reel and now she's figuring out how to get the work as a voice actor. In the moment of courage to do that, instead of looking for a another job in textiles. It's just a mind boggling moment. And what really was at the core of it was that Amy had always wanted to be creative. And yet she had never really allowed herself to do anything creative. And so the allowing of herself to admit who she truly is to herself to allow that part of her a place to live and grow and shine had a huge impact on her self described happiness. So not only is she in a different job that she likes better, but giving herself the opportunity to be in that job is what really changed things. And embedded in a lot of these stories is that final courageous decision to allow yourself to have what makes you happy. We see it in Tara McMullen choosing to allow herself to do less with Amy and her voice acting with Matt Haggerty, who moved from San Francisco to Idaho so that he could take care of his kids, and be a full time writer. We see this over and over again, Mary test Rooney's whole book, heart value is about doing this, making sure that what you're offering to the world as a service, either through your full time job or through your business, that it actually reflects your heart's desire, so that it both lights you up and is valuable to the world. And when you bring those two things together, you have heart value. And the stories she tells in her book is just one after another of the transformational impact of allowing yourself to have what makes you feel happy. And then the final insight that I do hear over and over again, especially if you listened to the resilience series that came out in December, that's 10 episodes, all focused on building resilience and thinking of resilience as a critical strategic practice that you should be engaging in meaning, the more that you engage in self care, take a break, sleep enough, eat enough, meditate, give yourself the things that help you to feel good in your body and good in your life. Those things build resilience, which of course, is the ability to bounce back after adversity. And thinking of protecting, monitoring and adjusting your resilience as a practice. Absolutely critical for great work is another thing that I both categorically believe and hear in the stories of person after person on this podcast and these interviews. When you take care of yourself. When you give yourself the care that you need, you unlock the ability to do great work Jennette Bernays book, the self care mindset is a really great treatise on exactly this point. And she talks about it not only as an individual goal, but as something organizations need to build into the way they think about teams, and compensation packages, and the way that companies are structured. Because if we are not protecting people's resilience, our team's resilience and or if we are not thinking strategically about our own resilience, we will struggle to do great work. Because great work relies on things like innovation, creativity, problem solving, collaboration, and communication, right? And all of those things, the trickiest things that humans can do, they only function well, like you're, you're just not a good communicator. If you're exhausted and cranky, and you don't feel that great, and you're kind of burned out, you're not a good communicator, you don't have space in your mind, for empathy. You the ideas that you come up with, to solve problems, when you're utterly exhausted, are not they're not good ideas. They're certainly not innovative and creative ideas. So great work relies on the best of the human brain that it can offer and the human brain absolutely and categorically requires rest, and resilience. And I really think that the episode was Shinnok. Brene is a great sort of direct discussion of the importance of resilience. So I hope that maybe you took a note in your mind or on your phone or wherever, have one of these episodes to go back and listen to because season two of this podcast, which this is the finale of season two, was just full of remarkable experts with really wonderful experiences, both of what they know to be true, what they've studied, what they've written about, and also what they have felt to be true experiences that they have experienced in their own life, and they're here now sharing what they've learned. It's been a remarkable season. I hope you enjoyed it, and we will be back with new episodes in May. I hope that you enjoy the next few weeks of encore episodes the best of the last two seasons. coming out to remind you about the absolute foundations of great work. I will see you in season three.