In the WorkWell Podcast by Deloitte, Jen Fisher — Human Sustainability Leader at Deloitte and Editor-at-Large, Human Sustainability at Thrive Global — sits down with inspiring individuals for wide-ranging conversations about how we can develop a way of living and working built on human sustainability, starting with ourselves.
This week, Dr. Gabriella Rosen Kellerman, a physician and entrepreneur whose latest book is Tomorrowmind: Thriving at Work with Resilience, Creativity, and Connection—Now and in an Uncertain Future, shares some of the ways connection, creativity, and empathy can help us flourish in an ever-changing working environment.
On the real meaning (and power) of resilience:
“We’re wired to see change as a potential source of danger — fight or flight is our hardwired response to major challenges. But we can’t live in a constant state of high cortisol, a constant state of threat. We need to adapt — and there’s a set of skills to help us navigate change. Resilience is the foundational skill because it’s really about the ability to cope with changes as they come — and keep coming. We typically think about resilience as being able to bounce back from change. But the opposite of breaking under a challenge is not just bouncing back, but feeling more centered, having a greater sense of clarity and meaning, and a greater focus. Ultimately it’s about becoming psychologically stronger because of what you have been through.”
On the value of “shared time” with others to foster creativity:
“Emails, instant messages, and text messages don’t build relationships the way that shared time does. Creativity entails the activity of a brain network called the default mode network. And that’s like deep associative thinking. We need that in order to come up with our best ideas, to get that richness of creative output. And it’s interrupted by emails and messages. So even if you’re not in the same place as someone, you can call them, you could get on a video call with them.”
On shifting from “time famine” to “time abundance”:
“One reason it’s so hard for us to connect with people today is that we always feel rushed. And when we’re in a rush, we are less likely to feel empathy toward people. So we need to disrupt that rush mentality, called time famine. One of the best ways to do that is actually to give time to someone else. So the thing we think we don’t have time to do is exactly the thing we need to do. Take 30 minutes or even 15 minutes and do something kind for someone else — maybe call them and help them with a problem. When we do that we actually shift our brain out of time famine into a time abundance mentality. Notice how after that time you’ll feel a little more centered, a little more able to extend yourself to others.”
On adopting an optimistic mindset:
“When something new comes up, try to spend a little more time in the first few seconds or minutes with expansive, divergent, optimistic thinking. Allow yourself to lean into the optimism of it and what positives could come out of it. That is a great way to broaden your thinking and access some of the more positive emotions that can come up when you think about the future.”
On what it means to thrive at work:
“Thriving typically means that we have high levels of positive emotions, and high quality relationships; we feel a sense of achievement, we feel like we’re accomplishing things and we’re proud of those things. We also feel a sense of meaning and purpose in what we’re doing, and we feel really engaged. Thriving means having a successful career — whatever that looks like to you. So if you’re climbing a ladder, it might be promotions and increased responsibility. There’s no ceiling on what we can accomplish. So the question is, how do you help people push to the limits of their own potential?”
To hear more from Jen and Gabriella, listen to this full episode of WorkWell here, available wherever you get your podcasts. Visit the WorkWell by Deloitte library for the full collection of episodes.