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Category Archives: TaketheJoy

Book Review: “Emotional Agility – Get Unstuck, Embrace Change and thrive in Work and Life”

su dave

In her fantastic and relevant book ‘Emotional Agility -Get unstuck, Embrace Change and Thrive in Work and Life” Dr. Susan David reminds us of the importance of pausing to connect with ourselves.

We are on this planet for a short time and study after study shows that having a strong sense of what matter to us leads to greater happiness. By knowing who you are and what you stand for, you come to lifes’ choices with the most powerful tool of all; our full selves.

When we connect with our real selves and what we believe to be important, the gulf between how we feel and how we behave closes up.

Enter Emotional Agility. This is a process that allows us to be in the moment, changing or maintaining our behaviours that are aligned with our intentions and values. The goal of Emotional Agility is to keep our sense of growth and challenge alive and is built around a 4 step process. These are:

  • Step 1: Showing Up: Becoming curious about our thoughts and emotions and facing them with kindness. Asking ourselves who’s in charge the thinker or the thought?
  • Step 2: Stepping out: Detaching ourselves from our emotion. As coaches we are skilled at supporting our clients in intentionally creating a space between stimulus and response as therein lies our power of choice. Paying attention to what we are thinking or how we are feeling is paramount in helping us to create that space e.g. I’m noticing that I’m feeling …
  • Step 3: Walking Your Why: In a world where we are expected to approach our day to day tasks like an endless ironman competition, it’s necessary to take the time to evaluate what truly matters to us, otherwise we leave ourselves victim to circumstance. Identifying and acting on the values that are your own is crucial to E.A.
  • Step 4: Moving On: The ability to make small but intentional changes in our motivation, our mindset and our behaviours that are aligned with our values can make for transformational change in how we navigate our world.

Our ability to be nimble to meet lifes’ every changing demands is important, however, if we are not taking time to intentionally connect with our priorities or even observe our own narrative, we leave ourselves victims of circumstance or more tragically, randomness!

I absolutely loved this book, being emotionally agile in our lives empowers us to be adaptable, to face our emotions with courage, curiosity and compassion and move on from them!

S.O.A.R. Beyond the Stress! An ode to working parents

I was delighted to have my article (below) published on A Lust ForLife this week. See:


It’s hard being a working parent -being a parent full stop. The working part adds another dimension of chaos. While mid- term was a great break, I am looking forward to settling back into the school routine. However, the harsh reality is that we are merely two days in and already it feels like a few months and life is hostage to activities such as (do these sound familiar to you?):

  • The school and crèche drop offs
  • Managing the demands of work
  • Racing home
  • Afterschool Activities
  • Dinner
  • Prepare for the next day

Of course, this does not include laundry, groceries, homework. Neither does it include quality time with my children, my hubby, friends or myself.

But how can you do it all when there are just not enough hours in the day??!!

Think  S.O.A.R.

We all know that life is a whirlwind and goes by in a blink. In the midst of all the coming and going that are the tasks of being a working parent, it’s important to know that life is how you see it. You get to choose the view! It’s not about resisting the activities on this list above or creating another list to manage it (!!) Rather, it’s about :

  • STOP – when you feel overwhelmed or stressed, purposely, take 5, have a cuppa / sit still and take a moment to yourself. When you’re truly still, you leave yourself open to thinking with a clear head, allowing you to reframe or think differently (and sometimes this is all you need to feel at ease!)
  • Own your choices – at some point, this path was our ‘game-plan’. We hoped for a family and all the joy that children bring. Some of us also made a decision to work in parallel with raising our children. This is the path we’re on and we can choose for it to be ‘stressful ‘ or ‘joyful’. Actually, it’s more than a choice, it’s a way of life and sometimes, we do need to work at taking the joy from our day to day …And I’m sure you don’t have to look too far!
  • Accept– It is a busy time! It can be hard and sometimes draining but this is what we signed up for! If your schedule is too hectic, make changes or ask for help. At very least, try to find a way to make peace with your ‘here and now’. Resisting or stressing will not change a thing- it will only make life harder.
  • Reaffirm and Reassure –Choose to take the joy. It isn’t always easy but know that you choose how you experience your life! You have the power!

So, next time that you’re running from the school gate to work or, in work rushing from a meeting to the canteen, think “S.O.A.R”.  At the very least, STOP. Breathe. Reframe.  To summarise, enjoy your little ones, enjoy being a working mom/ dad and take joy in the activities that ‘need doing’! Choose to embrace the path you’re on and by making this mental shift, the real joy will come!

Gillian McGrath is a Cork based Life and Business Coach and Master Trainer. For more information, contact her directly at