Dr. Kelly Crace Episode Art

Episode 131: February 20, 2020

Do you like your job? Does it make you happy? Despite a good economy and low unemployment, a number of recent studies by organizations such as Gallup, Deloitte, and others state “the majority of people in America and the world do not like their jobs. The majority are not engaged at work.” There are a number of reasons for being unengaged: A bad boss, a low salary, poor company culture, and the list goes on. But our guest today says if you’re unhappy at work you can do something about it. In fact, he says you can find joy in your work. Dr. Kelly Crace is a licensed psychologist. He’s Associate Vice President for Health and Wellness and Director of the Center for Mindfulness and Authentic Excellence at William & Mary. He joins us on the podcast today to share the four steps that help you cultivate joy in your work.

Podcast (audio)

Podcast (platforms)

iTunes | Stitcher | SoundCloud | TuneIn

  • Why are a majority of poeple unhappy in the workplace
  • What factors cause job burnout
  • Do people have different thresholds for workplace strain
  • Are sensitive people at a higher risk for workplace stress
  • What is the difference between searching for joy by intention vs achieve joy by effect
  • What are the four areas of mindfulness
  • The importance of identifying purpose in work and personal life
  • The difference between enjoyment and joy
  • How to identify where you are giving and receiving encouragement in your work and life
  • How to people flourish and cultivate joy while distressed
  • What are five things that change brain chemistry
Dr. Kelly Crace: Cultivating Joy In Your Work Transcript Download (pdf)
Ken White:

From William & Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia, this is Leadership & Business. The podcast that brings you the latest and best thinking from today’s business leaders from across the world. We share the strategies, tactics, and information that can make you a more effective leader, communicator, and professional. I’m your host, Ken White. Thanks for listening. Do you like your job? Does it make you happy? Well, despite a good economy and low unemployment, a number of recent studies by organizations such as Gallup, Deloitte, and others state the majority of people in America and the world do not like their jobs. The majority are not engaged at work. There are a number of reasons for being unengaged. A bad boss, low salary, poor company culture, and the list goes on. But our guest today says if you’re unhappy at work, you can do something about it. In fact, he says, you can find joy in your work. Dr. Kelly Crace is a licensed psychologist; he’s Associate Vice President for Health and Wellness and Director of the Center for Mindfulness and Authentic Excellence at William & Mary. He joins us on the podcast today to share the four steps that help you cultivate joy in your work. Here’s our conversation with Dr. Kelly Crace.

Ken White:

Kelly, thanks so much for sharing your time and being with us on the podcast.

Dr. Kelly Crace:

Thank you, Ken. It’s good being with you again.

Ken White:

Yes, and you’ve been a guest more than once, and not many people have. And that tells you that, you know, I think what your area of expertise and what you do. I think so many people find it really fascinating. When people when you meet people, and they ask you what you do. What do you say?

Dr. Kelly Crace:

Well, I talk about just the honor I have of being able to be present to hear the human story. I mean, that’s really what led me to the field of psychology is not necessarily this real strong drive to help. It was a fascinating curiosity with the human story and being very fortunate to know that in that curiosity, that leads to it being helpful. Which I am happy to be a part of helping people, but I’m not the one that helps. It’s usually that person helping themselves and feeling understood and us working collaboratively together. And so the ability to just say I’m just professionally curious and personally curious at all times is what has led me in my research and my clinical work.

Ken White:

Before we get into our topic, I do want to talk about the center we’re recording in the center. It’s fascinating. Can you tell us about it?

Dr. Kelly Crace:

Yeah, it really is. It’s about kind of the architecture of wellness, the architecture of resilience. We really wanted to create a place in the heart of campus that really showed how prominent and intentional wellness should be in our life. But to look at it from a holistic perspective. So in the building, you’ll see everything from the full continuum of prevention and health promotion to intervention, both in traditional medicines as well as complementary treatment modalities. And it’s a Frank Lloyd Wright style design.

Ken White:

Hmm-mmm.

Dr. Kelly Crace:

And that the intention is if you looked at all four corners of the building and stood in all four corners of the building, you would see a different building. And it’s designed to kind of portray the multidimensionality of wellness. The intent of it is really for students to for this to be a learning center for students to learn. What does wellness look like for me, and what does the harmony of wellness look like for me among the many dimensions of wellness. And for them to be active in that and for them to know that it changes and is a dynamic part of their life throughout the four to five years that they’re here.

Ken White:

What is the response from the students been like since the building’s been open?

Dr. Kelly Crace:

They have owned this building.

Ken White:

Nice.

Dr. Kelly Crace:

We actually did a study, a groundbreaking study collaboratively with UVA and William & Mary, where we did a pre-test, a pre-assessment of the culture before the building was built and then a year after the building was built. And we’re going to do it every year afterwards for longitudinal reasons to see in what way is it affecting the culture? How are students and staff and faculty seeing wellness and thinking about wellness? And there is a shift going on, and they do get it. It is interesting as the research showed that students are still coming in for like a specific reason. Like I came into the building to get an allergy shot, but they leave feeling like something bigger is going on, and they always return. They engage in more activities and programs and services here as a reflection of what the building speaks to them. So I always joke about the fact that because it’s in the heart of campus, I tell them that you may not walk in the building, but you’ve got to walk by it every day.

Ken White:

Yeah.

Dr. Kelly Crace:

And it’s intended to compel you to think about your wellness. And so they really seem to be embracing that concept.

Ken White:

It is a fantastic facility, and I get it. I could see coming in for one purpose and then really opening up your mind on a lot of other possibilities. You recently gave a talk on the campus of William & Mary, cultivating joy in your teaching. And I reached out to you, and I said, can that transfer to cultivating joy in your work? Because so many people just seem on edge now, are unhappy with their work. And you said yes. Are you seeing am I correct in saying it seems like many people are sort of struggling with happiness and fulfillment professionally now?

Dr. Kelly Crace:

Yes, I think there is living in this kind of relentless world of pace and noise, and change and uncertainty is causing a level of stress that quickly moves to strain. And that’s kind of where joy starts to diminish. Stress is a good thing, but the minute stress kind of drifts into strain, that’s unsustainable. And that’s what leads to burnout. Part of the workaround this workshop about joy came from our research. As you know, my life’s work for the past 30 years has been trying to understand what really predicts flourishing.

Ken White:

Hmm-mmm.

Dr. Kelly Crace:

And one piece of that work has involved spending time looking at burnout and looking at the factors that kind of cause burnout. More importantly, we were really interested in seeing what do people do that thrive during periods of burnout or that prevent it. So burnout is when you kind of reached this place of strain

Ken White:

Hmm-mmm.

Dr. Kelly Crace:

in your life, whether it’s a work role or another role. And so what did people do that prevented stress to move into strain, or that when people found themselves under strain, how did they successfully move back into a healthier place? And we found that there are some very distinct intentionalities that people do that well.

Ken White:

Hmm-mmm.

Dr. Kelly Crace:

And it really is an intentionality, and so that’s why I use the term cultivating joy instead of finding joy or experiencing joy. We found this is work. It’s the work of wellness. And to experience genuine joy in our work and in our lives. It requires work.

Ken White:

Right.

Dr. Kelly Crace:

that the topic was about teaching.

Ken White:

Hmm-mmm.

Dr. Kelly Crace:

But the conversation quickly became about for you to find joy and cultivate joy in your teaching. You have to think broader. You have to think beyond just teaching. And that’s a lot of what the conversation was about.

Ken White:

We’ll talk about that in just a minute, the four intentionalities, but I thought of a question as you were talking about strain. Do people have different thresholds for strain? You know, some person, one person can really hang on for a while other person maybe not.

Dr. Kelly Crace:

It’s highly variable, it’s very individualized because of a person’s life experiences, both internally, you know, their biological makeup

Ken White:

Right.

Dr. Kelly Crace:

and just who they are as a person, plus their life experiences as they’ve grown up affect they attenuate. They can either buffer against our tolerance of strain, or they can amplify our sensitivity to strain. And interestingly enough, one of the factors that we found that really didn’t predict a level of distress, tolerance, or strain is this notion of sensitivity. We used to think that sensitivity was a weakness and a lot of people that are kind of highly sensitive people, that they feel things deeply and they think deeply. Many of them were often socialized growing up as children as saying you’re too sensitive or connoted in some way a level of weakness. When, in fact, one of the things that we know leads to a real strength and is a predictor of flourishing is a degree of sensitivity. It’s about how do I manage that sensitivity in a way that it works as the power that it is rather than the strain that it can become. So it’s really about managing our life in a way that allows our gifts to truly be expressed.

Ken White:

So when we talk about the four intentionalities. Can you walk us through them?

Dr. Kelly Crace:

Yeah, so as we look through this and I’ll stop with each one to see if you have any questions.

Ken White:

Great, yeah.

Dr. Kelly Crace:

Or anything like that. Or for me to clarify if you want to. But one of the things that we looked at and it’s kind of I come from the mental health profession and largely to some degree. It’s our fault that we’ve created somewhat of an expectation of searching for joy, searching for happiness.

Ken White:

Hmm-mmm.

Dr. Kelly Crace:

One of the things that we found in the research around flourishing and positive psychology is that we do know that people that flourish, they do experience happiness, they experience more happiness, they experience more joy, and they feel more balanced. So the mistake we made with that at times is we as a profession started kind of setting that up as an expectation. So, therefore, you need to seek happiness, seek joy, seek balance.

Ken White:

Hmm-mmm.

Dr. Kelly Crace:

And we find that that actually gets in the way that people that genuinely flourish, they don’t strive for work-life balance. They don’t strive for joy. They don’t strive for happiness. They’re more intentional and mindful about a few things that just happen to lead to that. So it’s not searching for joy by intention. It’s achieving joy by effect, and it’s by the effect of being intentional around these four things. And so that’s what was fascinating to us in our work

Ken White:

Yeah.

Dr. Kelly Crace:

is so what are people being more mindful about?

Ken White:

Hmm-mmm.

Dr. Kelly Crace:

The cool thing about it is we all have that capacity for these kind of intentionalities and mindfulness, the truth of it is there are no natural-born flourishers, flourishers, work at it.

Ken White:

Hmm-mmm.

Dr. Kelly Crace:

And they’re more mindful of the things that they know are important to them. So they accept the work of flourishing and enjoy cultivating joy. It’s really around kind of four areas of mindfulness.

Ken White:

Hmm-mmm.

Dr. Kelly Crace:

The first area is really doing a reflective period. It’s kind of you have to think about it about one. There has to be a reflective period and a clarification, kind of a crystallization period, and their need. Then there needs to be the practice of mindfulness about what you discern from that reflection. So the first reflection that in this workshop that I ask people to think about and reflect upon and share with each other. It was a conversation we all have with each other is where do you currently find purpose in your work. It’s centered around kind of three questions. Where do you currently find purpose in your work? Where do you currently find purpose in your teaching? So a little more micro,

Ken White:

Hmm-mmm.

Dr. Kelly Crace:

you know, a little more specific

Ken White:

Yeah.

Dr. Kelly Crace:

about this teaching part that’s in your work. Where do you find purpose there? And where do you currently find purpose in your life outside of work, in your other roles, outside of work? The reason for that is we find striving for passion doesn’t really lead to flourishing, but striving for purpose does. And the reason for that is purpose keeps us more value-centered rather than emotion centered. Because if I’m looking for passion, I’m also looking for kind of that emotional charge that comes with passion. But what happens during the week that you’re not feeling it that week? That can be affected by a number of different variables that affect your emotions. But you’re not feeling the passion. However, with purpose, we can very clearly identify and crystallize. This has meaning to me. This has personal rightness to me, and actually, I don’t even have to like it right now. You know, so it can be during times where there can be a lot of things that might be impacting my happiness or just the emotion of satisfaction. And we want to look at that, and you want to honor that and understand what that’s about. But you want to lead with purpose and our world kind of doesn’t foster that. Our world kind of fosters fear and stress and anxiety to kind of creep to the for purpose, to the foreground. It the emotion our emotional state in this moment kind of creeps to the foreground. We have to intentionally and mindfully bring purpose to the foreground. So we can have a professor that might be saying, you know, honestly, the deepest purpose I have in my life right now is my writing.

Ken White:

Hmm-mmm.

Dr. Kelly Crace:

I’m really this feels most right for me. And if I were to prioritize everything in my work right now, it would be writing.

Ken White:

Hmm-mmm.

Dr. Kelly Crace:

But I have a contract to teach three three,  three courses in the fall, three courses in the semester in the spring. I don’t enjoy teaching right now.

Ken White:

Hmm-mmm.

Dr. Kelly Crace:

I enjoy my writing, so I can’t wait to rush out of the classroom, and I’ll rush in and rush out to get to my writing. Being able to clarify, though, the purpose that is in your teaching honor, the purpose that’s in your writing, and it’s okay to even prioritize that number one.

Ken White:

Hmm-mmm.

Dr. Kelly Crace:

But when you’re stepping into that classroom, what purpose is there for you? Cause there is it’s there at some level.

Ken White:

Yeah.

Dr. Kelly Crace:

If I can clarify that and crystallize that and then be mindful about that. Even if I’m mindful the minute before I walk in the class, I’m fully there in that moment. I’m fully there teaching with my purpose. Even if that purpose is 10th on my priority list

Ken White:

Hmm-mmm.

Dr. Kelly Crace:

when I’m there teaching, I’m fully there, and I’m fully engaged. And then, when I leave, I can fully and without guilt step right into my writing at a deeper level of purpose, too.

Ken White:

And that that that example is like every job, that there’s a million things we all have to do

Dr. Kelly Crace:

There are.

Ken White:

in business and in every sector. Educate. Interesting. Very interesting. So start off with the reflection and the clarification stage.

Dr. Kelly Crace:

And then there has to be the commitment to the purpose. So to what you reflect and clarify, the reflection and clarification for this first intention is truly clarifying at my life right now. Where is there purpose in my work, and where is there purpose beyond my work? And then step into that purpose very mindfully. Every time you engage in those roles, every time I step into work today, I’m going to lead with my purpose.

Ken White:

Hmm-mmm.

Dr. Kelly Crace:

Every time I go home or step into my other roles in my life, I’m going to lead with that purpose. That tends to cultivate a deeper level of joy.

Ken White:

Sure. Yeah. That’s fun. Yeah. The next stop

Dr. Kelly Crace:

The next step, the next intentionality, is where do you find enjoyment in your work, and where do you find enjoyment beyond work? And so the reflection and clarification is about enjoyment, and that’s different than joy. Enjoyment, we’re actually talking about restorative health practices. We’re talking about restorative things. Small little wants, things that bring us a certain degree of just kind of quiet satisfaction. So I don’t have to feel kind of the woo hoo moment of, you know, deep happiness. But where is enjoyment? The little moments or the things that you just find enjoyable right now about your work or and enjoyable beyond work and at sometimes in our life that might be one very specific thing.

Ken White:

Hmm-mmm.

Dr. Kelly Crace:

It might be. I just really enjoy that I work at a place that happens to be right next to my favorite coffee shop. So on my way to work every morning, I get my favorite cup of coffee

Ken White:

Yeah.

Dr. Kelly Crace:

with my favorite person that gives me that coffee. And that’s pretty much it right now.

Ken White:

Yeah.

Dr. Kelly Crace:

Right now, my enjoyable part of work is my cup of coffee in the morning. The thing about this is if we’re doing our enjoyable activities, but shooting our mind somewhere else of I’m doing this, I like this, but I should be doing this or I should be doing that. You’re actually not experiencing the restorative benefit of that want.

Ken White:

Of course.

Dr. Kelly Crace:

And so the mindful intentionality around that, Suzuki, a zen philosopher, said when you wash the dishes, wash the dishes.

Ken White:

Hmm-mmm.

Dr. Kelly Crace

And so it’s about being fully engaged in that activity. We just simply find we have so many shoulds in our life.

Ken White:

Hmm-mmm.

Dr. Kelly Crace:

We really need to intentionally bring wants into our life, small, enjoyable wants that are a part of our life. Small ones, everyday ones that take a little more time every week and ones that take a little more time every month. It allows us to accept the shoulds in our life. And if we’re mindful about these enjoyable moments, they have more bang for their buck. They really become restorative. The purpose of that second intentionality is, how do we make sure we’re bringing our restorative practices front and center?

Ken White:

I grew up with a guy whose family at the dinner table the father would say every night. What was the highlight of your day? That relates right to that.

Dr. Kelly Crace:

That’s a great question.

Ken White:

Then you’re thinking about the enjoyment. And that would lead to happiness and other positive feelings.

Dr. Kelly Crace:

It’s so funny you bring that up. One of the things that we share with parents. I meet with the first-year parents every year as they bring their adult son or daughter to school and one of the things, one of the tips and strategies we give them to help join us in this quest of helping their adult son and daughter flourish is that there’s this natural tendency that when you talk to your adult child when they come to college, is when you’re talking to them, you’re naturally going to say, how did it go? How was your class? How was your quiz? How did you do? How’s it going? Which is fully fine,

Ken White:

Hmm-mmm.

Dr. Kelly Crace:

but it’s intentional out of love. But it causes the person to start thinking evaluatedly. They start thinking like they’re reporting in. And that just eats away at kind of their sense of that expressive mindset that leads to flourishing. Instead, what we ask them is just what you shared that that man did at night, at night at dinner.

Ken White:

Yeah.

Dr. Kelly Crace:

We ask them that when they get on the phone, ask them to share a highlight

Ken White:

Yeah.

Dr. Kelly Crace:

Just share a highlight with me, and that encourages them to think about the meaningful moments of the day.

Ken White:

We’ll continue our discussion with Dr. Kelly Crace in just a minute. Our podcast is brought to you by the Center for Corporate Education at William & Mary’s School of Business. If you want to think and lead strategically in your division and across the organization, the Center for Corporate Education has the program for you. The Certificate in Business Management is a five-day program taught by William & Mary’s world-class faculty. Each day is devoted to one important topic, including communication, managerial accounting, operational effectiveness, business strategy, and executive leadership. The next Certificate in Business Management program takes place at William & Mary from April 20th through the 24th. To learn more, visit our website at wmleadership.com. Now back to our conversation on cultivating joy in your work with Dr. Kelly Crace.

Ken White:

The third intentionality.

Dr. Kelly Crace:

The third intentionality is being able to reflect and clarify. Where are you giving and receiving encouragement in your work, and where are you giving and receiving encouragement in your life around work, beyond work?

Ken White:

Hmm-mmm.

Dr. Kelly Crace:

We found that there’s this notion of social support that is really important in cultivating joy, and people that flourish are very intentional and mindful about creating a support network in their life. And it’s beyond the support of meaning emotional support, where people are just giving me positive feedback all the time, all the time.

Ken White:

Hmm-mmm.

Dr. Kelly Crace:

Or just giving me encouragement from the standpoint of making me emotionally feel better. There’s actually several dimensions of social support that go beyond just emotional support. There’s this deeper level of listening, but there’s also emotional challenge, and there’s also task appreciation and task challenge. There’s shared social reality of I come to you for support because you and I are kind of doing the same things. And so you know what my reality is.

Ken White:

Hmm-mmm.

Dr. Kelly Crace:

A Dean sharing with another Dean. An injured athlete sharing with another injured athlete because I only have to get halfway into my sentence. And you already know

Ken White:

Yeah.

Dr. Kelly Crace:

what my experience is.

Ken White:

That’s why the whole sales team goes out together on Friday.

Dr. Kelly Crace:

Exactly and there’s that form of support that shared social reality. And sometimes it’s just tangible assistance in material assistance where I’m giving you my time, or I’m giving you my resources.

Ken White:

Hmm-mmm.

Dr. Kelly Crace:

What we find is no one person can provide all of those dimensions of social support for us. So you have to develop that social support network to where I know when I go to Lisa. She’s always going to be honest with me. So that’s why I go with go to her, because she’s always going to challenge me and how I think. I go to Ken when I want someone on my corner because he’s just always in my corner. He’s always gonna give me this encouragement.

Ken White:

Hmm-mmm.

Dr. Kelly Crace:

But we need to know who those people are

Ken White:

Got it.

Dr. Kelly Crace:

and we need to cultivate them. We found that people that flourish are very mindful about cultivating the support around their life and, more importantly, not expecting any one person to do that. But that wasn’t it. We found there was a bi-directional piece to this. There was a level of reciprocity that people that are experience more joy in their life. They are equally focused in being mindful about giving support as they are about receiving support.

Ken White:

Hmm-mmm.

Dr. Kelly Crace:

And I think that’s the relational nature of our species feeling like we’re at some part of community and also feeling like I need to feel like I’m contributing to support as well as receiving because if all I’m doing is receiving, we can appreciate that. But there’s a certain part of our human nature that wants to feel like we’re giving back too when we’re receiving.

Ken White:

And we hear that in wellness. That’s one of the basic things, right?

Dr. Kelly Crace:

Yes.

Ken White:

When you give, you feel better.

Dr. Kelly Crace:

That’s right.

Ken White:

Yeah.

Dr. Kelly Crace:

But they’re very well we found interesting about it is they’re strategic. They’re strategic about their support instead of sitting back and kind of passively saying, do I feel supported? No. Or do I feel supported? Yes. I feel blessed, or I feel fortunate or no. Well, I’m in an unsupportive community. They do the work of cultivating the different dimensions of support they need. Here’s the interesting tip we found about giving support. We’re naturally inclined as human beings to steer support to be in the dimension that we’re strongest at. So if I’m a good problem solver

Ken White:

Hmm-mmm.

Dr. Kelly Crace:

then I’m always going to kind of steer the there’s someone’s coming to me for help and support. I’ll usually steer that in the direction of it being about problem-solving in some way so I can step into my strength.

Ken White:

Yeah.

Dr. Kelly Crace:

When actually people feel support, when support sought is matched with the support given. So what we have to do in thinking about how do we optimally give support is being very simply going forward with saying how can I be of most support to you right now and being willing to be coached to where the person can say, I just need you to listen. I just need someone to understand. Or they may say, I want your head. I want it. What do you think?

Ken White:

Hmm-mmm.

Dr. Kelly Crace:

Or they may actually say, I want you to solve this for me. I want you to fix it for me. But whatever it is, instead of assuming what they need or steering it to where I give you what I’m good at, asking and being willing to being coached is one of the most supportive things we can do.

Ken White:

Interesting. And the final intentionality.

Dr. Kelly Crace:

The final is the first three or more kind of what we do during the normal hardness of our life. But there are times when also we are going through a period of strain, kind of temporary strain due to the fact that we are experiencing a hardship in life where we’re really affected by something and can’t necessarily fix it. So there’s no problem that if we’re affected emotionally by something, and we can solve it, go solve it.

Ken White:

Sure.

Dr. Kelly Crace:

If we can fix it, go fix it. Always go there first. But there are times in our life where really what we’re called to do is cope that we can’t fix it. Grief is a great example that I’m experiencing. I’m in a place of bereavement. I’m going to feel bad for a while, and I can’t fix that.

Ken White:

Hmm-mmm.

Dr. Kelly Crace:

How do people flourish and cultivate joy in their life while heartbroken, while distressed, while going through a place of being affected? And one of the things that we found that people that flourish do very intentionally, very mindfully, is they focus more on self-care than soothing. And we have this natural vulnerability when we’re hurting is to move towards soothing. And it’s interesting. The actions can actually look the same. It’s the intentionality behind them that matters. So when we soothe when the intention is to soothe, our intention is actually to feel better. We’re saying at some level; I don’t feel good. I want to feel better when the intention is to feel better. We’re naturally going to go toward things that will change brain chemistry the quickest because I feel bad I want to feel better. Got to change brain chemistry.

Ken White:

Hmm-mmm.

Dr. Kelly Crace:

Well, the five things that change brain chemistry the quickest are our food, drugs, sex, pain, and compelling entertainment. Those are the five things

Ken White:

Hmm-mmm.

Dr. Kelly Crace:

that change our brain chemistry. And there’s nothing wrong with any of those five things like even pain. It can be the pain of exercise

Ken White:

Hmm-mmm.

Dr. Kelly Crace:

whatever it is. But the problem is when the intention is to feel better and to soothe, we don’t moderate those things well. We don’t manage those things well.

Ken White:

Yeah.

Dr. Kelly Crace:

And it becomes a slippery slope where we become excessive in those things. When the focus moves toward self-care, the intention is to be healthy. We do it for the health of it, not with the intention to feel better. Now, the consequence just may actually also be that I happen to feel better, too. But if I go in and say I’m going to go exercise because it’s healthy for me to exercise right now, I’m actually also afterwards feel better. That’s just a bonus.

Ken White:

Hmm-mmm.

Dr. Kelly Crace:

But the intention has to be for the health of it because I will moderate and manage that activity much better. So if you can combine this kind of combination of the second step of finding little enjoyable wants that are just about restorative enjoyable moments

Ken White:

Hmm-mmm.

Dr. Kelly Crace:

and really appreciating them. That I just this one tree next to my parking spot in the morning, the way it looks,

Ken White:

Right.

Dr. Kelly Crace:

you know, and taking that moment to really soak that up and enjoy that. Combining that with this commitment to self-care through hardship, that’s when it’s bumping up a little more. That’s when I’m hurting, and my natural inclination is to feel better if in this moment. Instead, I can mindfully ask myself what is a healthy way for me to take care of myself right now. It not only helps move you through this coping phase in a healthy way, it starts to cultivate this very quiet level of joy amidst hardship.

Ken White:

All of the steps, as you said, intentionality, it’s effort. And especially

Dr. Kelly Crace:

Yes.

Ken White:

if you’re unhappy in your work, you don’t want to put forth the effort.

Dr. Kelly Crace:

That’s right.

Ken White:

You want a magic bullet, right? You want something just to say fix it.

Dr. Kelly Crace:

You do.

Ken White:

But that’s not the answer. I mean, the answer is, is to walk through the steps.

Dr. Kelly Crace:

And that’s why support can be helpful because you don’t just do these four things. You sometimes have to fight to do them. And what you’re fighting to do is you’re fighting through the anger, you’re fighting through the frustration of this feels so unfair that it has to be such hard work. And could the world just cut me a break for a minute or two? You know, especially for people that have genuinely experienced cumulative ripple effects of hardship to where they haven’t gotten up from that wave before, they get hit with another wave, and they just feel like they’re just overwhelmed by the cumulative effect. It’s just human nature to decry that and to lament that. And that needs to be a part of our reaction. It’s okay for us to as human beings, to react to our world, to emotionally

Ken White:

Sure.

Dr. Kelly Crace:

react and feel our world. That’s okay. We just don’t want to lay in there. So people that flourish feel their world very fully. They’ll react to their world. You know, they’ll say, what the hell on those days when something is happening that’s absurd

Ken White:

Hmm-mmm.

Dr. Kelly Crace:

and ridiculous. They’ll react to that absurdity as a human being. They just don’t lay in there. They honor that reaction. And then they move into the intentionality of these steps. And sometimes, we need support to help us with that reaction and with our readiness that right now, I’m not ready to be intentional, because it’s kind of important for me to be angry for a while. I just I want to be angry. And that’s human nature. And sometimes we need support and help to move us through that because all you’re doing there is readying yourself to start doing this work. People often think that insight leads to action, but actually, there’s this middle stage of readiness that I may understand the concepts. I may understand these four things. That doesn’t mean I’m just going to linearly just move right into action. We then have to ready ourselves both kind of holistically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually for the work. And there have been times, you know, how it is at times when we’ve known what we need to do and yet we’re not doing it yet.

Ken White:

Right.

Dr. Kelly Crace:

It’s just we can often cause that to be a shameful thing. We blame ourselves or what’s wrong with me for not doing that. We’re just readying ourselves for it. And that’s not linear. It takes a little house sometimes. That’s why it’s important sometimes to have support to help us with that.

Ken White:

That’s our conversation with Dr. Kelly Crace. And that’s our podcast for this week. Leadership & Business is brought to you by the Center for Corporate Education at the William & Mary School of Business. The Center for Corporate Education offers programs that help you reach and exceed your career goals, including the upcoming Certificate in Business Management program running from April 20th through April 24th. The program is taught by the William & Mary MBA faculty ranked number one in the nation by Bloomberg BusinessWeek. To learn more, visit our website at wmleadership.com. Finally, we’d love to hear from you regarding the podcast. We invite you to share your ideas, questions, and thoughts with us by emailing us at podcast@wm.edu. Thanks to our guest this week, Dr. Kelly Crace, and thanks to you for joining us. I’m Ken White, wishing you a safe, happy, and productive week.

More Podcast Episodes