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Simplify Workplace Feels: Liz Fosslien Says Work With Your Emotions

In this episode of Simplify, Liz Fosslien shares a wealth of knowledge and research about how we can best understand our emotions and apply them at work.
by Ines Bläsius | Apr 23 2020

Why do we lose motivation in our jobs? How can we create a space of belonging and inclusion? What are the best ways to give and receive feedback?

Liz Fosslien answers all of these questions, and more, in this thoughtful and pertinent interview. As she reveals, emotions in the workplace are not only acceptable—they can actually be incredibly useful.

“Behind most emotions, there’s a need. […] There’s two pieces of advice that come out of that. First is just giving yourself permission to feel. And then the second part of that is to take the time to figure out […] what is driving those feelings?”
– Liz Fosslien

Liz Fosslien helps us to understand why we might feel unmotivated or emotional at work, and how we can best deal with these emotions. This interview is truly eye-opening in establishing how we can connect who we are with what we do and in turn, create a positive working environment for ourselves and those that we work with.

Who’s Liz Fosslien?

Liz Fosslien is the co-author and illustrator of No Hard Feelings: The Secret Power of Embracing Emotion at Work. She is responsible for content at Humu, a machine learning company founded by Laszlo Bock that uses behavioral science to make work better. Prior to joining Humu, Liz designed and led workshops for executives at Google, Facebook, and Nike on how to create inclusive cultures. Her writing and data visualization projects have appeared in CNN, The Economist, The Financial Times, and NPR.

Liz Fosslien’s recommended reads

Extra credit reading

If you would like to dive deeper into some of the topics Liz Fosslien covers in this Simplify episode, check out this book list composed by Ben and Caitlin!

1. Give and Take by Adam Grant

In Give and Take, Adam Grant presents the idea that within professional life, people tend to operate as either takers, matchers, or givers. As he explains, it turns out that giving rather than competing is typically what’s behind success and fulfillment. Grant’s combination of incredible stories and thorough research seems to make the argument that organizations where giving, sharing, and being generous is a key part of everyday work, also often have higher productivity, efficiency and customer satisfaction with lower costs and turnover rates.

2. Leisure: The Basis of Culture by Josef Pieper

In his beautifully written book, Josef Pieper, a German philosopher, posits that our approach to work has killed leisure—which he considers to be the foundation of any culture. He argues that unless we regain an appreciation of silence, insight, contemplation, and taking the time for ourselves without the pressures of productivity, we may destroy our culture and ourselves. For Pieper, leisure is the connection to our very own humanity, rather than a luxury—as it is often treated in our contemporary fast-paced world.

3. Difficult Conversations by Bruce Patton, Douglas Stone, and Sheila Heen

This bestselling classic emphasizes the importance of having the tough conversations that we often avoid and provides us with the tools to do so. Through relatable examples, the authors show us the ways in which our intentions often do not match the impact we have on other people, and how we can approach conversations to deal with the results of that. This book provides us with the ability to listen for meaning, stay balanced in emotional conversations and move towards productive problem solving.

What’s Simplify?

Simplify is a podcast for anybody who’s taken a close look at their habits, their happiness, their relationships, or their health and thought “There’s got to be a better way to do this.” We talk to bestselling writers, productivity wizards, sex geniuses, and happiness experts to find it for you.

Simplify is made with love by Blinkist. Click here to try Blinkist free for 14 days with the voucher code: feelings

Talk to us!

We want to hear from you! Drop a line to us at [email protected] about whatever tickles your fancy.

If you want to say hi to Ben and Caitlin in the meantime, you can find them on Twitter: @bsto, @CaitlinSchiller.

Your hosts are Caitlin Schiller and Ben Schuman-Stoler.

Research and production assistance by Ines Bläsius. Sound and editing by Christoph Meyer.

Liz Fosslien’s website:

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