Ep 107: Why You Need Curiosity, Empathy, + Openness in Hybrid Work


  • Hybrid work provides people with flexibility to choose when, how, and where they work which feels freeing for some... but for most of you, this change and the uncertainty that comes with it is not easy. 
  • It makes sense this new world can be challenging as you're being asked to change the way you operate.
  • Those who have a need for structure, who struggle collaborating with others, and who are resistant to change are struggling in the hybrid workplace. Most of you need to. learn new ways to manage yourself. 
  • The cost of not adapting to this new world order is you end up quietly quitting and feeling unfulfilled, and feeling resentment. 
  • You. will learn three new ways of thinking and being in order to thrive, feel inspired, and yes actually enjoy being at work. 

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Most of us are learning new ways to manage ourselves in hybrid work.
The good news is that you can navigate the hybrid workplace easily when you  understand your beliefs and how you show up in this new world. 

There are three skills and beliefs that are helping my clients thrive and feel ease at work. 

The first is curiosity which is your willingness to learn and grow. Hybrid work calls for learning on your own. Yup, you’re now more like a self-motivated student: asking why, and being proactive about investing in your own expertise and figuring things out. 

The second is empathy. Social interactions are complex, and full of ambiguities. This is even more true when you can’t be face to face, when you’re meeting people online and offline at once, and when you have to try and figure out what others want.

How can you know if your boss is happy with your work?

How do you know what your client really wants?

How can you tell if your teammate is upset about something you said?

The third is being open to experience. The rules and norms at work have changed and you’ll thrive if you can force yourself to learn, and do things that challenge who you think you are.

Do things that challenge your beliefs about yourself. If you think of yourself as an introvert or shy, chat with people that aren’t on your team. Volunteer yourself for new deliverables you’ve never done before.

The goal is to ensure that you’re exposing yourself to new and different. This is how you change who you are. This is how you can feel ease in hybrid work.

Learn more about my corporate coaching course The Rockstar Program. 

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You got this, rockstar.

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Download Full Episode Transcript

Welcome to Rock Your Brain. Rock Your Life. The only podcast hosted by a high achieving tech entrepreneur and certified coach that teaches you how to use proven cognitive tools to rewire your brain and break through the second pandemic. Burnout. If you lead a company or badass team and need a proven evidence based cognitive course to retain and develop them.

This podcast is for you. Sarah helps humans break through burnout, have insane work life balance, and feel magical at work and in their lives again. Here's your host certified coach and tech industry entrepreneur, Sarah Moody.

Hey, Rockstars. Okay. I'm super excited to talk to you this week, about how the skills of curiosity, empathy, and being open to grow can completely change your experience working in hybrid work or working in a remote first workplace. So a lot of my clients are talking about the challenges of my teams don't feel connected to each other.

My teams don't feel engaged. Like work feels like it's a slog, right. It just feels difficult. It feels long. It feels arduous. And so, this hybrid work space of ours that we're living in or remote first is not changing. It's the new circumstance. Right? And so I know that there are things that you and your teams love about it.

And I clearly hear lots of issues as to why it's challenging. And so what I wanna offer to you this week is; how these three skills of curiosity, empathy, and being open to growing can completely change your experience at work, whether you're in the office or in your fabulous home, commuting 10 feet to your office.

So the good news is, is you can learn how to navigate the hybrid workplace and keep your career on track. And step one is really understanding who you are and the way you think and how you behave and your overall mindset. And once you start kind of understanding the way you think and how you show up, it'll just be a lot easier for you to navigate this new world.

So I've been chatting with a bunch of my clients and team members and, and I've, and that's actually how I came up with these three skills that I'm gonna encourage you and your teams to start practicing is this is what they're finding is working in hybrid work. So let's talk about curiosity.

Okay. Curiosity is one of my. Favorite skills. It's like, you've heard me talk about this before, you know, are we have some limiting beliefs? You know, I offered to you in the podcast last week like I get really confused about these limiting beliefs. And then I get curious. So curiosity is about just your kind of being open to learn and to continue to grow potential.

And these hybrid work environments call for you to learn on your own. Right? You're no longer in the office. Remember being in the office, like sitting next to my colleagues, collaborating you're now on your own. So actually, The analogy here is, guess what? It's kinda like we're back in school. Right? And we come home from school, we come home from college.

We come home from high school and we've gotta be a self-motivated student. Yes, of course your parents can come in and like, you know, knock on the door and say, Hey, you know, are you done with your homework yet? But, hopefully, most of us, aren't living with our parents right now. So you need to behave like this self-motivated student and really start noticing like where work feels easy, where work feels fun.

What's kind of lighting you up where you're noticing that you wanna go learn some new skills and knowledge. And the skill here as a self-motivated student, right, self-motivated adult is you really need to be able to resist distractions and be focused and just immerse yourself in the work. And that's regardless of where you are, whether you're in your office, at your house, you're in a cafe you're wherever on the sidewalk, working like wherever.

And so a lot of what my students are doing then is really carving out time when they're working and being very focused for one hour, two hours, three hours, six hours. Definitely, if it's a six hour, Workday definitely takes some breaks. Okay. So really being focused and, and allowing yourself lots of breaks.

And, and just being curious about what makes you feel great at work, what's lighting you up. And when you're curious, you are then gonna kind of be a little bit more of a risk taker, be a little bit more entrepreneurial problem, solve a little easier. Um, and also too, that skill of curiosity is actually gonna help you connect with people who are different than you are.

So hybrid work is perfect for curious employees, but even if you don't think of yourself as curious, like three years ago before I started using thought work. I would not say that I was curious. It's a skill. So I literally, when I started doing thought work, I had a little sticky on my desk that said "practice curiosity."

I'm a curious human. I love being curious. I told my brain what to believe. So the skill of curiosity will help you have more fun at work. Have more ease, engage with, uh, Other team members easily, like just a little bit more, more easily. And because you're always like, huh, you're always coming with a like, huh, that's so interesting. Right. I wanna learn. I wanna grow. So that's skill number one.

Let's talk about skill number two. This is the common theme having empathy life and the world right now is difficult. There's difficult things, but there's also beautiful things, but there's a lot of difficult things right now. And so the skill of empathy can be learned. And so, you know, think of all the interactions at work that you're having right now, most of them I know are on zoom or teams or some virtual platform.

And so there's lots of like, It's it's a little bit more difficult now, cuz you're not face to face to discern what others really want or what they're really thinking or are they really pleased with the work that you're doing, right? Like how do you really know what your clients wants? How can you really tell if your clients are upset or angry?

Right. There's a lot of questions that can come up in this hybrid work world. And so. Having a mindset of empathy will help you understand and be curious, like what are other people thinking and feeling, right. And so you won't be able to like sympathize with other humans or feel the urge to show them kindness until you first get to know their perspectives, which comes back to skill number one of like curiosity. There's definitely ways that you can interpret like how people are feeling in hybrid environments, but it's also gonna be important for you to develop your own strategies and learnings and make an effort to understand each other, your colleagues, your coworkers, like all the other humans.

So next time you're asking a colleague for help. Or need to give some feedback, spend a couple of minutes, reflecting on how your message or behavior may be perceived and interpreted. So just ask yourself like how your overwhelmed colleague could react to a last minute request for help or how your direct report may feel about an innocent slack message sent after work hours.

Or, you know, for example, I was working with one of my tech clients earlier in the week and she's relatively new to her role and, and really needs to get some quick wins. And so came into the meeting and I could tell she was really stressed and overwhelmed, right. Just by her body language and how, and just her tone of voice.

So how can I have some empathy for what she's going through and then respond accordingly so that she feels more at ease and she feels understood. And she feels like I'm helpful, for example. So definitely it's gonna be really important when you practice the skill of empathy to be very present, turn off your phone, be really present on the zoom.

Really listen to the voice, watch the body language, just notice in your body, how you notice these other humans feeling and like what's going on for them. So many of the kind of arguments and, and anxiety, or like tensions we feel at work, whether it's like, you know, In a meeting virtually, or even when you're in person in the office are because we didn't communicate something correctly or really understanding how to deliver it so that it lands appropriately with how the other person's feeling like my overwhelm client, for example.

And so the more you practice kind of having empathy and tuning in to where the other human that you're working with is in their life right now, and in their world of work, the more you're going to be able to respond to and navigate your teammates emotions. So that's empathy and it's all a skill.

Number three is really being open to growing or open to experience. So, so much of this hybrid work world has, you know, completely changed the rules and norms around work, and you're gonna be much more likely to thrive. If you can find ways to come up with new ideas. And turn those cool ideas into new innovations, new ways of working, just being really open to growing, open to evolving who you are, openness will help you defy your own expectations and question your assumptions.

So practice being open and exploring and being comfortable with kind. Unexpected and unpredictable situations really noticing that feeling of discomfort and being able to kind of ride that wave of something new and, and riding that wave of the bridge from comfort to comfort. Again, once you do embrace that new situation or experience. So openness is really about being willing to grow in terms of your habits, your beliefs, your skills, your feelings, and why that's so important is, you know, there's. So much more to navigate and try and figure out in this hybrid work world. And when you can practice the belief in yourself that you're going to grow and be curious and creative and innovative and kind of change how you think in this new work world.

You're gonna find it a lot easier to navigate hybrid work.

So a powerful, yet simple way to become more open to grow have that kind of growth mindset is to venture outside of your comfort zone. Force, yourself to learn. Discuss or experience things that challenge your core beliefs is a great way to build flexibility and familiarity in this uncertain world.

Everything is uncertain, whether you're gonna, you know, have this job, your team members, our health, everything is uncertain. The only thing that's certain is that things are uncertain, but if you can force yourself to learn and grow, it will help you navigate that feeling of uncertainty and, you know, forcing yourself to learn and grow.

Doesn't have to be a huge endeavor either. It can be like doing something a little outside of your comfort zone. Maybe something outside of your comfort zone is trying to chat with people that aren't on your team. maybe something outside of your comfort zone is volunteering yourself for new tasks, from your managers so you can grow.

Maybe something outside of your comfort zone is setting a commitment each week to do something different from the last week. For example, maybe this week you set a commitment to go to the gym three times a week. The key here around being open. Is really pushing yourself when it feels difficult to actively put yourself in places where things are new, different, and there's change.

And while change all this change, whether it's at work at home with your family can feel very disruptive and uncomfortable. It's also unavoidable. And we can't predict the future, but we can be really proactive in investing in ourselves and growing. And one of my favorite books is "The Growth Mindset" by Carol Dweck, which really talks about skill number three, about being open to growth.

And it's a great read. And so definitely read that if you've not. And also too, what I love about what I teach my clients is this six month cognitive course, that is the playbook. It is the how to grow. It is the how to be curious. It is the how to have empathy is the, how to openness to growth. And when you understand your personality, And you work on becoming more curious, more empathetic, and a little bit more open...

you will find a sense of ease and even joy in this new hybrid work world and its demands. And you're gonna find even more opportunities. Once you practice curiosity, empathy, and openness. You're gonna find even more amazing new opportunities for your career, whether it's at your current company, going to another company, deciding to be an entrepreneur, the more you can drop in and understand how your brain thinks and know that you can train your brain- to be curious, empathetic and open. The more you're gonna start building a career and a life outside of your work, that's so aligned to who you are and lighting you up every day from the inside. All right. My friends, I cannot wait to talk to you next week more soon, have a beautiful rest of your day.

 If you're loving what you're learning in the podcast, you have to come and check out the rockstar program. It's my coaching program, where we take these neuroscience based cognitive tools and we use them daily to break through burnout. So you can fall passionately in love with your life and your career again.

So join me over at SarahMoody.com/rockstarprogram. I would love to have you join me. You can also follow me at Sarah L moody on LinkedIn, Twitter, and Instagram. I can't wait to see you.



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