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For your knowledge advantage, we put together the most actionable insights from 13 getAbstract summaries (9 books with a total of 2405 pages, one article and 3 videos) on this topic. If you did this work yourself, you would be busy for at least 2882 minutes (about 49 hours). Learn more.

Of Viruses, Vulnerability and Superheroes

Isolation highlights the need to reach out.

The pandemic is taking an emotional toll on all of us. Some struggle with intense feelings of isolation and loneliness. Others navigate the daily challenges of living in close quarters with their family members. Many of us are plagued by feelings of guilt and despair for not being able to help out elderly parents or relatives who don’t live close-by. And all of this comes on top of daily fears about getting infected by the virus, anxieties about losing our job, and worries about mortgage payments and retirement savings.

Those of us who are lucky to still have a job, are not working on the frontlines and haven’t lost a loved-one to the virus may feel tempted to dismiss their struggles as small and unimportant in the face of all the suffering around the world.

Yet best-selling author and researcher Brené Brown, who specializes in courage, vulnerability and empathy, argues that “comparison suffering” is not what we should be doing right now. As she stated in the fourth episode of her wildly popular podcast, Unlocking Us, “Hurt is hurt, and every time we honor our own struggle and the struggles of others by responding with empathy, the healing that results affects us all.”

Related Summaries in getAbstract’s Library
Image of: Daring Greatly
Book Summary

Daring Greatly

Open your heart, mind and life to vulnerability and connection.

Brené Brown Gotham Books Read Summary

Hardships of any kind can make us feel lonely. Talking about it helps; reaching out to others does as well. In a videocast with getAbstract’s Patricia Dietrich, leadership coach Jodi Womack reminds us that we have more to offer to others than we might think:

Womack likes to talk about our hidden talents as personal superpowers: “To discover your personal superpower is to realize that you might be doing something that others don’t. A superpower is something that’s important to me and that I am good at. What the world needs right now the most is for all of us to be enlivened in what we’re really, really good at.”

Superpowers are hidden skills and talents and gifts that we have, that we don’t always think of as special because they seem so normal to us. I think of them as superpowers because not everybody has them.

Jodi Womack

Drawing on her experience as a coach, Womack encourages everyone to build a support team even before the going gets tough. Womack has clients build “Team You” – a list of people who want to see you succeed in all the different areas of your life. The key, for Womack, is to compile the list when you are in a positive state of mind: “In my experience, when I’m feeling isolated, when I’m feeling alone, it’s the worst time to try and think who’s actually an ally. So the key is to make this list when you are up, when you are mentally agile, when you are thinking well.”

Image of: Dear Wonder Woman, You Are Not Alone
Video Summary

Dear Wonder Woman, You Are Not Alone

To overcome hardships, call on your superheroes and enlist the support of others.

Jodi Womack Leadership Education and Development Experience
Read Summary

In addition, think about the people you can reach out to – especially friends and acquaintances who are not on social media. Crafting a letter in old-fashioned handwriting can be one way to connect to older people or small children. “There is no wrong way to do it other than not doing it,” Womack contends.

This is a time where we can really use our humanity to connect to one another.

Jodi Womack

For Womack, the same principles apply to the workplace. She views the current situation as an invitation for leaders and organizations to give employees a voice and support. For Womack, this is a time for organizations “to create opportunities where people can share vulnerably and honestly,” such as by putting together support teams and buddy systems.

This is a huge opportunity to humanize the work space.

Jodi Womack

Shared hardships and traumatic experiences like the current pandemic can accelerate trends and favor certain aspects of the way we relate, interact and work with each other. The past years have seen a proliferation of publications on how to humanize the workplace, ranging from coaching initiatives and mindfulness movements to emotional intelligence seminars and corporate charity projects. The frameworks are in place. Now it’s time to live them:

Related Summaries in getAbstract’s Library
Image of: Humane Capital
Book Summary

Humane Capital

Society needs more humane business practices. The future depends on it.

Vlatka Hlupic Bloomsbury Read Summary
Image of: Bring Your Human to Work
Book Summary

Bring Your Human to Work

Honoring human relationships retains employees and builds stronger bottom lines.

Erica Keswin McGraw-Hill Education Read Summary
Image of: How to Combat the Rise of Workplace Loneliness
Article Summary

How to Combat the Rise of Workplace Loneliness

Would you choose a high-paying job where you felt shunned by your co-workers – or a lower-paying job where you felt welcomed and accepted?

Emma Mamo TotalJobs Read Summary
Image of: Your Best Just Got Better
Book Summary

Your Best Just Got Better

Take your life to the next level by working smarter, thinking bigger and making more time, money and joy.

Jason W. Womack Wiley Read Summary
Image of: The Leader’s Guide to Mindfulness
Book Summary

The Leader’s Guide to Mindfulness

Most people know just a little about mindfulness, yet business leaders recognize its career benefits.

Audrey Tang FT Publishing Read Summary
Image of: Humane
Video Summary


Technology must be based on a more sophisticated understanding of human nature.

Tristan Harris Center for Humane Technology Read Summary
Image of: The Tao of Coaching
Book Summary

The Tao of Coaching

Change other people’s lives – and your own – by becoming a great coach.

Max Landsberg Profile Books Read Summary
Image of: Rising Strong
Book Summary

Rising Strong

Brené Brown explains how she learned to get back up and keep on going.

Brené Brown Random House Read Summary
Image of: Esther Perel on Relationship Skills and Workplace Dynamics at SXSW 2019
Video Summary

Esther Perel on Relationship Skills and Workplace Dynamics at SXSW 2019

At work, the quality of your relationships determines your productivity and success.

Esther Perel SXSW LLC Read Summary
Image of: No Hard Feelings
Book Summary

No Hard Feelings

How managing your emotions at work will help you become a more engaged employee.

Liz Fosslien and Mollie West Duffy Portfolio UK Read Summary
Image of: Option B
Book Summary

Option B

Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg shares a message of resilience and hope after weathering a tsunami of grief.

Sheryl Sandberg and Adam Grant Knopf Publishing Group Read Summary

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13 We have curated the most actionable insights from 13 summaries for this feature.
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9 We read and summarized 9 books with 2405 pages for this article.
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