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Jun 7, 2022

Joan Ball is an associate professor in the Tobin College of Business at St. John’s University in New York City and the founder of WOMB Service Design Lab, an action research consultancy where she works with individuals, teams, and organizations to help people learn to thrive in uncertain times. Joan works with leaders of all experience levels and helps them to navigate and thrive through times of change and embrace the idea of pausing and inquiring. Disruptions and uncertainty happen to everyone, but learning to pivot around or push through is not always the best option. Joan is passionate about changing how we view uncharted territory and see it as a great opportunity to inquire about our true goals and wishes, and explore new routes that will set us on the path to living our own version of a fulfilled life.

So many of us get caught up in a game of comparison and think that there is only one path to success, and if we don’t follow that path, we have failed. In this episode, Joan invites you to spend more time pausing and doing the work to make sure your identity and goals are in alignment. Her work lives in the space between ambition, impact, and well-being at a time when we are forced to reimagine what it means to live meaningful and successful lives in a rapidly changing world. 

Key highlights:

  • Introduction to Joan and how she got to where she is now
  • Why do we pursue other people’s dreams?
  • Joan explains the idea of time boxed experiments and active waiting
  • Navigating no man’s land
  • We all have the capacity to persevere or panic, so how do we amplify the perseverance part?
  • What are some indicators that change is needed?
  • Practicing pause and inquiry
  • Self-identity and direction - Who will I be and where am I going?
  • Tony’s experience with a micromanager and having a hard conversation
  • What are you avoiding that you know you need to confront?
  • “What now” moments - assessing what your options are in a situation that is not ideal for us
  • Connecting your goals to the steps that it takes to get there
  • The significance of pausing and assessing our happiness with where we are currently
  • Sometimes the next step is going backward for a little while
  • Not getting caught up with your ego and comparison game, sometimes we are happier with less
  • The idea of a “true north” is dead
  • Calibrating your journey and goals with your values
  • If you are in the midst of change with no direction, what is the first step to take?

Quote from the episode:

  • “I'd rather prevent unhappiness perhaps, than always have to be happy.”

For more information about this episode, visit: