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Curtis Watkins and Dan Newby are the Co-Authors of the book Field Guide to emotions a practical orientation to 150 essential emotions. Curtis is a Master Certified coach; a Master Somatic Coach and his focus is primarily dedicated to supporting individuals and teams be more connected to a purpose and meaningful work. Dan is an educator, facilitator and Coach and also author of several books on emotions. He is a global champion of emotional literacy working with teams and individuals to leverage a gift available to all as part our human condition

Show Notes

Podcast episode summary:This episode looks at a domain of learning that is often overlooked, Emotional literacy. Over the course of the conversation Dan & Curtis explained the auspices for their book, the usefulness of emotions as a domain for better decision making and congruence for individuals and teams. Dan explained that emotions are energy and they speak up for met or unmet needs in a person. Using personal stories and their own experience in compiling this book Dan & Curtis helped demystify the nature of emotions, the connectedness to our bodies and our mind and shared practical tools and exercises to decode emotions for more aligned choices.

  • Dan & Curtis joined forces to share their respective expertise in Somatic intelligence & emotional literacy to write the book called a field guide to emotions, a practical orientation to 150 essential emotions.
  • The choice to write the book as a field guide seemed appropriate as a tool for discovery because emotions are interpretations and can register differently for different people.
  • Emotions are not discretionary you do not have a choice about having emotions, but you can design to visit more or different emotions more frequently. You can learn and design your life
  • The invitation is to notice, observe how emotions arise in our bodies, watch for the intelligence they share & the possibilities they present and ultimately build a vocabulary of emotional understanding
  • Emotions are invisible to us. The only way we know to know them is by the sensations they create in our bodies or through the thinking we have around them.
  • One reason why you might begin to appreciate their usefulness is to think about the persistent woeful Gallup results produced year on year about engagement at work. 87% of employees are disengaged and 13% of that total are actively disengaged or sabotaging work efforts. The lesson here is that if we are not in touch with our emotional states, we can walk around in a disengaged manner not fully appreciating why.
  • A leaders’ role is to create the context for enthusiasm to be present
  • You can practice and design emotional states to have a better life.
  • We need to bust the myths that emotions are fixed and not learnable or malleable
  • A huge proportion for our emotional state is learnt.
  • Advice to be curious about emotions and to appreciate they are indicators of needs being met or unmet
  • Two emotions that the authors visited were Faith and Prudence. In fact, the authors had fun deciding what classified and met the threshold to be a genuine emotion.
  • There are no universal definitions of emotions, the authors had to agree what fit an emotion and they determined emotions had to have 3 characteristics, A story, an impulse and a purpose this then made the field guide a very practical manual for readers to decipher their own emotions
  • Emotions also have a time orientation so we can group emotions in 3 ways, emotions that fit the past, present and future
  • In terms of their use with teams Dan and Curtis shared exercises and conversation that they both have with teams where the ultimate goal is to normalise emotions and be in choice about what decisions to take and what direction in which to move.
  • Joy is an emotion that is often absent on teams -there is no regular celebration of moments, achievements or milestones. There tends to be a wait for the seismic moment and the predominant mood or emotion is about being serious.
  • Curtis would love to see more teams be connected to a cause or purpose greater than the individuals concerned. Enthusiasm, or connection to the divine, which is deeply connected to cause or mission for a team.
  • Emotional literacy is not common place although It might make eminent sense. The first trick is to notice, name the sensation or suspected emotion and then build understanding and finally navigate -all of this is a commitment to a process that over time yields emotional literacy.

Quotable Quotes: “Emotions are non-discretionary” “Everything about emotions is an interpretation” “Emotions are invisible to us “ “Huge proportion of our emotional identity is learnt” Emotions are that which put you in motion or want you to move”


Resources: the following include the resources we alluded to over the course of our conversation


  1. Newby, Dan., Watkins, Curtis. (2019) The field guide to emotions a practical orientation to 150 essential emotions. Available on Amazon & Kindle
  2. Newby, Dan. Nunez, Lucy. (2017) The Unopened Gift: A primer in Emotional Literacy
  3. Newby, Dan. Nunez, Lucy. (2018) 21 days to Emotional Literacy: A companion workbook to the Unopened Gift.
  4. Marshall Rosenberg founded the centre for non-violent communication
  5. Rosenberg, Marshall B. (2003) Nonviolent Communication: A language of life
  6. Gallup Employee Engagement Survey,
Tara Nolan

Author Tara Nolan

I wasn’t always a coach, in fact I never conceived I would be a coach, the word simply wasn’t in my lexicon. I love, however, where I have landed. The truth is I really did not know what I wanted to be when I first started. I had a vague inkling I wanted to be successful but that was the sum of my plan

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