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Two for You — take two minutes to live and lead with intention

Episode 2.10

How much awe do you experience in your day? Don’t overlook the power of awe for yourself and your leadership. How can you better appreciate the grand goodness around you?


Explore awe in more detail through the podcasts and articles listed below.

Learn more from these videos:

Dive deeper with these articles:


Note: Two for You written transcripts are generated using a combination of speech recognition software and human transcribers, and may contain errors. Please check the corresponding audio before referencing content in print.

[Denise] Hello and welcome to Two for You. We often use the words awesome and awestruck, but are we really feeling awe? What is awe, and why is it important?

[Lori] Barbara Fredrickson has found that awe is one of the most positive emotions that we feel and other researchers such as Dacher Keltner from University of California Berkeley and Jonathan Haidt from University Virginia have taken a look and they found that awe is the sense of vastness, this perception of vastness and this inability to assimilate it with anything else that we know.

[Denise] It's also a communal emotion. You know, they talked about how when you experience awe with other people you feel more connected. You start to - I don't know - share the experience, share the emotion.

[Lori] And it promotes pro-social behavior, so it increases our generosity, our kindness and our compassion. So a lot of times we think about awe and we think about experiencing awe in nature, but Denise, when is a time you've experienced awe in your community.

[Denise] Well, last night. We're fortunate enough to have a free musical festival in our community and last night was an opera and there was a time in the opera when the soprano hit these amazing notes where you could actually hear people gasp in the audience. There's like four hundred fifty, five hundred people, gasping at the unexpected talent of this actress. It kind of gives you a little bit of shivers and I think it really qualified as true awe for me at that moment.

[Lori] Yeah, so there you go. So as a community leader, when is the last time you took a pause and appreciated the goodness at a grand scale or the nature around you. Maybe it's going back to place that you already know and you appreciate that, or going to someplace new. So taking up our challenge, in the next month take a moment, maybe take someone else with you, but pause and think about, when do you experience awe and how can you increase awe in your community as you live and lead with intention. 

Authors: Lori Rothstein and Denise Stromme, former Extension educators

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