28th November, 2023

How to Escape the Tyranny of the ‘Shoulds’

With Charlotte Housden

Photo of Charlotte Housden

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On this episode

Do you find yourself trapped by the expectations and pressures of what you think you “should” be doing? Is there a voice in your head, berating you for not living up to their standards? If so, you might be experiencing the tyranny of the shoulds.

You’re not alone in feeling overwhelmed or uncertain. But it turns out that hearing others’ stories can help you realise that your struggles are common. Also, if you rely on others for feedback it’s important to know whom to ask and when, so you don’t end up with an over-eager cheerleader or someone who’ll burst your bubble before its time.

In this episode, Charlotte Housden discusses her research on successfully navigating change and how we can escape that nagging, finger-wagging presence we all have from time to time.

That voice of doubt and fear can trap us in a cycle of unhappiness and unfulfilment. It might mean we miss out on opportunities for growth, personal development, and finding true satisfaction in our lives and careers. But by remembering that you are not your thoughts, you can start to free yourself from the tyranny of the shoulds.

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About the guests

Charlotte Housden photo

Reasons to listen

  • To gain insights from interviews with 108 people in 27 countries on successfully navigating change in life.
  • To understand the importance of hearing others’ stories, and how it can make you feel less alone.
  • To get the resources you nee to facilitate and sustain change.

Episode highlights


The importance of knowing you’re not alone


Stories and consequences of change


How to give feedback


Delaying gratification on a new project


What to do when you feel you need to change everything at once


Job crafting


The shift in the psychological contract


The tyranny of the shoulds




The three musts


You are the sky. Everything else is just the weather


You are not your thoughts


What most medical students aren’t taught about their own thoughts


What doctors need to make it to the top


The key to greater productivity


Charlotte’s top tips

Episode transcript

[00:00:00] Rachel: No matter how much we achieve or how hard we work, some of us will still hear a voice in our head telling us we should be doing more, should be going further, should be working longer hours or should be prioritizing somebody else. This is the tyranny of the shoulds, and it’s something, a lot of people experience, especially high achievers. [00:00:21] In this episode, I chatted to Charlotte Housden. ::::She’s a coaching psychologist who specializes in helping people navigate change. She’s interviewed over a hundred people for her new book and joins us this week to…

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