Master Change: Detach, Punch It, & Shrink The Bubble With Anne Bonney

Penny ZenkerTake Back Time Podcast

Take Back Time | Anne Bonney | Master Change


Feeling overloaded by constant change? Buckle up and take back time with host Penny Zenker and guest Anne Bonney, CSP, an author, speaker, and creator of Dancing in the Discomfort Zone Podcast. Anne shares her superpower – building resilience – to help you master change and uncertainty. Learn how to detach from those pesky unrealistic expectations that fuel frustration. Discover the secret to “mental toughness,” the resilience-confidence combo that equips you to conquer change. Tune in to learn more from Anne’s insightful perspectives on embracing discomfort, conquering challenging conversations, and leading with emotional intelligence. Don’t miss this engaging conversation that could transform your approach to life’s inevitable changes!

Listen to the podcast here

Master Change: Detach, Punch It, & Shrink The Bubble With Anne Bonney

Welcome to the show. On this show, we’re trying to look for and always find unique perspectives and different people who are going to bring you more emotional intelligence and more business intelligence so that you can work smarter. That’s what we’re all about here on the show. I’m excited to have Anne Bonney with me. She is going to light your fire and give you some perspective.

Let me tell you a little bit about Anne. She’s an author, speaker, and business leader. She grew up talking too much, which is what she got on all of her report cards, and she decided to make a career of it. She collects passport stamps on her way to share her extensive knowledge and experience in thriving through change with audiences who are often overwhelmed, professional adults.

She is an engaging emcee. She is engaging as it is, so imagine her as an emcee. She would be amazing. She’s a two-time author, the host and creator of Dancing With the Discomfort Zone podcast, and a certified virtual and in-person presenter. After twenty years of highly successful corporate and nonprofit leadership positions, she uses her experience in education and experience and expertise to ignite your courage, build resilience, conquer challenging conversations, and also lead with emotional intelligence. Without further ado, let’s hear from Anne Bonney.

It’s great to be here. Thanks for having me.

Today’s Changes

It’s my pleasure. We’re excited to get into the juice here. You talk about the courage to change. We are in constant change. Is it really that we have more change now than we had in the past? What’s going on?

There are a lot of factors going on, but because of the speed of technology and the speed of information exchange, things are changing faster. We are more likely to know about all of the changes, so it feels more overwhelming. There’s also this incredible societal pressure to keep up, to hustle, and to always do more, which makes it feel a lot overwhelming too.

Anne’s Books On Change

Take Back Time | Anne Bonney | Master Change

Get Over It: 47 Tips for Embracing the Discomfort of Change

That’s part of it. Everywhere we turn, we’re being bombarded by more information. I got an email that was a page and a half. My eyes rolled up in the back and I was like, “Ugh.” We can’t handle it. You wrote two books. Tell me what those were about and maybe we can pick a few things out of it. I’ve got some things written down here as well, but I want to hear from your perspective the quick summary of the two books.

The first one’s called Get Over It. It’s tips on dealing with change. It’s a small little tip book. You read a tip or two, marinate on that for a couple of days, and come back to it. It’s that kind of thing. I’ve gotten some flack about the title. People are like, “You’re telling me to get over it.” I’m like, “Wouldn’t you like to get over it?” This is a book that can help. Wouldn’t we all like to make all of this easier? Let’s get over this together.

Before you go on, I was thinking the same thing. You have to be careful what you say to them because not only is there a lot of change, but a lot of people are offended by that, for instance, to get over it. You mean it in a loving way.

It’s like, “Wouldn’t it feel good to get over it? Here’s some help on how to do that. Let’s do this together. You’re good.”

Wouldn't it feel good to get over it? Share on X

I love that. Tell me about your second book.

The second one’s called Get Them Over It! It’s for managers. It’s a similar format. It has quick little tips that you can go in. There’s silly stuff, but it’s very useful information that can help managers lead people through change.

That’s great. That’s a perfect format with everybody busy and having so little time to be able to pick it up, look at a tip, say, “That’s what I’m going to focus on today or for this week,” and then put it into practice.

We don’t have a whole lot of extra time. If I can get a small nugget that I can work on, that’s great. It’s microlearning. A big trend that’s happening in professional development is microlearning. It’s like, “How can I make it fit into the 8,000 other things I have to do today?”

Also, the Law of Forgetting. You can spend a whole day at a conference, but by the next day, you’ve already forgotten half of it. By the end of the week, you’re retaining maybe 5%. It’s better to take it in those small nuggets.

Also, use it.

The Change Expert

What makes you a change expert?

When I came home from second grade a long time ago, my parents sat me and my older brother down and said, “We’re moving to Saudi Arabia.” I was like, “I don’t know what that is, but okay. I can make friends. That’s cool.” We lived in Saudi Arabia for two years. We lived in Egypt for a year. We lived in Greece for four years. I then headed off to boarding school.

I’ve since had about six distinct careers, and God only knows how many hairdos I’ve had. I have dealt with a lot of changes. I’ve experienced a lot of change. I’ve stepped into a lot of change. From an experiential standpoint, it’s my default setting. In fact, sometimes, I have to be careful not to change things because I want to change them but to continue to be strategic about it. I’ve also studied a lot of change and figured out why it is so hard for us. It is normalizing the discomfort and resistance that comes with it so that we can move through it more effectively.

From your own experience, and you’ve done a lot of research, when we go through more change, does that make us more resilient in itself and more able to deal with it, or does it depend on how we go through that change?

It depends, but in general, it will make you more resilient and better at it. There’s research out of the University of Michigan that says that the more we embrace discomfort in general, which usually involves something being different than it was before even if that’s our expectation of what we thought it was going to be, the more we do it and the more we go through it, the better we get at dealing with it. We strengthen the muscles of dealing with discomfort and being resilient through it. The key comes down to, in my mind, believing that we can deal with it.

I want to talk more about that, but I want to pull out something that you said. It may be tied into believing that we can deal with it. You said even if it was the change of the expectation of what we thought. I’m a firm believer that the main source of stress and frustration is simply that we have a different expectation of what we thought was going to happen. What we’re playing through in our head is creating fear that it’s around this expectation. Is that what you mean when you say that we believe we can deal with it?

No, those aren’t related, but both are very important points. The belief that we can deal with it is different than the attachment to the outcome, but they’re related because the attachment to the outcome or that expectation starts to fade as we get better at dealing with change. We know if we get attached to an outcome, usually, we’re going to be disappointed. It might not be bad, but a lot of times, it’s not what we expect. That’s the first step in getting more confidence in dealing with discomfort. It is figuring out, “How do I let go of my expectations and my marriage to what I expect to happen?”

How To Let Go

How do we do that? Let’s start there. We need a couple of tips. How do we let go? We are notoriously terrible for letting go. We hoard things. We hold onto blaming other people for mistakes or we beat ourselves up. We can’t let go very easily, so tips would be fantastic.

It’s, first of all, recognizing when you are disappointed by something or when you’re uncomfortable with it. This is the second P in the Get Over It book. We’re helping you get over it. The second P is Problem. You’re like, “What is my problem?” Having a moment to stop and say, “Why is this challenging to me?” Oftentimes, you’ll realize, “I expected my boss to be here until I retire, but he said he is moving on and starting his own business. Now, my whole future is looking different.”

First of all, it is identifying, “What’s my challenge here? What expectation did I have? Was that realistic?” As we start to recognize where we are assigning an outcome that we’re getting attached to, we can start saying, “I have this expectation about this meeting, this retreat, my involvement in this nonprofit, or whatever it is, and I don’t know if that’s going to happen.” Start putting that tentative attachment.

It is also asking yourself, “How else could this happen? How else could this turn out? I could really enjoy it. I could not enjoy it. I could kind of enjoy it. I might not make the connections business-wise, but I could still make some friends.” It is starting to find some other outcomes that would still be a success or a possibility.

The other thing is completely separate from things that are going on. Go into some things where you have no idea what’s going to happen, like going to a networking event or going to a show. I went to a show. I bought tickets because I was like, “This sounds fascinating, but I have no idea what to expect.” The cool thing was I went in completely dark. Everything that happened was delightful because I had no plan for what was going to happen in front of me

It’s so interesting. I love, a lot of times, last-minute things that happen, like a last-minute gathering with a friend or something. It’s like, “This was so great.” That’s what it is. It’s that there was no expectation that it was going to happen, and then no expectation going into it because it was a surprise. There’s something interesting.

One of the things I always say is that the key to happiness is lowered expectations. If it goes well, you’re like, “It went really well.” If it doesn’t go well, you’re like, “I expected that.” Not that we should be negative, but that can make life better.

I agree with you as long as it’s not having low expectations. It’s agreeing that there’s no point in thinking about or relating to scenarios because you don’t know.

Expect traffic. Expect it to be busy at the grocery store. Expect your flight to get delayed. When it doesn’t, it’s like, “Hallelujah.”

Be present for whatever is. Those things are outside of our control. That’s how I deal with it. I’m like, “I’m only going to worry about or think about the things that are within my control.” That’s my question. It’s like, “Can I control this?” It calms me right down because there’s nothing I can do. A plane’s delayed and we’re staying overnight. What’s the point of getting annoyed at it? Nothing.

Get a room and it’s like, “Where are we going to dinner?”

It’s like, “Are you cozy up on those few chairs that you got there or on the floor?”


The believing part that you said is important.

Believe that you can handle it. That’s what I call mental toughness. It’s resilience plus confidence. We’re all resilient. Humans are resilient. We will bounce back. Having mental toughness means that it won’t suck quite as much as we’re working through it. It’s that, “I don’t like this. This is hard. I’ve done hard things before. I’ve got this. It’s not going to be fun. I can do it.” That’s an important piece of working through change as well.

I saw a quote. I don’t remember it entirely. It’s, “I’ve gotten through 100% of the changes.”

It’s, “I’ve survived 100% of my worst days.”

That’s what it was. It’s, “I’ve survived 100% of my worst days.” If we remember that and remember that this probably isn’t one of the worst days, that helps too.

I like to keep a list. We don’t live in a self-congratulatory society where we sit there going, “I’m such a good author. I’m so good at making soup. I am a really good parallel parker.” We’re not going to walk around telling everybody what we’re good at. I love keeping a list for myself of the things I’ve accomplished, the things that I’ve done, the things that I am good at, or maybe the things people have told me I’m good at. That’s because when I’m in that low moment where I’m like, “This is terrible. This is awful. I have no idea how I’m going to deal with this. I do not feel confident at all,” I can pull that out and say, “I am good at some things.”

I’m remembering what my strengths are. I’m like, “Maybe a couple of things will come in handy here.” Maybe what’s going to come in handy is my resources. I can give Penny a call and say, “What would you do in this situation?” Having not only that sort of social connection but also that list of your own strengths can really help you in those moments.

I got this a while ago. I called it my atta girl file. If somebody sends me a nice testimonial or something, I’ll pop it into my atta girl file for when I need to go through and have a look.

Maybe if you need a little personal pep talk.

Dealing With Change

Exactly, it helps. What have I not asked you so far that you think is really important to this discussion?

When we’re dealing with change, when we’re dealing with challenges, oftentimes, as we think about focus and productivity, paralysis becomes the word of the day. We’re so anxious about what’s happening. We have no idea what to do. We want to solve this and get out of it as quickly as possible. By slowing down and not jumping to certainty, we’re able to then take a step.

As we think about focus and productivity, paralysis becomes the word of the day Share on X

The cool thing that I like to talk about is what I call Punch it, Margaret, or what I call taking action. We’ve gotten kicked out of our old comfort zone. We can’t go back there, but we don’t want to go dance in the discomfort zone, which is the dark place where I try to figure things out. We’re standing on the porch not doing anything, and anxiety is whipping itself into a frenzy

When we Punch it, Margaret, get off the porch and look down, we can see one step. I can’t see the whole path. I don’t know how I’m going to figure this out, but I can look down and say, “I could call Penny and ask her what she thinks.” I take that step because action scribbles anxiety. When I say Punch it, Margaret, it’s that activation energy that we need to get moving because we’re freaking out on the porch of the old comfort zone, wishing we could get back in and thinking about all the terrible things that could happen. It’s not very conducive to a confident forward moment. We got that little Punch it, Margaret, that little fun silliness, to get us moving.

It doesn’t have to be a big step. It can be asking a question, researching something online, or jotting down some ideas. When we start taking action, we start feeling like, “I could do this.” We start to see somewhat of a path and start to feel like, “There is something I can do here. I’m not a complete victim of the situation. Let me start moving this thing forward a little bit.”

It opens up a perspective. We get some momentum. Momentum creates a little progress, which creates the next step. It makes us more resourceful when we’re in action.

That’s why I call it dancing in the discomfort zone because it’s rarely a straight line. It’s usually all over the place, and that’s okay.

With dancing, you’re bopping and weaving. You’re going back and going forward. Your hands are up and down. It makes sense.

It’s a lot more fun.

Shrink The Bubble

When you wrote what you would call this show, you said, “Shrink the bubble.” I have to ask you. What is shrinking the bubble? Is that the bubble in my text that comes out of my mouth? Which bubble? That’s the first thing that came to my mind. It’s the self-talk bubble.

I thought of the out loud bubble. Say less, talk less. It could be that, but no. When I think about shrinking the bubble, this is a thought that came about for me during the pandemic when there were all kinds of things going out in the world. I wasn’t allowed to leave my house. I didn’t know what was going on. You have massive challenges that good people want to solve.

I started worrying about all the things I had no control over. I said, “Shrink the bubble. You can’t fix that stuff, at least not right now. There’s nothing you can do about those things right now. Shrink the bubble and say, “What can I do? How can I impact my neighborhood?” This is from a productivity standpoint. I do this all the time. Rather than thinking about the whole project, I’m like, “Shrink the bubble. What can I do today? Going back to what we were talking about working your way through change and discomfort, it is like, “What’s that first little step I could take to start moving?” Shrink the bubble. We don’t have to solve the whole thing in one step.

Let’s simplify it, focus on what we can do, and get into action.

That’s exactly it. The more action we take, the more progress we’ll make.

How do you define productivity, and why?


Productivity, for me, is a good balance of helpful downtime. It’s knowing your own energy and how it’s going to flow on certain days based on everything else you have going on. It’s being able to get the most done that makes the most sense and doesn’t kill you. Productivity so often is this hustle and getting the maxim done in the minimum amount of time.

That makes me completely want to do nothing, crawl under the couch, and get dust bunnies all over me because I’m a terrible housekeeper. I’m not productive with housekeeping. It’s finding the balance and saying, “Today is Friday. I’ve had a long week, I’ve been super productive and very busy. I’m going to focus on these five things on my list, get them done, and then the week is over. The rest of the weekend is yours.” That’s how I like to nail my productivity. It is to find the balance.

Tell people where they can find you or where they can find more information about your books and your podcast. is my website. will get you there too. Get Over It is the book. You can find it in all the places where books are sold. Get Them Over It is the other one for managers. Dancing in the Discomfort Zone is the podcast. Penny is going to be a guest coming up soon. We’re looking forward to having her.

Take Back Time | Anne Bonney | Master Change

Get Them Over It

Thank you so much for being here. I really appreciate it. I love your energy. I’m ready to get over it.

Are you ready to Punch it, Margaret?

I’m ready to Punch it, Margaret. I like that as a mantra because it does feel energizing. Thank you again for being here.

You’re welcome. It’s my pleasure. Thanks for having me.

Thank you all for being here. You can Punch it, Margaret. You can use that mantra. I love the shrink-the-bubble, so we’ll end with that. Shrink your bubble, focus on what you can control and what action you can take that’s going to make a difference, and take it one step at a time. This is the show. We’ll see you guys in the next episode.


Important Links


About Anne Bonney

Take Back Time | Anne Bonney | Master ChangeAnne Bonney, CSP® grew up with “talks too much” on all of her report cards, so she made it a career! Now collects passport stamps on her way to share her extensive knowledge and experience in change management with audiences of often overwhelmed professional adults. She is a two-time author, host and creator of Dancing in the Discomfort Zone Podcast and a certified virtual and in-person presenter. After 20 years of successful corporate and non-profit leadership Anne now uses her experience, education, and expertise to ignite YOUR courage to build resilience in change, conquer challenging conversations and thrive personally and professionally with emotional intelligence.


Love the show? Subscribe, rate, review, and share!