Clarity is powerful and is a primary ingredient to performing at your best. It is poorly understood and generally not a feature of most people’s strategies. Why? Because we are too busy…being busy. We take pride in taking, “massive action.”
Yet, if you are not clear about where you want to go and why, IF you arrive at your chosen destination at all you will likely find it was not the solution you were seeking. IF you even make it to your goal, you may find that you wasted much time, energy and money and made unnecessary mistakes – a.k.a. “learning” by trial and error – along the way.
Why do this? Why do we typically do this?
1. It’s because we don’t know what we don’t know.
2. We have not been taught the energy efficient way of creating and innovating with intention.
3. We believe it takes “hard work in order to be successful.”
4. We really don’t know what we really want.
5. We don’t know who we really are and what our authentic, heart-felt vision is.
There are other reasons; these are five significant ones. We tend toward massive action without insight because we are not used to the idea of reflection, restoration and we don’t know and trust ourselves. We don’t listen to our own inner intuitive voice.
Creating time at first sounds ridiculous – until you understand how we co-create our “reality”. Of course when speaking of linear time, there are only 24 hours to a day and everyone receives equal amounts. Yet if you keep talking about how fast, “time flies” and do not realize that you are the pilot that has great influence over how you experience time, you will unconsciously keep your foot on the accelerator without awareness of how to slow it down. Our perception, “how we see time” impacts our experience of time.
Hint: A part of the problem is that you keep focusing on and talking about how fast “time flies” – it becomes your “reality”.
Then there’s the added challenge that many people talk about having “too much to do and not enough time.” So is it that you have too much to do or is it that you literally need more than 24 hours to your day…will you ever get more than 24 hours to your day? Can you see how talking about “not enough time” is deadly to ever being able to feel the sensation and joy of completion? Where are you going to get more “time?” I could go on and on with a variety of scenarios of how we unwittingly are stressing ourselves out and sabotaging our true potential, productivity and peace of mind due to our conversations with our self and others…but I won’t.
Let’s address how to create more time with the brain in mind within the context of these two examples.0
Is it, Eye, or ‘I’? – that is the question. It is interesting that they are pronounced the same. The physical eye allows you to see the physical world. The ‘I’, of ‘who you think you are’ determines the clarity of your perception – how you see the world and your life experience. Authentic leadership engages the head and the heart. The heart is the feeling nature and can either follow the lead of your ego (‘I’ in Latin by the way) or your True, Authentic Self. The real ‘I’.
Our right brain is another metaphor of the heart. Our left-brain represents our logic, or ‘head’. Truth or deception can be felt with the heart – if you are listening, that is, if you are in touch with your feeling nature. Feelings powerfully contribute to our state of ‘Being’. They deeply color our experience – even when you try to deny them.
It will behoove your leadership, your creativity, and your performance in general to make friends with your feelings instead of seeing them antagonistically. Why? They powerfully define your perception, that is, ‘how’ you see life. Your thinking triggers your feelings and your feelings strongly impact your actions.
You can think ‘success’ but if you don’t feel ‘success’, you will have a tough time obtaining and maintaining it.
It is time to realize we are a whole being and not just our thinking and a body…remember our ‘being’ is defined by how we think and especially feel, whether we ignore this or not. If you are only in your head ‘thinking’ it is a good chance you are only ‘doing’, only going through the motions. You are not likely to feel passionate about your work or life or relationships.
You may be busy as a bee, going nowhere really fast. When you slow down and actually feel you can acquaint yourself with your Self. You can start to see life from your heart and eliminate more effectively those feelings which no longer serve you and cultivate those that make you radiate – joyful and full of life – truly productive. You can more effectively apply your emotional intelligence skills and tools. Then you can serve from Truth instead of from deception.
Self-deception will wreck your leadership…and your life. You can run from your feelings but you can’t hide. Paradoxically, you can self-management your feelings and feel good most of the time when you pay attention to them and come from self-awareness instead of denial.
It is more courageous to strike at the root of our challenges instead of fearfully hanging out only at the surface.
Emotion and feeling has been given a bum rap. Emotion and feeling powerfully impact our behavior, decision-making, health, quality of relationships and life experience. To ignore them is to attempt to ignore half of our human nature. Navigating them intelligently has a definite leadership and life advantage. I know for sure that to deny this reality is a clear sign of lack of real self-awareness. It will be a giant step forward for humanity to reconcile our fear of feeling and emotion, which is really simply rooted in perception.
“Nothing is good or bad except thinking makes it so” ~Shakespeare
Our thinking directs our choice of emotional perception – love (good) or fear (bad). How we interpret a situation creates the meaning and our response to it. Once this split second decision (left-brain) is made, a corresponding feeling (right-brain) is triggered. This feeling will wire our memory of the experience.
Hence both hemispheres are involved in autobiographical memory – it’s just that the context and meaning then gets stored in our subconscious mind and our brain’s memory banks. Much of the lack of leadership effectiveness is not due to the current predicament before us. A less than stellar behavioral pattern is typically due to the unconscious knee jerk reaction to old stored autobiographical memory. When we change our perceptual memory within our, “storytelling brain”, we can change how we see and experience life.
Our ego – who we think we are – is a combination of our conditioning, our conscious intellect and the emotional component stored in our mostly right-brain feeling experience. Because of our lack of skillful self-management and fear of our feelings, most people are very unintelligent when it comes to emotion and feelings. This need not be so.
With a bit of courage and a willingness to grow – not fix yourself by the way as you are not broken – we can all learn these new skills sets.
Emotional intelligence helps us to be smarter about our emotion. Emotion is a part of our mind-body connection. It is another expression of our intelligence. Feelings are the effect of our emotional perception. They add color to our lives. I say “perception” because how we look at a situation determines the meaning we assign. Let’s keep this simple; there are only two classes of emotion – love or fear.
If we ‘emote love’ our feeling sensation that follows for example, will be in the category of well-being and thus, ‘feel good’ or what many refer to as positive. We tend to (though we at times make poor choices) move toward things that we think will make us feel good or better. Feelings in the emotion of love category would include, joy, peace and enthusiasm. Emotion moves us. It is energy in motion…E-motion.
The opposite, fear, especially when chronic, can harm our well-being. The emotion of fear tends to move us away from the situation. If it is a threat to our life, it’s useful. If it’s due to irrational fears…like worry about things you can’t control…it can be harmful. It can hinder our leadership performance and weaken our people skills. Emotional quality is important to our decision-making ability.
In order to act more intelligent with our emotion, we will need to recognize that our mind has two aspects, intellectual mind and the emotional mind. Our mind is not only, ‘logical’ as represented by the left-brain. Our mind is also intuitive and deeply connected to our emotion and feeling states – the right-brain dominates in this realm.
The right-brain can be thought of as a metaphor for our heart – our connection to others, our spiritual and intuitive aspects and our purpose/big picture context for our lives, as examples.
The qualities of our right-brain mirrors what we commonly think of as our, ‘heart’. If we only think of our mind as hard, cold and calculating, we will act without heart – without wisdom. A heartless mind is no way to live. Our brain hemispheres contribute in different ways for important reasons – two hemispheres really are better than one. One is not better than the other; both are required for optimal performance and effectiveness.
Change is the theme of our times. We can either embrace it and proactive create the change that we want to see or allow it to random come upon us. Either way, change will continue to be a part of our lives. Neuroscience can help us as leaders to learn how to “optimally operate” our truly amazing brain.
The Art and Science of NeuroReInvention® allows us the space of integrating our whole brain and mind. Change is an art as much as it is a science. Both hemispheres are involved in the creative process. We have been repressing and leaving out our ‘art’ side – the right brain.
Trying to only be ‘logical’ and predictable is a stumbling block to innovation. It is a sure sign of mental rigidity. We have tried to ignore the right-brain’s contribution to innovation and our intelligence. Thanks to neuroscience the right-brain – which is the metaphor of the heart – is beginning to receive its long overdue recognition.
We need to be able to integrate the various parts of our brain in order to integrate the various parts of our life into a whole with self-awareness. As I’ve become more self-aware, I’ve even been able to take my professional training in neuroscience, via my need to be able to diagnosis brain tumors and other neurologic diseases into what I’m now doing as a speaker, facilitator and executive coach. I use my creativity to translate my knowledge of the brain into my knowledge of human behavior and spiritual, emotional, mental and physical well-being.
Managing change effectively involves managing mindset. Where your mind is set determines if change is scary and ‘hard’ or exciting and ‘easier’. I don’t want to imply that change will be without discomfort but it doesn’t have to be down right painful.
How you see it – perception – matters. ‘Survival of the fittest’ is a pervasive perception that drive us into our ‘survival brain’. I don’t think there is anything primitive about our amazing brain, yet there are evolutionary levels of engagement that impact our behaviors in everyday life.
I look at the brain in terms of its three evolutionary levels (See image). Level 1 and 2 is in a nutshell all about our survival instinct and our mammalian need for security, love and self-esteem. Neuroscience has shown that ‘perception is reality’ and truly reality is not, ‘objective’.
‘Reality is an illusion; albeit a very persistent one’ ~Albert Einstein
It’s persistent because generally speaking, most people are stuck in Level 1 and 2 mind. It’s this mindset of how we see, ‘survival of the fittest’ that keeps us stuck in Level 1 and 2 mind of our brain. The way to thrive is to connect with your ‘thrival’ brain, which is what I like to call it. This Level 3 area, called the neo-cortex is our ‘executive functioning’ level of brain of self-awareness, higher decision-making, confidence, imagination/innovation, empathy and spiritual purpose and connection.
Level 3 brain can transcend the survival brain fears – FEAR which is ‘Fictitious Evidence Affecting Reality’ – which keeps our storytelling brain stuck on fight/flight/freeze response. It can actually break the loop of deer-in-the-headlight reactions from the Level 1 and 2 brain/mind. This belief in competition at all costs, in order to survive becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.
Inner peace is closer than you realize. You don’t have to ‘do’ any thing. In fact it is your tendency to need to, ‘do something’ that is driving peace of mind out of reach. We have been taught to separate our self into pieces. Be one way at home and one way at office. One way at church or temple and one way with our friends.
In fact, the one thing we don’t tend to do is to question – who is the ‘real me’? Is there a ‘real me’ buried under all those ‘shoulds, oughts and have to’s? Yes – and this center, this core self is peaceful – peace filled – by Nature. You will have to slow down and reflect to reconnect with your Self however.
This segmenting of our self is reflected in our ‘divided brain’. Are we left-brain or right-brain? Why not both? We have two hemispheres for a reason. We also don’t tend to trust our own mind and heart. We have allowed the outer world to define us – who we should be, what we can do, what we can have – and we’ve lost our Self, our inner peace in the process of chasing outer ‘stuff’. Enough already.
Ironically, we can have the outer experience and enjoy it more when we show up whole. When we allow our authenticity to come through, drawing on our whole self, our whole mind, our spirit and our physical body, we come to life integrated. The path to inner peace is to stop living in pieces and to start living with purpose.
‘The purpose of life is a life with purpose’
Leadership development is another area of personal and professional growth that is not surprisingly, undergoing change. What we historically attribute to leadership style is no longer working as we move further and further away from a, ‘One size fits all’ workplace to a more collaborative culture of innovation. Historically, the ‘command-control’ leader who intimidated people into motivation was the macho style that was ‘traditional’.
Stereotypically, this is thought of ‘male leadership’, though I’ve been in the past and have known some pretty bossy women also. Then there’s the so-called ‘female leadership’ style that is supposedly not strategic, is overly inclusive to a fault and expected to be the caregiver personality – the ‘Mother Hen’.
Actually, the truth is, some women are empathetic, some are bossy and then there’s everything in between. For men, I can say the same though both genders tend to unconsciously hold themselves into socially conditioned patterns – in certain conditions. It’s not so much as, the way, ‘we are’ as it is ‘the way we think we are’.
Considering that we are now in the 21st century and technology can replace ‘assembly line’ jobs, why wouldn’t leaders need to also change the way we do things? Why do we continue to expect people to ‘act a certain way’ based on gender? The work place is very diverse – generationally, culturally and perceptually. I say perceptually, in that there are differences in what is expected out of a job – performance, behaviors, values and relationships, for example.
The older generation – the ‘Boomers and The Matures’ are trenched in the tradition of ‘either/or’ – either work your life away or you are ‘lazy’. It’s the old ‘hard work’ ethic. Many of the ‘Millennials’ are seeking more work/life balance, more personal development and more autonomy and upward mobility based on ability and not politics. Of course, there are variations of expectations across generational lines as well. In order for leaders to adapt to change more rapidly and with more ease, we will need to look for some real innovative solutions – like changing how we think so we can have better people-leadership skill
“Everyone thinks of changing the world, but no one thinks of changing himself” Leo Tolstoy
We, human beings, love stories. One of the all time favorite theme is, ‘The Hero’s Journey’. Adventure stories and the lessons from ‘fairy tales’ were, and still are, at the top of my list of favorite movies, books and conversations. This is why movies like, ‘The Hobbit’ or ‘Lord of the Rings’ and even more contemporary movie settings in the ‘adventure’ genre are so popular. Too often we only live vicariously through the movies and lives of others. We see this journey in others yet remain blind to our own personal hero or ‘shero’ journey.
A facet of ‘self-awareness’ is recognizing that we are all on this journey. Our lives are an adventure of self-discovery, other-discovery and life-on-earth discovery. This includes the work that we do in the world. Do you perceive your work as a ‘hardship’ or a place to uncover your true potential? Do you see it as stressful, or simply a challenge to expand your vision for your life? How you perceive your self and your experience will determine how you respond to it – to your life.
We are all a hero on a journey and our journey defines our message. Take notes along the way so that you can then share your lessons.
I see a lot of unhappiness coming across the airways. I hear messages about what’s wrong with ‘us’. There are an awful lot of people at the office and generally, scrambling to ‘fix’ themselves in some way, shape or form. Here’s a novel thought – ever think about the fact that you are simply on a ‘Hero/Shero Journey?’