Neuroleadership and Mental Agility
Do you have difficulty prioritizing, or feel overwhelmed by
external demands when you want to be focused and inner directed?
The most productive and satisfied people self-regulate, make clear decisions, communicate effectively, adapt easily to change, and are resilient when facing difficulties. Not everyone develops these skills early in life. However, it is still possible to learn them.
Neuroscientists have shown us that it is possible to change how our brain is wired. Sure, we have some fixed personality traits and tendencies, but the brain adapted to your early environment, and can adapt to a new environment now.
As we begin to try out new strategies, we often become aware of automatic reactivity or negative thoughts and patterns. That’s because our brain stores information with the perceptions it created at the time of an event.
If Peter had a bad experience with his first boss, his brain may store that bosses equal authoritarian, unfair, unpredictable people. Each time interacts with bosses, his brain looks for information to support the current thought. His “observer bias” will cause him to be on guard, take less risks, engage less, and not be motivated to grow.
Our fear circuit is in competition for resources with our higher level thinking (the manager part of our brain that has a broader perspective, can contemplate, explore, and come up with new strategies). Being stuck in the fear circuit, we’ll act more impulsively and emotionally. Without a deeper level of awareness, he risks being stuck in that pattern and an unfulfilled career experience. Moment by moment, our choices change the functions of our brain, which impact how we interact with our world.
Do you remember when you were learning how to drive that if you fixated on the pothole and said, “don’t hit the pothole” that you were actually more likely to hit it? That’s because you weren’t considering all the other possible pathways. Your brain does that to be efficient, but our current responsibilities require us to use higher level thinking to consider all possible solutions, as opposed to automated programming.
Using focused attention, we can train ourselves to look at the smooth road to follow (opposite the pothole) and our actions will align. Where we focus attention is where the brain makes connections. Once we bring in that new information repeatedly, it will get stored in the automated part of our brain and we drive without having to think so much about it.
Using what I call Mental Agility, we can use what we know about how our brain works to change our automatic programming, and maximize our performance. Learning how to manage your brain’s energy helps you be more clear and decisive, motivated and engaged, and have the ability to self-regulate under pressure.
For example, dopamine is the neurochemical involved in maintaining interest, and norepinephrine is the neurochemical employed for staying alert. To maximize your performance, you need an optimal level of each. Staying focused on the problem only activates current data such as related memories and experiences, current judgments and assumptions. This is why an a-ha moment might come during a bathroom break, watching a funny video, or even sitting in a different chair.
As your coach, we’ll start with a Brain Health Assessment and create practical strategies to take control of your day rather than be controlled by chaos. We’ll take a brain-based approach to help you with tangible actions to mindfully navigate hurdles and energy drains. We’ll explore the factors behind developing your growth mindset and creativity that will cultivate moments of insight to facilitate your evolution.