Your brain needs a trainer.
Your brain generates over 6,000 thoughts/day with a single guiding principle: keep this being safe, even if it means making stuff up.
When attempting to do something brave with ourselves, e.g., step into a new leadership role, have a difficult conversation, go after a stretch goal, create something innovative, etc., the brain experiences this as unfamiliar and dangerous. The first response is emotional resistance. The behaviors of resistance include: arguing with reality, thinking inaccurate thoughts that justify staying the same, procrastination, self-doubt, and criticism.
You are not your brain; you are a being that can train your brain. Training your brain means recognizing resistance (yours and other people’s) as a natural part of the creative process. Resistance feels like a pit in your stomach, a tightness in your chest, a buzzing in your ears. Your physiology is telling you that you are in danger. However, if you are not scare-cited* every day, you are not leading – you are just hanging out.
Intervene on behalf of your future best self. Train yourself to observe your thoughts and notice the ones that are generating resistance (contrary to Freud’s theory, thoughts generate emotion, not the other way around):
- Check them for accuracy.
- Discard the ones that are blatantly false.
- Keep and improve on the ones that serve your future best self.
Train your brain to expect, welcome, and overcome resistance, and you will become a transformative leader:
- Notice and acknowledge resistance.
- Redirect thinking to focus on vision and purpose – make the vision as tangible as possible.
- Reduce resistance by shrinking the “ask.”
- Create momentum by one-stepping big goals.
Acceptance is not liking something. It is the lack of resistance. Growth is not killing it every time. It is telling your resistance to “heel” and walking into each experience with the question, “How am I willing to allow myself to be changed by this experience?”
Set the expectation that behavior change follows learning experiences. Download this month’s Leadership Mojo Tip, complete it, and have your team do the same for the next learning experience you bring their way.
Download this month’s Leadership Mojo Tip and define your learning edge, then share that edge with your organization. A love of learning and coachability are defining characteristics of your strongest leaders and best employees. Model the way.