The thing that changes your brain is where
you put your attention. When you pay attention to something, it heightens the activity of the neurons
process that activity in the brain.
If you are trying to learn a specific golf stroke for example, the more you practice the stroke, the more you strengthen the motor neurons of the hands, arms and movements specific to the swing.
Further, the more you practice, the greater the amount of neural territory or 'real-estate' that is given over to that activity. You might imagine that Tiger Woods has a large amount of neural real estate allocated to golf in his motor cortex.
Studies dating back approximately 35 years ago revealed that mental rehearsal activates the same neuronal circuits as if you were doing the activity in real life. For over 30 years now we at Elan Learning Institute have been using these tried and tested methodologies to
help executives and managers induce the positive behavioral changes they want.
If you discover that you want to change a habit because it no longer works for you, or if your habit has you instead you having it, it might time to make a change! It is not a matter of trying to break the habit. The more attention you put on the old habit, the stronger it gets. Resistance causes persistence!
Leave the old habit alone and simply begin encoding the new behavior into your brain. However, two things are important here.
- Decide what it is you want. Pick just one thing you want to work on at first. Make sure you get absolutely clear on exactly (to the best of your ability) what it is you want.
- Write it down. Don't worry if its sketchy at first; just get it onto paper. Then sleep on it and edit it over the next day or two to get it as clear and exact as you can.
- Then rewrite it in the present tense.
Remember: clarity is power! Get as clear as you can on paper with one item and on Thursday, April 1st we'll take the next step.
This is one the most exciting times in human history. Research is pouring forth from the scientific laboratories all over the world. And with the power of the internet and mass communication, researchers are communicating with one another from distant parts of the globe. As a result the acceleration in knowledge is expanding at exponential rates! And this only works in our favor!
If fully understood, this research and information on the brain can be of great benefit to anyone. It can be extremely beneficial to executives and managers trying to ride the changes going on in organizations today.
We are now clear that ATTENTION CHANGES THE BRAIN. I referred to this in my February 12th post Keeping Cool Under Pressure in which I gave a 3 step process for managing your mind when you are under pressure.
To add to this you can initiate self-directed long term change by understanding the very simple principle of neuro-plasticity. A short quick description of neuro-plasticity is that your brain is malleable. It can be changed. It can be changed by you. Change what you pay attention to, and you change the hardwiring in the brain. If you want to change your results in any area of your life you can retrain your brain.
This is not as hard to do as it seems, but it does take making a commitment to the process. Over the next 2 or 3 blogs we will show you a couple of simple methods you can use to retrain your brain for anything you want to achieve.
I'd give it all to you today, but I've got a deadline on a chapter of a new book we will be releasing late in the year. So we'll break this blog into at least 2 more steps. These will be released Tuesday March 31st & Thursday April 2nd.
For now, you may want to go back and review my February 12th post Keeping Cool Under Pressure. This will give you some basis for the next step. Then check in on Tuesday for the keys to retraining your brain for the next level of success in your life.
Aloha for now,
So many people have asked me what the word 'Elan' means. It's a French word that was absorbed into the English dictionary because the there was no English counterpart. ELAN is ZEST, ENTHUSIASM, SPIRIT.
Elan is at the heart of leadership! Elan is really the language of leadership! As a leader, keeping your spirit and enthusiasm high is more important than ever in these challenging times. Say a hearty YES to life! Your people need a model of positive energy at this time.
Here are 5 things you can do when your energy is challenged:
- Take a deep breath - then remember to remember to greet your employees and your customers with a positive smile.
- Do an energy up! Take a 1 minute break
- Stand up and get out on the floor. Connect with team members.
- Ask members of the team what 3 things they are thankful for right now.
- Write a 'Quick List' with your team of 3 things you can do immediately to improve the department. Then go to work on it with your team.
In all of this be authentic. Yes we are challenged. But challenges can bring out the best in us. Yes we are feeling it. Yet these times are helping us to learn, adapt and grow more quickly than ever!
Confront the challenges with ELAN - ZEST ENTHUSIASM & SPIRIT. Remember, we are not bystanders, our energy is central to the game and our attention and energy changes the energy around us!
Sometimes even in the midst of a financial shortfall, you may want to celebrate small wins by doing something special for yourselves.That was the case for my business associate and I last Sunday evening.
She was down at my home on the Big Island. We turned the corner on a project and decided we needed to let go, let God, laugh and enjoy. In other words, we needed to take our attention off the work and celebrate the positive turn in the road.
So we went to Huggos on the water in Kailua-Kona. It was 5:30 pm and the honus (turtles) were feeding on the limu (seaweed).It set the tone for a wonderful evening. The sunset was stunning. The service was excellent.The relaxation was just what we needed!
Guy Kelly, who took care of our table was totally there for us. We told him we wanted to take our time because we were doing an evening of gratitude - night of 'thank you' to the universe for supporting our needs! He totally understood and filled in the spaces as needed
when we were ready!
And even though it can get expensive, if you really peruse the menu,
there are some moderately priced dishes that will allow you to have an
enjoyable evening without gauging your pocket book to badly. The terriyaki steak is extremely tender and well priced and so are some of their other dishes.
So there it is, keep the magic in your life by finding ways to celebrate the small things! It's the little pleasures that help break up the day and the challenges we're facing. It's the small things that help us keep the magic in the moment.
There's nothing like a sunset on the water! But if you're not near the water, find your own simple pleasures and consciously use them as a gift to yourself. Celebrate the small, give thanks for your blessings, and take the next turn in front of you!
If you're driving through the country and you see a goat walking in a pasture, you may glance at it, or you may turn to look for a moment, or you may not even look. You might just make a subconscious note and move on, because a goat or two in a field is a fairly common occurrence in the country. But if you see a flying goat, you will stare up at the sky until it disappears.
The economy is a flying goat. We've become fixated on it, watching every rise and fall of the DOW as if our life depends on it. The problem with this is that any perceived threat arouses the amygdala (our emotional system) and this side-slams our pre-frontal cortex. The pre-frontal cortex is the most highly evolved part of our brain known as the central executive of our brains. When this goes out of commission, we have trouble making clear decisions or using forethought and planning to move forward.
So how do we take the economic flying goat off our back so that we can function at an optimal level? Remember that Attention = Energy. It's time to change the focus of our attention. Stop reading the depressing headlines. Stop watching every movement of the DOW and watching every detail of the evening news.
Pay attention to attention! Refocus on the positive and remember to remember who you really are. As the creator of your experience, have a great experience today!!
These tough times require tough tactics! CEO's and managers are turning the anxiety of the times to their
advantage! They are cleaning up and cleaning out that which does not serve the foremost objective: staying in business.
This is a time for healthy reevaluation and
revision for each and every one of us! Are you giving all that you can give to your department and your company? Are you making sure that who you are and how you perform delivers a 'value-added' benefit to your company?
You may not be the only fish in the sea, but you're the only you in the sea.
Assess your strengths, clean out your weaknesses, speak with good purpose and give more than you expect to receive in return. Then:
- Know your strengths and use them to the advantage of the department and the company
- Define your distinctions - do great things that set you apart from others
- Speak with good intent
- Support everyone around you
Remember to remember that we are all in this together. We can turn the worst of times into the best of times by showing an attitude of gratitude and always giving more today than you did the day before!
I'm going to assume that you got your list ready and we're ready to move ahead on your Round Robin Management Meetings. So here we go.
- Print out several copies of the meeting agenda and 1 copy of the instructions (#6) for each team member.Download Meeting Agenda
- Hand them out at your next meeting and explain the process to your leadership team. Tell them that everyone will be leading your team meetings in a round robin manner. This will strengthen their leadership skills as well as their ability to run upbeat meetings for their own departments.
- The first person on the list facilitates the first meeting. This should be the head of the leadership team.
- The next person on the team takes the minutes on the Meeting Agenda form. This will be the notes they use to run the next meeting.
- Open with wins, accomplishments, and positive updates on goals and projects. Every team member is expected to give a 30 second update. This will enhance accountability for results!
- Follow the rest of the instructions are on the Meeting Agenda Instruction sheet.Download Meeting Agenda Instructions.
- The next person on the list (the one who took the minutes) leads the next meeting. And the person that follows them from the master list, takes the minutes for that meeting and so on!
Remember that King Arthur ran his meetings at a round table. Seat your team members in the round so that every member is responsible and accountable in equal measure.
Be willing to fail a few times. It's like learning to ride a horse, a few falls and you learn pretty quickly! All you have to do is be willing to get back on the horse. If you don't get back on the horse, you don't ride. If you do get up and get on the horse again, eventually you'll learn to ride. And have fun!
Have you or members of your team ever zoned out in your management meetings - nodded off, day dreamed, judged the droning speaker? If you (or they) have, this blog is for you!
I wanted to share it because so many companies that we work with are having such success with it.
At the moment I'm thinking specifically of HAWAII STATE FEDERAL CREDIT UNION (HSFCU) and their expansion over the last three months during the flailing of other financial institutions. (Check the last post. Also, I couldn't resist dropping this pic in. This is me with Patricia Hao, Vice President of Human Resources at HSFCU.)
The Round Robin Management Meeting fondly known as RRMM, is a simple but powerful meeting
format that keeps the entire team on their toes: ALIVE & ALERT, LOOKING FOR LESSONS TO LEARN! It's all about the joy of achievement and raising the energy of the team!! Held in the Authurian round style, this meeting format keeps people on the positive edge.
Beyond that, you will enhance your team members' leadership skills, their story telling agility, their ability to facilitate action and get results!
Here's a quick tick list:
- Everyone leads meetings! Make a list of the team members names. Place more extroverted individuals between more introverted members on the list.
- Every person takes minutes for the person before them. This ensures that they can read their own notes when their turn comes around next.
- The head of the team leads off.
- The next person on the list takes down the minutes.
- Open each meeting with GOALS ACCOMPLISHED - THINGS ACHIEVED and UPDATES.
In lieu of overwhelming you in one fell swoop of a post, get your list typed up and I will give you the meeting format in my next blog. Remember to mix extroverts and introverts on the list and I'll get back to you soon!