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Archive for June, 2012

Where can I find a brain trainer?

June 24th, 2012 Kevin No comments

What’s this post about?

Brain training.

Where can I find a good brain trainer?

In the mirror.

Huh?

You are a brain trainer and so are teachers, moms, dads, managers, and best friends.

What on earth do you mean?

Any one who influences you enough to cause a change in you has changed your brain. Since you (the conscious you) influence your brain daily, you are a brain trainer.

You mean changing my brain is the same thing as training my brain?

Could be; training implies purpose. A lot of brain changes just happen. It is better in my opinion to be in charge of those changes. That way, you are training your brain instead of your brain training you.

What do you mean about the brain being separate from me; I am my brain!

Well then stop eating those donuts! Start being nicer to that friend or spouse! Go ahead and finish that nagging project today! Avoid the seventh beer!

If there is a delay after I make up my mind, you mean it’s my brain’s fault?

In a way, yes. The brain works mostly on past patterns. Mindful decisions take time to sink in. That’s why practice, repetition, and persistence pay off in the brain change game.

What about when I make up my mind and then do something else?

Hard, right? We are great at making up our minds. Sadly, at times we come to find out that our brains decided to do something else.

You have an example?

Sure: My wife wants to see Cher in the movie Moonstruck. To please her, I say, “Sure, I’ll go,” and my body, in full cellular mutiny, slumps down and caves in. She says, “You don’t really want to do.” I say, “I said I’d go.” This is an example of me making up my mind and my brain and body not following along. Did they not hear me? Oy.

So anyway, are you a brain trainer?

Yes.

How do you describe what you do?

I help train clients’ brains so they become more successful in life.

Train their brains for what?

With better brains they perform better in business and elsewhere.

Are there other reasons people seek you out to train their brains?

Sure.

Such as?

Some of my clients want to handle urges better, avoid confrontations that are unsolvable, and reduce the emotional drag that can ruin their relationships.

Training the brain does all that?

Yes. The brain is amazing. For instance, if you believe a sugar pill will cure your ills your chance of recovery goes way up. Brain training can increase your belief powers.

How can anyone be a brain trainer if they don’t know about the brain?

That is a downside of being a brain trainer. It makes sense that as a part of the responsibility to train brains, it is real important to know about them.

So moms and dads should know how their kids’ brains develop?

I think that is an excellent idea.

Leaders and managers should know how employee brains work?

You bet.

My friends, do they need to know about the brain?

If they advise you, yes, because their advice relates to behaviors. Knowing about the brain wiring that generates behaviors will put their advice on more solid ground.

Are teachers brain trainers?

Yes, they are some of the most important brain trainers in the world.

Should teachers know how the brains of their students work?

That makes a ton of sense to me.

Can you summarize this post?

We are all brain trainers, of our own brains if nothing else. If you are a teacher, mom, dad, boss, manager, or leader, you are a brain trainer. And, you will serve your students, kids, or employees better when you know how their brains really work. Psychology is a great start, add to it advances in linguistics and communications science, sociology, anthropology, management science, and neuroscience. Knowing how the brains of your people work is a great first step to helping them train their brains to work better, smarter, and with more trust, love, and responsibility.

Anything else?

You can learn more about brain training here:

Braintraining@KnowledgeAdvocate.com

Thank you and have a wonderful day!

Kevin Leahy, Founder

Knowledge Advocate, LLC

Austin, Texas

Categories: Brain power Tags:

Advice when you move to a new job

June 22nd, 2012 Kevin No comments

Coaching is a wonderful profession because our clients become friends.

Here is the advice I offer my friend on the way to a new job, in a new city. The person has been on the job a few days with mounting stress, concerns for not getting things right, and an awareness that failure is an option– preferably, an avoidable one! I have changed information to share this advice with a wider audience.

Perspective

Homework: please get out a dictionary, read the definition of “perspective,” and then write out five examples of how it can happen more at your office. I sense, I feel, and yearn to hear more about different perspectives in the current situation and the experiences you are facing.

Love

You have lots of love. In this instance, work love is different than romantic love. It means connecting, building rapport, earning trust, and being fair with coworkers and your boss despite the conditions. Love is really important for you in that office since the way you describe things so far, there may be a shortage of it; in other words, love may be a scarce/hidden/fleeting commodity. Your arrival means they just struck a rich vein. Spread the wealth, spread your love.

Let whatever happens be okay

That office has survived a long time without you. There is solace in that thought. You are there now and things will still work out. Remember, Rome did not get built in a 2 hour span, nor did it fall down that fast. As we discussed, since you are perfect for this job, the things that are happening sound just about right!

Your job description and its possible shift

It is unusual that the job description you were hired for shifts in the first week, usually the honeymoon period is at least two weeks these days. Oy. You told me they hired you for your experience in the job you had before graduate school. Focus in on that. By your description of the first few days, they may be expanding your role. If that is true go ahead and discuss the parameters of the change. You deserve to know what’s going on.

Bearing

From the sound of things happening in your first week on the job, you deserve to get your bearing. By this I mean check in with your toes and the balls of your feet. There is sound and solid ground in the new city you find yourself in, this I know. FEEL it. Smell the air, be in the moment. Love your job. Love your city. Good.

True or false narratives

You are a professional who offers clearly defined services. Other titles, with other service parameters including tattle tale or spy (your words not mine) seem far away from what your profession does. Feel free to drop any unhelpful narratives.

Being too nice

You mentioned a tendency to apologize for not understanding some of the new things you are learning right away. Instead of apologizing, take a long extended breath. Then review what happened and after that, thank your coworkers for their understanding of the newness of your work. Make your desire to succeed with them and for them clear to them.

Succeed

Success comes in so many colors. Each minute you are there in that office is success. Smell it. Taste it. Feel it. Success demands errorless learning. You are learning the ropes: it turns out some of them are slippery; some feel rough; and a few are quite frayed by your description of things. Success for your coworkers means that you help them. So go ahead and help them. All of them. That delivers group success. The few that cannot or will not be helped, give them up to a higher power. Help the ones that can handle help and be fair to everyone else.

Allies

Surely with that large an office you will find allies. You deserve them. So cultivate them. Friends come in many forms. Be slow, invite in relationship, and help them help you help them. Allies matter.

The First 90 Days

I attach a review of an excellent book for your situation called “The First 90 Days.” Go ahead and read it. Then apply what resonates with you.

Conclusion

I’ll summarize my advice with two words: PERSPECTIVE and BEARING. Get some! [They are like milk, and different]. You are perfect for this job and your new city is the exact right place for you to be in right now! Maybe this advice can help you along your journey in a new job, a new city, and give you new hope.

Peace, bearing, and perspective to you,

Kevin Leahy

Austin, Texas

www.knowledgeadvocate.com

Categories: Consulting, Thoughts Tags:

You can change people if they are willing and you are able

June 14th, 2012 Kevin No comments

What’s this post about?

Changing people.

You can’t do that!

If you are right then parents, teachers, trainers, managers, and leaders are out of luck. It means no one ever changed you and you never changed anyone (for better or worse).

You can’t change anyone, they have to change themselves; it’s the norm, okay?

It is a social norm, true. I believe the statement is incorrect. You and I can change people. The norm requires that we spend significant energy convincing others that we were not directly responsible. Instead we must talk about our indirect efforts. If you believe the norm then I bet instead of changing anyone, your role is to hint, suggest, influence, help, try, or maybe-sort-of-kind-of get involved, right?

You make it sound like I don’t care; what’s that about?

Of course you care when you do those things, and these words distance you from the impact you make and the cause you bring about.

I don’t want to come across as arrogant or controlling, do you?

The norm “you can’t change people” can, when we are not mindful, confuse our desire to change others (hopefully for the better) with arrogance or control issues. True, some manipulate and abuse power when they change others. There are also good people, my mother is a great example, who changed people for the better and on purpose. The norm “you can’t change anyone” takes ownership away from my mother’s changes. The norm keeps her at a distance from the changes she made from love and for my better. I am glad my mother changed me.

Your mom didn’t change you, you changed you!

You still believe you can’t change anyone?

Yes.

Are you someone?

Yes.

Are you anyone?

I see where you are going but it’s not the same…

If you can’t change anyone and you are someone then you can’t change yourself.

I see your point, and the norm also includes “but yourself” or “they have to change themselves,” right?

These lines are the distant second ideas of the norm; they are afterthoughts.

Are you saying because you can’t change anyone you can’t change yourself?

The social norm “you can’t change anyone” makes it harder to change yourself. We believe these norms and they guide how we behave in our culture; often it’s unconscious guidance.

Suggestions?

You can change people if they are willing and you are able.

That’s seems to place the emphasis on willingness and ability, right?

Exactly.

Then we can change ourselves if we are willing and able too, right?

Yes.

Then we can take responsibility and ownership for changing others?

Yes; and it goes both ways: (1) changes for the better; and (2) changes for the worse too. We have the right to take ownership for both directions of change we cause.

Can you summarize this post?

I ask that you reconsider the notion that “you can’t change anyone.” I know you can. I bet you have. And, I hope you backed your efforts to change others with ownership, ability, and the true desire that the change you make offers a positive and lasting difference. You can say, “You can change anyone if he or she is willing and you are able.” Then you own the effort, you welcome the change, and you place the emphasis on willingness and ability instead of on a lack of agency and a purposeful distance from the decision to change.

So have you changed anyone?

Sure. I know we all have. This is the beauty of being us. We are very social creatures and I believe in my heart we influence and change those we love daily.

Well… I’ll think about it.

Good luck!

Kevin Leahy

Austin, Texas

Email your thoughts: Change@KnowledgeAdvocate.com

Categories: Brain power Tags: