‘The brain doesn’t determine what we do, it determines what we feel’. Geoffrey Schwartz.
Every month, the inspiring group of Word Carnival bloggers put their hearts into a topic designed to make you think, learn something or bust some myths. You will always find some gold, so I invite you to have a fossick.
The light fandango
You become aware you’re hungry. Cells in your brain activate dopamine, a chemical responsible for motivation and desire. You desire sushi. Your brain and your mind start the light fandango, a dance of interconnected steps to act on this desire.
You check the time, compute the validity of spending 20 minutes to buy it and factor in the cost. If you feel it’s okay, then you find your wallet and keys and drive to the local sushi shop. You may decide as you’re out to do a few chores. All of this activity predicated on feeling hungry.
Now imagine, just before you’re about to leave, a client calls and unreasonably expresses their indignation or frustration or displeasure, or all three, that their expectations have been disappointed.
Depending on what hangs on their pleasure, your brain will generate a different set of feelings. You might feel irritation, distress, panic even fear. Now what you want is resolution.
The dance becomes a tortured jiggle as you juggle the client’s expressed perception with the reality of events as they happened.
Thoughts of sushi go out the window, along with hunger.
Maybe some time later, your hunger reasserts itself and you throw something hastily down your throat, mildly fed up that you’re having to interrupt the explanatory email you were in the middle of, with something so pedestrian as hunger.
In a short time, you’ve run the full gamut of emotions. You’ve taken a complex range of steps to navigate and then ameliorate them.
Our brains dance a waltz fantastic with our minds every waking second of the day.
The question is whose leading this dance. Your brain or your mind. You or others.
In this scenario, the brain and the feelings it generated dominated. So it’s the client who is firmly in the lead. You’re just an accessory in fulfilling whatever their perception of reality is as they whirl you around the room.
The dizzy dance
Here’s the question. Should we wrestle the lead back or should we not be in this dizzy dance in the first place?
Eating sushi when you want it is a whole lot more desirable than a reactive process desperate to eliminate unreasoned expectations.
I have had some experience of this over 36 years of client servicing. Mostly free of it, the fandango, the ballroom in hell, still stirs a reaction.
It’s not the client toward whom the ire is directed now, but my brain.
The whirling dervish
That collection of neurones that can be so easily stimulated to mimic a posse of whirling dervishes.
The effect is unpleasant. From mild irritation to a small catastrophic reaction, like lighting the fuse on a bundle of dynamite, to the more spectacular atomic melt down, none of it is productive.
It always prompts the immediate abandonment of anything else like a visit to the sushi shop.
Constantly exposed to a set of stimuli, we become over sensitised if we’ve not yet learned to take mindful action.
It’s like a couple together for years. The partner needs only start the sentence, draw breath even, to win the anticipated response.
This is all the work of our brain, but not apparently of our mind.
An ingénue when it comes to understanding how our brain works, I’ve recently been introduced to the concept of mindfulness. The interception as I understand it between the act of feeling–the brain, and the act of doing, or responding–the mind.
I’m in love with the concept though. The notion that with practise we could feel, stop, consider and then decide what the appropriate response should be in any given situation, anytime. That’s awesome.
Imagine. En route to sushi shop. Frustrated client calls. Stop, consider, decide, act. Proceed to sushi shop. Resolve client issue calmly later.
Or what about this? Same scenario, but with an addendum. Resolve client issue. Consider, was this expressed frustration fair, necessary or warranted. Is it a repeat offence. Decide. No. Call client, politely explain that you would like to introduce them to another provider better suited.
Or better. Stop. Consider. Should you be working for people ever again who don’t value what you do or respect it enough to be courteous? Clearly not. Implement the necessary and logical steps to ensure that.
The happy dance
This is how:
- Invest in the work of clarity. What’s your single driving intention? Why do you do what you do for whom?
- Assess your offering. Choose the one (and only one) that resolves the problems of the people you most want to work with who will best benefit from what you want to offer.
- Package up the value. How much does someone have to gain by enjoying the benefits of working with you?
- Unearth the stories that support your intention and blog about them
- Serve these good people so well you eliminate their pain. They’ll love you for it. Blog about that.
- Be clear about how you work for what purpose and for what remuneration. Blog about that too.
- Get mindfully fit. I am a laggard still, but keen to practise – to become as graceful in my mindful practise as a prima ballerina.
If you are experiencing the fog. The place where neither brain nor mind seems to be in control and both are occupied by whirling dervishes, Roger and I now facilitate a process called Clear the Fog. It’s fun and it works.
If you have experience of mindful practise in the way you conduct business? Please share it, we’d love to hear from you.