Research Paper By Julie Bartleson
(Life Coach, UNITED STATES)
I recently noticed that I’ve been thinking like a skeptic and yet reflecting back as a child I don’t remember thinking that way… in my child brain, common thoughts that ran through my mind sounded something like, “I will always be taken care of” and “anywhere I go in the world, I’m always safe and surrounded by people who love me”. Which, as an experience, It occurred as if I seemed to have some sort of luck or angel on my side.
Let’s flash forward; somewhere between then and now, I carved a new path, literally.
A couple years past, I took on a life coach program and in my process I discovered all kinds of tools to change habits, speak powerfully, be confident, to re-invent and create my own life… however, something was still missing for me. While in this inquiry, I discovered neuroscience that led me to finding something new, about me, about my brain that I didn’t even know, that I didn’t know existed.
What intrigues me about neuroscience is just that… it’s science, and my rational side likes science because the aspect of being rationally applied and reliably tried and by understanding the concepts of neuroscience more fully, I would be able to design my own tools, literally transforming my negative thoughts or habits that I wanted to break or let go of. I could replicate the patterns to train my brain, or maybe un-train my brain, depending on how I would choose to see something.
I began to investigate new thoughts that emerged with this new world of neuroscience, what possibilities could or would it offer to the world coaching, and how would I apply it into my coaching style. I reached out further into the many possible areas where neuroscience in coaching has already started to be applied. Doctors such as Dr. Mark Waldman, one of the worlds leading experts in communication and spirituality and the brain, on the faculty at Loyola Marymount University College of Business and the Holme’s Institute who has partnered up with John Assaraf to create new ways of applying the learning’s of neuroscience to interested and willing participants.
Waldman coins this partnership of neuroscience and coaching “neuro-coaching” a brain based counseling.
In the same field of study, there’s Dr. Joe Dispenza who endured a tragic accident and now shares his powerful story of how he literally visualized his spine and body back to recovery after a debilitating accident, proving that in his own words “the power that made the body is the power that maintains and heals the body”. This thought alone will leave one curious. In which ways could I explore this thought and how would I apply it in my own life?
In my research, I found that this particular fact from Dr. Joe impacted and continues to influence my thought process and understanding of how to apply neuroscience into my coaching:
“95% of who we are by the time we’re 35 is a set of unconscious thoughts, behaviors and emotional reactions, all this is literally happening behind the scenes of our awareness”…
He calls this, procedural memory – when your body practiced it so many times you don’t have to think about what you’re doing.
He goes on to say, “Most people are trying to use 5% of their conscious mind to work against 95% of what they’ve memorized subconsciously”.
In other words, I understood this to mean working from the “familiar”, “safe”, or “comfortable” is just operating from your unconscious mind, or simply put, allowing your brain pattern to choose (unconsciously) for you.
My work was to translate this information for myself. Working from the future I’d like to fulfill from this current point in my life, I reverse engineered the concepts in neuroscience I had read thus far, led me to lay it all out in a simple formula.
The true test… would it actually produce results and be effective in coaching conversations?
Here is a formula I’ve put together to make it easily digestible for my introducing this new practice to my clients. Discovering how I can begin to apply it within my coaching practice would mean for me, honoring the client’s focus, while keeping a keen listening and observation of my clients needs.
1- Awareness – When we don’t know what we don’t know, this is the unconscious mind space, the 95% of our procedural memory. Attempting to be aware of something we don’t know, we don’t know, can be a dilemma. However, lets make it simple… Find the last time you had a thought, emotion or behavior, which was undesirable for you and or others around you.
2- Acknowledge – Now that you brought awareness and attention to this undesirable thought, emotion or behavior, allow you to learn something new about what makes this thought, emotion or behavior undesirable. Bringing a little consciousness into the equation, what would you change to get a different result? A result that you would prefer, a result or outcome in (thought, emotion or behavior) that you really want. At this step, it’s an unconscious skill, so while you may know that you don’t know how to do it, or achieve it… trust the process.
Give yourself a little moment to choose your desirable outcome (thought, emotion or behavior), what would that be?
3- Persevere – This takes willpower. Take what you just acknowledge about your new (thought, emotion or behavior) and practice it. When we do something repeatedly, it becomes a conscious practicing of a skill. Honing in on this new (thought, emotion or behavior) over time will carve out a new neuro-pathway which will in-turn will inevitably get assigned to the 95% of your unconscious mind. What arrangement will you put in place to remind you to persevere on this new (thought, emotion or behavior)?
4- Reflect – Memorizing your new pattern of (thought, emotion or behavior) is already a big accomplishment. Celebrate new self. When you reflect back in your process, who were you BEING in all the moments you persevered, with your new (thought, emotion or behavior)?
Your transformation has taken place. Reflection is infinite, now observe your feedback, you can find this in your environment… how has your transformation has impacted others. Do your friends, family or peers notice something new about your new (thought, emotion or behavior)?
What impact do you want to be for others?.. and for your environment?
I wanted results and good ones too, the kind that seems like the universe is on my side, producing miracles and magic! So when I applied this process to myself in my own life, I realized, I am my best subject and if I didn’t do my own work how would I be able to pass my learning and skills on to others.
I also shared my self-application of this formula with a coaching partner and trusted friend. The purpose for this is to create a structure on the outside of my own thoughts to bounce findings, feelings, or any shifts that were occurring thought this practice. Causing exposure of these findings and communicating the process with my friend, got me clearer and clearer and acts as an excellent gauge to know if this is working, if I can visually see or speak something clearly, I have the power to manage or move it. Making it easier to not hide behind the unclear patterns. Having my friend point out other little things such as the subtle tricks my unconscious mind can play on me, having this someone on the “outside” looking “in” reflecting upon the tangible has a tendency to grab my attention more effectively.
Moving forward with how I find myself in this formula, I chose to work on this thought of being a skeptic. I certainly don’t like the experience or the emotion that being a skeptic produces. Nor did I think that just because I had a few skeptical thoughts that it makes me who I am.
Within, a few moments after getting clear that on the flip-side of the emotional experience a skeptic brings, I explored all my possible choices and not long, I chose being grateful. Gratitude came with all kinds of feelings, emotions, thoughts and all having a good sense of the experience I wanted to have.
Expanding on what about being grateful resonates with me, I closed my eyes and explored the feelings and experiences that being grateful produces. I applied this to my present moment and went further to project my future, filled it with gratitude and again sat in that feeling and experience, visualizing the environment of people around me and what that brings to them when I am in this state of being. It’s in this little moment of work; new thoughts, feelings and behaviors magically emerged, and with so many other possibilities there to accompany my newly created gratitude.
I kept going on this visualization and created a phrase from this of exploration of gratitude, which I can now call upon, whenever I have that nego Skeptic say something to stop me from being open and listening keenly to what I want.
My phrase is: “I am grateful to be aware (of you Skeptic) and choose a different way of thinking, feeling and behaving than what my Skeptic has to offer”… ”I choose gratitude, joy and love”.
There is no trick to this, however, what is important is that in this very moment of noticing, being consciously aware of you Skeptic that allows me the access into the power to choose my new path. Repetitive action creates new neuro-pathways and in each time this comes up it will become easier and eventually your brain will take over and relocate this practiced (conscious learning) into the 95% of your subconscious or Procedural Memory.
Wash, Rinse, Repeat. That alone is a pattern, however by taking on these simple steps with the help of an accountability partner, a friend, family or coach, I now have access to transform my experience in any given moment. The new question that comes forward (or maybe a new practice to take on) can I sustain the awareness of my consciousness?
After this investigation into my own brain pattern, I gained a new insight about the human condition, the bigger picture as a whole. That we are not fix in our ways of thinking and being, rather taking on being curious about the 95% of our unconscious mind, we can unlock new habits and patterns for ourselves.
When we take this conversation to another such as with a coach who will work with you to explore neuroscience techniques and practices, this collaboration in coaching can be very powerful. Considering the future of coaching in this field, I am extremely happy and excited about the possibilities that Neuroscience in coaching will impact and produce in humanity.
You ultimately have the power to choose what you want for your life, but more importantly, who will you choose to be?
Sources and References:
“The four pillars of healing” – http://www.drjoedispenza.com/index.php?page_id=the_four_pillars
“Breaking the habit of being yourself” – Source: Mind Power Techniques – Heal Your Life // Dr Joe Dispenza (INTV)
Neuro-Coaching – Mark Waldman http://markrobertwaldman.com/personal-coaching/neuro-coaching/