Brain model.gif
Use this model to 'see' how fear literally switches off 'smart

Your 'autopilot' limbic calls up habitual patterns of thinking and action (ie patterns stored in the neo-cortex)... 

What it calls up depends on what it perceives is happening, based on external senses and your body's internal state. Perceived threats produce instinctive defensive reactions which, typically, are not helpful in the business world. 

Your 'smart' PFC lets you 'visualise' the future (+ other perspectives) and choose intentional action... 

Two issues: (a) it is easily over-loaded; (b) it is quickly closed down when negative emotions trigger the limbic threat response. You have to create the right conditions for PFC thinking - eg it's impossible in the grip of fear (or anger). 

Threats perceived by the limbic are often 'imagined' (ie internally created 'stories') rather than 'reality'... 

The threats you imagine will be influenced by your personality and your role in the system, as well as your relationship with the other people in the situation. You can calm your threat response physically by 'breathing', and cognitively by 're-framing'. It helps when you intentionally develop these mitigating actions into habits. 

Regular practices can turn new choices of perception / response into new habits (ie new stored patterns)... 

Regular journaling, to review and modify your perception of situations, can literally create new neuronal pathways. Mindfulness practices can reduce your emotional reaction to perceived threats. Coaching helps when you can't change perception on your own - with a strong connection to the coach, it's as if you can 'borrow' their limbic.   

"People are simpler than we WANT to believe" MB

For occasional insights based on applying these ideas in real life, please follow this link to the equivalent "chapter" of my blog site:

Business is ALWAYS personal: 3 The brain story