Harnessing Subconscious Behavior to Move Into Conscious Leadership
With our constant stream of text messages, emails, meetings, conference calls, and so on, it is a minor miracle that any of us can accomplish anything. With our smartphones surgically implanted into our hands, our time is sliced so thinly that we never have room for error, focused time to develop big-picture perspectives or the time needed for an action plan, let alone the time to execute it.
“Ineffective daily routines, superficial behaviors, poorly prioritized or unfocused tasks leech leadership’ capacities—making unproductive busyness perhaps the most critical behavioral problem” in our lifestyles today.
For so many of us—whether CEOs for major corporations, small business owners or solo-entrepreneurs—there is a fundamental disconnection between knowing what needs to be done and actively taking responsibility for it. Calling this disconnection the “knowing-doing gap,” Stanford University researchers Jeffrey Pfeffer and Robert Sutton pose the question: “Why does knowledge of what needs to be done frequently fail to result in action or behavior consistent with that knowledge?” Is there anyone who hasn’t wondered the same thing? The answer is both simple and profound. We can sum it up with the term “willpower.” The problem is not that we self-manage poorly or that our time is divided ineffectively, but that our consciousness or “will” is divided as well; according to the theory of mind model, our "will" aka conscious mind only controls twelve percent of our behavior whereas our subconscious mind controls about eighty-eight percent of our behavior.
Getting things done requires two critical components: energy and focus. Sadly, both are at risk in our modern lifestyles. Building a bias for action in yourself and your career requires developing and reinforcing the skills to become a “purposeful” vs. “volitional” individual. These are people who can consistently achieve their objectives by making an unconditional commitment to their self-regulation goals and sub-conscious strategies — leveraging the power of that intention to overcome the obstacles in their way, whether their personal doubts or the bureaucracies within their organizations.
“Purposeful action-taking depends on engaging the power of the subconscious mind,” according to John Assaraf of NeuroGym. “Not only does your sub-conscious mind galvanize your mental and emotional energy -- it also enables you to make your intention happen against the most powerful odds: distractions, temptations to move in a different direction, self-doubt, and negativity. Sub-conscious brain power is the force that strengthens your energy and sharpens your focus throughout the action-taking process.”
Here are four steps that form the basis of successfully taking action:
Challenge your beliefs
Your goals must be in alignment with your core beliefs. Your professional beliefs must be aligned with your personal beliefs so you can distinctly visualize its success. Your beliefs will affect your habits and perceptions.
Continued at https://www.thesamigroup.com/blog/conscious-leadership
Exploring the Strengths of Seeking Help
Long before there were hypnotherapists, there were family members. Aunt Helen listened or gave us advice, or sometimes Granny Annie just told us to toughen up and move on. If our family couldn’t help, there were friends or a clergy member. However, most of us were likely warned not to broadcast our troubles, and this led to people feeling they had to suffer through their problems silently.
Times change, and so has society’s acceptance of seeking help. The old stigma of being seen as weak or incapable is primarily gone, helped by many well-known writers, actors and politicians being open about their struggles with, and treatments for, everything from depression to chronic shoplifting. Going to a hypnotherapist is now seen as a positive step in most people’s lives.
Hypnotherapy is a unique collaboration and what makes it valuable sets it apart from family associations, friendships, working partnerships, and even love relationships.
According to WebMD, hypnotherapy can be used to treat anxiety, phobias, substance abuse including tobacco, sexual dysfunction, undesirable spontaneous behaviors, and bad habits. It can be used to help improve sleep, learning disorders, communication, and relationship issues.
Hypnotherapy serves as a balance in which two people are collaborating on a single project, helping the client deal with their problems and achieve the change they want. There is no other agenda.
It’s the simplicity of that agenda, combined with a structured schedule, confidentiality, and trust, that make this unique relationship work so well for so many people. Rather than proof that someone is “sick,” it is a sign of good health to commit to change.
Some people still believe a hypnotherapist will make them do things they don't want to do; this belief couldn't be any further from the truth. You get to choose your outcome. You choose what to say. You decide when to say it. Nowadays, there is an incredible number of ways to explore problems. In addition to hypnotherapy, there is Therapeutic Imagery, NLP, Neurofeedback, Biofeedback—even laughter therapy—to name just a few. For every kind of problem and every type of person, there is a therapeutic healing modality that fits.
The strength of hypnotherapy is that there are no strings attached. So let's look at some further benefits of the therapeutic relationship:
1. Safety. If the connection is right, you can feel safe to reveal your fears, dreams, and fantasies without fear of repercussions or judgment on the part of the hypnotherapist. Unlike telling a friend or family member, your words to a hypnotherapist won’t come back to haunt you.
2. Learning. Hypnotherapy can be seen as a profoundly educational experience, in which a hypnotherapist acts like a coach or a teacher to help the client understand their world—inner and outer—in new and positive ways.
We all have felt overwhelmed at least once in our lives. Grief, loss, anger, financial hardship, relationship problems, stress—all of these are a normal part of life to some degree. So is seeking help when coping is just too hard. It’s also normal to be a little afraid of what friends and family might say about seeing a hypnotherapist. However, in the end, it’s your life, and you know best how to make it a richer, happier and more fulfilling one—with a little help.
How do people turn what we say they want into what they actually get?
Many articles, books and workshops advise us to conduct one's self “as if.” Behave as if you already have your dream job. Act as if you’re successful. Function from confidence.
If we support the theory behind our actions, it means that we behave in alignment with the intentions we desire, and we’re more likely to achieve it.
Problems will arise when we don’t actually want the life we think we want. For example, we may say that we want to find a loving partner, be at our ideal weight, or start our own business but if we actually don’t want the added responsibilities of behaving “as if,” your effort will be an empty exercise.
So what’s the solution?
Here are some ways I suggest you begin.
First, I recommend you begin slowly. When we decide to make a significant change in our lives, we often try to do too many things at once and find ourselves overwhelmed or discouraged. Your focus on one thing that’ll get you closer to the “you” you’d like to become.
Next, you'll need to face your resistance. Change is challenging for most of us. Give yourself a chance by being willing to address any underlying beliefs that might be getting in your way.
Don’t just set goals, reflect on them several times throughout your day. Make a list of your life as you’d like it to be – a written representation is often a potent and tangible reminder of what a customized, ideal life looks like.
Start practicing it. Once can see yourself living you’re desired lifestyle and living as that person, start making the choices that person would make. Decisions can either reinforce old beliefs or new ones.
Make friends with people who are doing what you want to do. Role models are a great way to discover what works and avoid what doesn’t. Ask better questions. Observe these individuals. Change. Grow.
Self-care. Ask yourself, “How does the ideal version of myself express self-love to themselves ?” Then respond accordingly.
Modify your environment to align with your new reality. There’s no better deterrent of change than a stagnant situation that encourages inactive behavior. Contribute to a change in scenery. It can be the accelerator for a positive attitude and behavior change.
Addictive habits die hard. It’s convenient to become stuck with (or comforted by) old lifelong habits. When unproductive routines get in the way of change, the best way to shed them is to replace them with something new.
Grow into it. Make choices in your professional and personal life as though you already have the growth you're dreaming of. That does not mean getting into debt spending “as if” you have the million dollars you’d like to have. I suggest you begin by replacing a scarcity philosophy with one of abundance and well-being.
Behaving “as if” does not mean change occurs overnight. Every day, we’re all faced with choices that will continue to promote the life we have or propel us into the life we want. By choosing to step into some of the steps above, you’ll be ready to make a decision that can help you realize your dreams sooner rather than later.
Imagine a résumé for our “subconscious”—that part of us that holds all the stuff we deny, discount, disown, bury or pretend does not exist:
Vengeful, easily victimized, lazy, bad, untrustworthy. Excel at hopelessness and rage, an expert on greed. Not creative. Never finish what I start. Stupid, a loner, damaged goods. Nurture evil thoughts. Certainly unlovable.
No one wants to admit to a dark side—it can be a frightening and shocking experience to our self-image. We spend vast amounts of energy denying and repressing this unwanted inferior self.
What many of us don’t realize is that the shadow can be a helpful aspect of ourselves that holds the key to transformation—a loyal friend bearing the gifts of depth, integrity, vitality, and wholeness—if we choose to meet it and love it.
“Perhaps all the dragons of our lives are princesses who are only waiting to see us once, beautiful and brave,” said poet Ranier Maria Rilke. “Perhaps everything terrible is in its deepest being something that needs our love.”
How the Shadow Develops
Many forces play a role in forming our shadow selves: parents, siblings, teachers, religious leaders and friends all have their part.
When little Ethan's mother entered the hospital before the birth of twins, Ethan was suddenly left alone with a new nanny during the day and put to bed by his distant father.
When his overwhelmed mother and the newborn twins came home two months later, the toddler was not-so-subtly encouraged to “be independent” and a good big brother. Anger that erupted was quickly reprimanded.
Afraid that his parents would leave or stop loving him, Ethan learned not to rock the boat. He took care of himself, became a pleaser and kept his needs and feelings to himself.
The Shadow’s Gift Revealed
Today, the single father still prefers to depend on himself, struggling with the amount of intimacy he can experience in his relationships. He smiles a lot and has trouble saying “No” to requests for help, works late into the night, and rarely takes a day for himself. He doesn’t “do” anger publicly, but at home, he sometimes explodes at his children.
Working to integrate these painful shadow elements into his conscious life is challenging, Ethan says. But doing so is helping him to stay in a profoundly nurturing relationship, from which he would have fled earlier in his life.
“I realize now how much energy it has cost me to keep this stuff underground,” he says. “What I’m working on is saying ‘Yes’ more often to myself—and teaching others by example. And I silently cheer when my children tell me how mad they are!”
These, then, are the gifts of subconscious behavior work that can benefit each of us—and the world:
• more genuine self-acceptance
• fewer adverse emotional eruptions during our daily lives
• less guilt and shame associated with our negative feelings and actions
• a more precise and accurate picture of others (uncolored by subconscious projections)
• the opportunity to heal relationships through more honest self-examination.
What’s in Your Subconscious?
Awareness of patterns is always the first step towards the treasure box that lies within your subconscious behavior. But the elusive nature of our mysterious character can make it tricky to discover the content of one's shadow. Here are some useful detective tools:
Examine your exaggerated negative feelings about others. Lo
Believe it or not, stress is not the villain it's made out to be. In small, short-term doses, stress can give an athlete the competitive edge or a public speaker the enthusiasm to project optimally. It can even boost the immune system.
However, chronic stress over time—the kind commonly encountered in daily life, such as work overload, financial difficulties, marital problems—can have significant adverse effects on nearly every system of the body, suppressing the immune system and ultimately manifesting as an illness.
The danger occurs when stress becomes persistent and consistent, a way of life. Chronic stress raises the risk of viral infection and diabetes. It can trigger severe problems for asthmatics, lead to gastrointestinal issues and cause high blood pressure, which brings an increased risk of heart disease and stroke.
To get a handle on this silent adversary, you want first to recognize that you are chronically stressed. Here are four kinds of warning signs:
Cognitive symptoms include problems with memory, an inability to focus, or feeling worried or negative all the time.
Emotional symptoms can include feeling moody, lonely, overwhelmed, unhappy or depressed.
Physical symptoms might include constant aches and pains, nausea, dizziness or a rapid heartbeat.
Behavioral symptoms might range from severe changes in sleeping or eating patterns to turning to bad coping habits such as smoking or drinking.
Your ability to successfully navigate stress depends on factors such as quality of relationships, general outlook on life, and emotional fitness. Nevertheless, the impact of stress accumulates. Just because you appear to tolerate stress well now doesn't mean it won't sneak up on you later.
Besides exercise, sleep, and healthy eating, here are a few other ways to help protect your health.
Seek activities or projects that make you feel good. For some, it's taking a bath, for others it's racing three-wheelers. Determine what's important to you and create a lifestyle that embraces and supports you.
Strive for empowered thinking. While you can't necessarily control a system, another person's behavior or others' impressions of you, you are always in control of your thoughts, actions, values, and choices.
Enjoy yourself more. Surround yourself with people who believe in you and inspire you to be the best version of yourself. Find the places, people and circumstances that authentically bring you delight, and insist on giving them a place in your life. Increasing joy can add years to your life.
A small amount of stress isn't necessarily a bad thing. However, when it's constant and negative, our minds and bodies can pay a hefty price. Chronic stress prevention indeed is the best medicine.
Rattue, G. (2012, June 28). "How Stress Helps The Immune System." Medical News Today. Retrieved from
When unfavorable situations, actions and emotional conflicts happen again and again in your life, you may find yourself in the same scene, with different characters, more often than you care to admit. If so, there’s a good chance you are in the presence of a negative “pattern.”
Some examples: constant conflict with co-workers, people-pleasing, or picking unsuitable partners/lovers.
At best, these negative patterns cause frustration. At worst, they create undue suffering, uphill struggles, sometimes even death.
The good news is: you have the power to change these negative patterns. Allow me to share with you some ways to begin disrupting your dominant negative patterns so that you can start laying down new, more positive habits. It's also helpful to keep in mind; "When you know what you don't want, you know what you do want."
Practice Your Presence.
No matter how entrenched a pattern seems, the act of noticing begins the shift away from damaging thoughts or behaviors. Simply put, you can't change what you're not aware of or when you're clueless about your harmful practices.
One way to become aware is to sit with your thoughts and watch for the patterns. The goal here is to become present, that's all. Many cognitive neuroscientists have conducted studies revealing only 5% of our cognitive activities (decisions, emotions, actions, behavior) are conscious.
In this step, focus your awareness on just the facts and feelings of the patterns. Now is not the time to let your mind wander into the analysis of "why" you have these negative patterns, as you may try to justify and defend the pattern. We can analyze later (see below); for now, stay focused and notice.
Also, ask people you trust to help you see the patterns. Our blind spots are called "blind" for a reason; we don't see them. However, your negative patterns may seem clear as day to others. My most favored approach to "practicing my presence" is mental rehearsal during morning and evening meditations.
Discover your unconscious payoffs.
Becoming aware of your negative patterns, you see evidence they are disserving, perhaps even undermining, you. For example, your habit of conflict with co-workers has gotten you fired, cost you a promotion, or transferred to another department, and now your resume reflects that pattern as well.
The key to interrupting negative patterns is to understand this: we generally don’t keep repeating behaviors unless, on some level, we get something good out of them.
These undiscovered reasons are known as "payoffs," and they either help you get more of something you want or avoid something you don't want.
In the example above, the person in constant conflict with co-workers could be using the friction to cover up deep insecurity with his/her work quality. The conflict, in effect, distracts from scrutiny.
Alternatively, the conflict could stem from uncensored outspokenness. The person may have a difficult situation at home, and being excessively frank at work may allow him/her to feel powerful and self-expressed in at least one arena of life.
Identify (and create) positive patterns.
One of the best ways to disrupt the negative patterns that may be wreaking havoc with your life is to also study the positive patterns in your life. For these can be "grafted" onto your negative patterns with great success.
For example, you can utilize the discipline you've always had around working out regularly to stop using your colleagues for the fulfillment of passive-aggressive interaction or feelings of resentment in your personal life.
Consider your negative pattern loops as triggers, raising red flags, that correlate an unconscious dismissal of your underlying core values. Reflect on the soft-spoken inner dialogue leading you to recognize any patterns which no longer serve you. Persistence in examining the positive habits in your life could be the easiest, quickest and most effective solution to overcoming the power of your negative patterns.
Welcome to Daily Success Rituals.
Join me for an an emotional fitness journey to more personal and professional lifestyle success.
My name is Anutza Bellissimo, CEO, and Founder @ The SAMI Group and your EQ Facilitator!
What will you choose to do, B and take ownership of to become the next best version of yourself?
My name is Anutza Bellissimo, your Social-Emotional Intelligence Coach and Host of Purpose Driven Platform.
“Self-awareness is the cornerstone of emotional intelligence” ~ Daniel Goleman
Emotional self awareness is the capacity to tune in to your own feelings, since innersignals, and recognize how your feelings affect you and your performance.
Which brings me to my original question; what will you choose to do today, who will you choose to be right now, and when will you take ownership of it to become the next best version of yourself?