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Leadership and the Brain

Your ability to manage your brain is your most important skill. When you understand the animal origins of your dopamine, serotonin and oxytocin, you have power. Your happy chemicals are wired by past experience so they're hard for your verbal brain to make sense of. Mirror neurons also shape our responses in ways that are not obvious to the verbal brain. To be a good leader, understand your own responses.

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Leadership and the Brain

  1. 1. Leadership and the Brain Loretta G. Breuning, PhD Loretta@InnerMammalInstitute.org Inner Mammal Institute dopamine endorphin oxytocin serotonin
  2. 2. Managing your brain is the skill beneath all other skills
  3. 3. It’s hard because we have two brains
  4. 4. 1. The verbal cortex 2. The limbic system inherited from earlier mammals
  5. 5. Your mammal brain cannot process language. It responds with chemicals
  6. 6. It releases happy chemicals when it sees something good for you dopamine endorphin oxytocin serotonin
  7. 7. It releases unhappy chemicals when it sees something bad for you cortisol
  8. 8. Your mammal brain can’t tell you in words why it’s releasing chemicals
  9. 9. Your verbal brain doesn’t control the chemicals
  10. 10. So how can you find your power
 to lead yourself and others?
  11. 11. 1. Your happy chemicals evolved to promote survival, not to make you happy
 2. Your chemicals are wired from past experience,
 but new wiring can be built from repetition 
 3. Mirror neurons fire when we see others experience
 rewards and threats
  12. 12. 1. Your chemicals evolved to reward survival action, not to flow all the time for no reason When you know how they work in animals, our impulses make sense
  13. 13. Dopamine is the expectation of a reward A reward is a way to meet an UNMET need
  14. 14. Dopamine releases energy when you approach a reward Each step closer to a goal stimulates more dopamine
  15. 15. Think about what you do to trigger dopamine in your life It keeps you focused on the unmet need
  16. 16. Oxytocin is the pleasure of social trust Our brain makes careful decisions about when to trust
  17. 17. Oxytocin is released when it’s safe to lower your guard When you’re separated from the herd, your oxytocin falls
  18. 18. Think about what you do to trigger oxytocin in your life It keeps you focused on the herd
  19. 19. Loretta Graziano Breuning PhD, Inner Mammal Institute © 2015 Serotonin is the pleasure of social dominance
  20. 20. Loretta Graziano Breuning PhD, Inner Mammal Institute © 2015 Serotonin is not aggression but a calm sense that “ I will get the banana ”
  21. 21. Think about what you do to trigger serotonin in your life It keeps you focused on social importance
  22. 22. 2. Our happy chemicals are wired by
 past experience. To rewire, feed your
 brain new experiences repeatedly.
  23. 23. We repeat behaviors that stimulated our happy chemicals in the past because experience built a pathway dopamine endorphinoxytocinserotonin
  24. 24. To build new pathways, design a new way to get rewards and repeat a lot
  25. 25. The electricity in your brain will have a new place to flow
  26. 26. 3. Mirror neurons activate when we 
 see others experience
 happy or unhappy chemicals
  27. 27. Choose your companions carefully
  28. 28. Don’t reward bad behavior because everyone will notice
  29. 29. Your power over your brain’s responses to the world…
  30. 30. You can learn to notice old pathways and design new ones
  31. 31. You can lead others to trigger good feelings in healthy ways
  32. 32. You can create new ways to feel good!
  33. 33. books podcasts videos infographics training certification slide shows (incl this) 5-day Happy-Chemical InnerMammalInstitute.org The Inner Mammal Institute has the resources you need to make peace with your inner mammal
  34. 34. Loretta@InnerMammalInstitute.org contact me
  35. 35. horses lead from the center
  36. 36. how to manage frustration
  37. 37. cortisol
  38. 38. New paths to dopamine
  39. 39. Plan many goals so you can keep stepping even when one path is blocked Plan a short-run goal, a long run goal, and a middle term goal to keep feeling good
  40. 40. Small steps are enough if you keep taking them
  41. 41. New paths to serotonin
  42. 42. Take pride in each step

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