Got grit? Four strategies for how system of care leaders can use their brain’s braking system to increase perseverance and personal resilience
December 28, 2013
December 28, 2013
Guest Morning Zen contributor and Network faithful Laurie Ellington of Zero Point Leadership TM continues our education on the relationship between neuroscience and leadership in systems of care. We are sharing her most recent paper on the topic in this Morning Zen post. Enjoy!
System of care leaders are people who are trying to influence positive change. How well this goes depends largely on the ability to perform under pressure and adapt successfully in the face of adversity- also known as resiliency. Effective leadership during systems change efforts requires durability, perseverance, and the capacity to resist the deleterious effects of stress within personal contexts and workplace environments. A passion and commitment to excellence is not sufficient, nor is a high IQ or talent. In addition, ignoring physical, emotional, and mental limitations leads to fatigue, malaise, burnout, and pessimism. Navigating the complex challenges involved with change while having the stamina to create a desired future seems to rely heavily on having grit and self-control to persist in the face of uncertainty and turbulence. Angela Duckworth, math teacher-turned-psychologist at University of Pennsylvania, describes grit as passion and perseverance for long term goals and the ability to stick with the future to make it a reality. She also states that “part of what it means to be gritty is to be resilient in the face of failure or adversity.” Confronting disruptive change is inevitable. Being able to regulate emotions while steering through challenges related to disruptive change is where things get a little sticky. Leaders who have been able to do this are the ones who have historically achieved our most amazing accomplishments.
Emotion regulation entails a considerable amount of personal self-control, and is arguably one of the most robust predictors of successful leadership. The capability to tap into what neuroscientist Matthew Lieberman refers to as ‘the brain’s braking system’ is what separates us from other lower primates and is also what allows human beings to invent and creatively hurdle over the most challenging obstacles. Our capacity to be gritty and dogged in spite of impulses that could derail us is very unique. This braking system in the brain that assists us in staying firm and determined to achieve a desired goal is called the right ventrolateral prefrontal cortex. Located in the prefrontal cortex, it is heavily involved in our ability to control ourselves, including the ability to regulate and control our emotions.
For system of care leaders to demonstrate grit and resiliency while encountering life’s biggest challenges, they need to be able to turn on this system and use it for self-management. In our neuroLeader MasterClass™, we provide a variety of vehicles for helping system of care leaders understand their brains so that they can use their braking system to their advantage.
Here are 4 powerful strategies we teach leaders that help them use their brain’s braking system to increase grit and overall levels of personal resilience.
What situation would you like to give a different meaning to? How would this change your emotional response and future behavior?
“If our emotional responses fundamentally flow out of interpretations, or appraisals, of the world, and we can change those appraisals, then we have to try to do so. And to not do so, at some level, is rather irresponsible.” ~ Kevin Ochsner
Click herefor easy mindfulness exercises that take less than a minute.
Want to know how mindful you are? Click here for a mindfulness assessment that takes less than 10 minutes.
Coherence can be scientifically measured and has been proven to have numerous mental, emotional and physical benefits, giving leaders more control during threatening situations. This increases access to thinking resources needed for navigating chaotic and unpredictable situations. Studies show that high levels of heart rate variability and states of coherence are associated with peak performance and the ability to achieve a state of flow.
Want to learn how to use this technology to increase your personal resilience? Click here.
To learn more about neuroLeader programs, visit Zero Point Leadership™.
Duckworth, A. (2013, April), Angela Duckworth: The key to success? Grit [Video file].
Kabat-Zinn, J. (1994). Wherever you go, there you are: Mindfulness meditation in everyday life. New York: Hyperion Books.
Lieberman, M. D. (2009). The brain’s braking system [and how to ‘use your words’ to tap into it]. NeuroLeadership Journal, 2, 9-14.
Ocshner, K. N., Ray, R. D., Cooper, J. C., Robertson, S., Chopra, J. D., Gabrieli, J. D., & Gross, J. J. (2004). For better for worse: Neural systems supporting the cognitive down and up-regulation of negative emotion. Neuroimage 23, 2, 483-499.
About Laurie Ellington
Laurie Ellington, MA, LPC, CPC, RCC is co-founder and Chief Executive Officer of Zero Point Leadership™. She believes that we can change the world by changing our thoughts and beliefs. As a NeuroLeadership Coach, Social Change Facilitator, and Inspirational Speaker, she works with people who want to take an unconventional approach to moving beyond the status quo in order to create remarkable change in their lives and organizations. Laurie combines research from neuroscience, modern physics, positive psychology, and systems thinking to help leaders, teams, and organizations utilize the power of self-awareness, presence, and insight to transform culture and mindfully improve human performance. She co-developed the Zero Point Results Model™, which is a comprehensive organizational and systems improvement framework that rests on a neuroscience and systems thinking platform.