Your Primal Brain is Scaring the Shit Out of You

We are unable to rely on ourselves. Or to be more precise,

We don’t believe we can rely on ourselves.

It’s all based on the narrative that our brain has concocted for us. Lucky for us, narratives we tell ourselves can change

In fact, it’s easy to rely on ourselves. That you can do that thing that you’ve always wanted to do.

That you can start that business venture.
That you can start a portfolio of the work you’ve been working on in your 5–9.
That you can start a blog.
That you can go back to school.
That you can volunteer to do a project at work to boost sales.
That you can change careers.

What is holding us back is fear. The primal part of our brain doesn’t like pain, it likes survival. That part of the brain doesn’t care about anything else.

 The primal brain’s mission is to make you survive. In other words, to not fail. The primal brain sees two options.

  1. You can’t fail.
  2. You can fail.

But those options are actually these ones:

  1. You don’t try, and you don’t fail.
  2. You try. And you learn something. Or you succeed.

Nurse Bryan’s Rule for Leadership

Isn’t it easy to believe that leadership looks like some variation of Major Payne?  Muscling your way by simply telling others what to do.  Ordering others around, acting like you know what’s best.  Focusing on activities and outcomes.

Leadership is about having followers.  Having followers doesn’t require a position or a title.  Leaders are the ones who are brave enough to step up, and lead with energy, enthusiasm, and living out core values that inspire others to bring the best out of themselves.

“A new hospital administrator, holding his first staff meeting, thought that a rather difficult matter had been settled to everyone’s satisfaction, when one of the participants suddenly asked: ‘Would this have satisfied Nurse Bryan?’  At once the argument started all over and did not subside until a new and much more ambitious solution to the problem had been hammered out.

Nurse Bryan, the Administrator learned, had been a long serving nurse at the hospital.  She was not particularly distinguished, had not, in fact, ever been a supervisor.  But whenever a decision on patient care came up on her flood, Nurse Bryan would ask, ‘are we doing the best we cand o to help this patient?’  Gradually over the years, the whole hospital had learned to adopt what came to be known as “Nurse Bryan’s rule’, had learned in other words, to ask: ‘Are we really making the best contribution to the purpose of this hospital?'”

Step up and do what others aren’t willing to do.  Step up and do what makes everyone else uncomfortable. Stick up for what is right.  Challenge yourself and lead by example.  When you are willing to go that extra mile for the organization, for your colleague, for the customer, to do what is right, is when you energize others to do the same.

Excerpt from The Effective Executive by Peter Drucker