Know the Brain You Have to Get the Brain You Want

Re-Thinking Your Rules

The Dalai Lama XIV stated: “Know the rules well, so you can break them effectively.” Do you know your own rules? What’s the hardest one for you to break? Some Research Triangle Park, NC members of Quintiles Women Inspired Network recently attended a luncheon hosted by Raleigh Chamber of Commerce in which Jill Flynn, author of Break Your Own Rules: How to Change the Patterns of Thinking That Block Women’s Paths to Power, presented her tactics on women’s leadership. Jill’s production is an example in itself of how she and her team walk their talk. She expressed, “We have a dream. It is a big vision…it is a leap…and it is audacious: we want to see women make up at least 30 percent of the top leadership positions in corporate America within the next ten years.” She spoke with meaning, clarity, and confidence, while engaging the audience with her captivating stories.

One of the most inspiring aspects of Flynn’s presentation was the way her message put the responsibility of career advancement into one’s own hands. Instead of blaming sexism, discrimination, or other reasons for women’s historically slower career progression, she instead proposed that females themselves have rutted behavioral and thought patterns that keep them from reaching higher levels. She addressed ways in which to recognize your own patterns and then proactively break them down for positive change. Her message offered a balance of recognition of one’s past behaviors with current reality, and then offered ways to personalize solutions for advancement of the future.

For the female mind to initially hear propositions such as – take center stage, proceed until apprehended, project personal power, be politically savvy, and play to win – some hesitations arise because many intelligent women find it inherent to nurture and assist others rather than themselves. These hesitations, however, are just what Jill Flynn desires to see. They reveal the early stages of leaving one’s comfort zone. Her controversial statements demonstrate the way she grabs people’s attention and encourages a new perspective. Jill is not eliminating compassion, but emphasizing energy and confidence. For example, instead of being on either end of the extremes of modest and arrogant – rather project your personal power, take credit for your ideas, and carry yourself with assurance. Claire Beard, Sr CTA at Quintiles, stated this thought transition well: “Admittedly, I was hesitant about how open I might be to ‘take center stage’ or ‘play to win’.  My instinct to put others first came to the forefront.  However, after hearing Jill’s motivating presentation, I realized it’s not about changing who you are or what you value.  Breaking your own rules is about being proud of who you are and not being afraid to highlight your accomplishments.” When was the last time you sat down and reflected on all the great milestones you’ve accomplished?

One of my favorite idioms states, “The only difference between a rut and a grave is how deep.” Jill’s strategy offers a way to re-wire one’s negative ruts by using the double edged sword of habits by converting negative ones into advantageous ones. Do you want to re-wire your brain to speak up, learn to say “no” when you need to, and generate a network of advocates working in your favor? Start by getting to know your rules well… then break them before you dig a grave. Plus, it’s fun!


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