Striving For Success

Who are you meant to be?‚Äč

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No More Excuses

Posted on January 4, 2019 at 5:13 PM Comments comments (36)
We can no longer use the past to excuse behavior in the present! 

No matter what our past experiences were, how troublesome our childhood was, or what failures we have experienced in previous jobs, new experience can create new neural circuitry in the brain and override existing patterns. Even after years of troubled relationships, self- destructive behaviors, or the inability to assert ourselves in relationships or at work, we still have the capacity to become the people we are meant to be.
Your brain is capable of changing from emotionally driven, automatic, survival
behaviors, to new patterns of behavior by forming new pathways in the brain. You
can reprogram your self-defeating and self-limiting behaviors, and your automatic

negative thoughts, and self-limiting behaviors. You can attain a new level of self-awareness, emotional management and self-determination. 

Build Training and Development Programs with the Brain in mind!

Posted on September 7, 2016 at 9:21 PM Comments comments (19)

Each year, billions of dollars are spent on employee development, yet 62% of businesses report that they are without the skills they need to grow and succeed. It was estimated by the American Society for Training and Development that U.S. organizations spent nearly $78.61 billion on the internal learning function, and the remainder ($47.27 billion) was allocated to external services. 

Despite employees attending training sessions in record numbers, these reports also indicate that those billions do not always improve the workplace because the skills often do not transfer to the actual job. When staff members fail to apply what they were meant to learn, organizational leaders are frustrated by the obvious ineffectiveness of these costly training initiatives.

Although leaders in organizations want to develop their people and are willing to invest in them, they are puzzled when employees do things the same way as before their training. In addition, leaders and employees who want to develop are frustrated when they cannot use what they have learned during their training. 

Our research shows that more time is spent considering workshop content than whether employees will be able to implement new learning once the training is over. Although most leaders believe that once you learn something you should change your behavior, development requires the conscious application and repetition of new skills over time. 

It also requires that any emotional barriers to learning are addressed. In addition, how we feel about our learning experiences and our ability to keep using new skills when we feel uncomfortable or embarrassed to try are key factors to the success of learning.

Few trainers and educators understand how the brain develops and what it actually takes to create new habits of mind. Often it includes changing emotionally driven behaviors and unconscious habits of mind that get in the way of development and behavioral change. Although we love to learn about how to improve and develop ourselves, taking in such information is a passive activity, and actually changing our behavior is an experiential one. Based on an integration of the latest findings in brain development and century-old personality type theory, we now understand that these two activities are governed by different areas of the brain.

As humans, we are meant to develop. However, we are likely to continue to waste billions annually when we do not expect those tasked with our development to understand the mechanics of our mind, how our brains develop, and how emotions get in the way of successful implementation of new learning. By looking at some common beliefs about training, you are better prepared to set up the circumstances for sustainable development to happen.

Employee and leadership development programs should be thought of as personal because employees are–first and foremost–persons. Performance and capability are ultimately dependent not only on what people know and can do, but also on how they feel, their attitudes, their levels of emotional maturity, and their psychological needs. The personality of the employee and how his or her brain is wired affects how the employee will engage in the learning process.

Finally, programs need to change from cognitive- and information-driven approaches in a workshop or training session to ongoing, experiential learning activities that engage the emotions of the employees positively in various settings, including the workplace. If these critical pieces are left out of training and development efforts, organizational leaders will continue to be frustrated and workers are unlikely to reach their full potential. And loss of potential translates to losses for the bottom line.

As former General Electric CEO Jack Welch once declared, “If you’re not thinking all the time about making every person more valuable, you don’t have a chance. What’s the alternative? Wasted minds? Uninvolved people? A labour force that’s angry or bored? That doesn’t make sense.”

Avoidant Leader

Posted on January 26, 2016 at 4:29 PM Comments comments (12)
Have you ever experienced the frustration of trying to get things done with a leader who avoids making decisions and getting involved? Or a leader who regularly tolerates poor performance?

Indecisive or, as we like to call them, Avoidant Leaders are focused on productivity and the needs of the business. They are self-directed, highly functional and independent. They know what they want to achieve and do extremely well when working on their own. They can be in a senior role in an organization or are a successful entrepreneur.

Yet with all their success, the Avoidant Leader tends to abdicate authority to others and avoids making decisions.

They don’t get involved with their employees unless they have to and will work behind a closed door. They may present an attitude that says “I am so busy, don’t bother me” or meet employee requests with annoyance in their voice. They don’t realize that their failure to address underperformance issues alienates high performers while their fear of making wrong decisions impedes those who are dependent on their leadership.

So how do you survive this dysfunctional leadership style? Here are 3 helpful tips:

Don’t react to their behaviour. Strong emotional reactions will cause Avoidant Leaders to withdraw further so respond, don’t react.
Make the Cost of Avoidance clear. Step into his shoes and try to understand what he or she really cares about. That way you can show that what he wants to accomplish is at risk.
Ask for what you need. Ask for what you need and avoid harshly detailing what's wrong with them in doing so.

This post was co-written by Anne Dranitsaris, Ph. D. & 

What are you afraid of?

Posted on September 23, 2014 at 8:14 PM Comments comments (26)

Our behavior changes when our innate fear is
being triggered, whether we are aware of it or
not. Fear pushes us into the emotional part of our
brain, leaving us at the mercy of our impulses and
unconscious habits of mind that have been hard‐
wired into our brain through our conditioning
and experiences.

The following are the eight distinct psychological
fears as well as the key impact on your behavior.
By understanding the motivation and need
attached to the fear, we can stop acting out of the

‐ Innate Need: To Be In Control
~ Associated Fear: Feeling Helpless or Powerless

‐ Innate Need: To Be Knowledgeable
~ Associated Fear: Being Inferior

‐ Innate Need: To Be Recognized
~ Associated Fear: Shame

‐ Innate Need: To Be Perceptive
~ Associated Fear: Disconnection

‐ Innate Need: To Be Connected
~ Associated Fear: Abandonment

‐ Innate Need: To Be Creative
~ Associated Fear: Assimilation

‐ Innate Need: To Be Spontaneous
~ Associated Fear: Loss of Freedom

‐ Innate Need: To Be Secure
~ Associated Fear: The Unknown

Learn more about your needs so you can overcome your fear. 


Posted on August 31, 2014 at 9:48 PM Comments comments (25)


The truth is that most of us just don’t understand
our own needs, fears, and habits of mind very
well, so we sabotage ourselves by living life at
less than full throttle. We let our fear define and
decide what experiences we will have and what
we will say, because we are afraid of stirring up
emotions in others or ourselves. Over time, we
may accept this compromise as living, when,
unknown to us, all we are really doing is living
life on autopilot and trying not to rock the boat.

Our innate fears are varied. They are based on
our strongest motivations (striving energies) and
their associated psychological needs. We are
conditioned to judge our fears rather than to
examine them and ask ourselves the purpose of
the feeling. Only through understanding the
motivation and need attached to the fear, can we
stop acting out of the fear.

Fear Part 2

Posted on August 23, 2014 at 1:30 AM Comments comments (12)
But I Should Not Be Afraid


Most of the advice that you will receive about our
fears is how to control, deny, rationalize or
overcome them. The reality is that fear occurs
naturally, out of our conscious control. It is the
body’s warning system that there is a threat.

Often our fears are associated with past
experiences as our negative emotional memories
are stored in the brain. We tend to fear those
things that we have experienced that have caused
us pain and suffering in the past. We can tell
ourselves that we don’t feel things but the reality
is that we have pushed it so far out of our
awareness that we blindly keep going forward
despite being warned to the contrary.

We mistakenly believe our fear is not going to
return because we tell ourselves we should not be
afraid. We call ourselves names, tell ourselves we
are stupid for feeling afraid, all to no avail. We
need to have the experience of fear and then
figure out why we feel afraid. For example, if I
most fear embarrassment, I may reflect on what
the consequences are for feeling this. 
Why I am unable to tolerate the emotion? 
How do I live in my experience instead of fearing what I might