Ep #12: Entrepreneurial Brain-Keeping

 In Podcast

As an entrepreneur, your brain is the directional force for everything that does or does not happen in your business. If your brain gets messy and cluttered, so does your business. Let’s do a little brain-keeping today!

What you’ll find in this episode:

  1. The Thought Model and how it affects your ability to grow and love your business.
  2. How decision fatigue, control imbalance, mistaken tolerance and over-importance affect the cleanliness and tidiness of your brain.
  3. Why you need a coach or colleague to help you dump the weight you’re carrying around of a very messy brain.
  4. How to know if you’re in need of some brain-keeping.

Featured on the Show and Other Notes:


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Podcast Transcript

Hey everyone. I’m Kris Plachy and this is How To Lead For Female Entrepreneurs And Founders, because the best way to grow a business is to grow the person who’s running it. Let’s go ahead and get started.

Hello gorgeous. How are you today? I’m so glad you’re here. I want to talk to you about so many things. I’ve been making a huge list of podcast topics, so I’m having a fun time. I think I’ve told you this before. I think about you all the time and I recently, just this past week I booked five new one-on-one clients, which is so fun, and I’m now full for the foreseeable future. But, whenever I talk with new women and new clients, it’s just so interesting to learn about all of the unique challenges that everybody’s facing in their business, but how there’s just this common threads for all of you. Anyways, so I just gather these ideas and I’m super excited to continue to share them with you.

Today, I want to talk about something that I call brain keeping, entrepreneurial brain keeping. We hear about all sorts of things that you need to do as an entrepreneur, and you need to do brain keeping as well. First of all, this is sort of random but I want to tell you about this weekend. My daughter plays soccer, she’s a goalkeeper, she’s 14 and she’s amazing. Her team is really, really great, and we just got a new coach and everybody’s been really nervous about that. We have this opportunity this week for our new coach to guest coach before tryouts, which normally you don’t really get to play for the new coach until after tryouts. But, circumstances arose and this is how it worked out.

We played this team, and we were noticing at the beginning of the game that our team was taking a lot more shots on goal, which of course for any of you who know anything about sports, right, if you want to win, you have to try to score points. This is the plan. Right? Even in soccer, even when the scores are really low in soccer, we still have to take a lot of shots on goal just to get one in. Right? We commented sort of as a parent group, “Wow, we’re taking a lot of shots on goal,” and we sort of noted that. But after the game, so we ended up winning which was super fun, and after the game my daughter asked me, she said, “Did you notice how many shots on goal we took?” I said, “Yeah, it was really impressive.” She said, “Well, do you know how many?” I said, “No.” She said, “Well, take a guess.” I said, “Okay, 10.” I think it was like, it felt like 10. She’s like, “No, mom, 32,” and I was like, ‘Wow, that’s awesome.”

They took 32 shots on goal. How was I so off? I’ve been thinking about our brains and brain keeping. I wrote a pod, or I wrote a blog about this a couple of weeks ago, and how we’re not very good at paying attention to our own brains, which to me that was clear evidence of. Right? Like, here I am watching the game and I’m like, “Oh, there had to have been at least 10 shots on goal,” and she’s like, “32, mom.” Now, how did we know there were 32? Because the coach was counting, and not only were there 32, there were 20 in the first half and 12 in the second half. He went and he shared that with them, which of course is incredibly valuable information for a team because it creates awareness. Right? It creates this ability for us to see ourselves and for this team of young women to see how they’re doing. How well are they executing on something that he told them he wanted them to do, which was to really, really up their number of shots on goal. Even if they’re not going to make the shot, just take the shot.

It gets me to thinking about brain keeping. So much of the work that I do with my clients, right, there’s the tactical stuff that we all have to learn as entrepreneurs about running a business and helping ourselves build a team and lead and manage human capitals who are maximum benefit for the business, and frankly for yourself. There’s teaching involved. I do a lot of teaching with my clients, because most entrepreneurs have never even learned how to manage, and that’s okay. That should not preclude you from being a kajillionaire and making a lot of money and helping a lot of people because you have a business, just because you haven’t learned how to manage people. In fact, I think it’s the opposite. You just have to learn that and then you’re going to, you know, open up the sky and just really create an incredible opportunity for yourself.

But, there’s also this other entity that’s always with you as an entrepreneur, and that is your brain. Your brain is your instrument for how all things, how all blessings flow, or how all drama flows, how all problems flow. It all starts in our brain. What I find in so many of my sessions and conversations I have with my clients is, we’re just not very good at brain keeping. I use that analogy or that metaphor because I want you to think about housekeeping. Right? If you have a house, you have to do housekeeping. Right? Well, at least, I mean, I shouldn’t say you have to, but we know what happens if you don’t do housekeeping. Right? If we don’t take care of our house, if we don’t mop the floors and vacuum and dust and wash the dishes, it gets dirty. It gets dusty, it gets icky, it gets ugly, it gets untidy.

If things get lost, it’s hard to find where you put your particular papers. It’s hard to find your mail. It’s hard to find your keys. You know, it just gets harder to manage a messy home. The same is true with your brain. And so, if you, as an entrepreneur, have this brain and your brain is the center, it is the instrument that drives all of your output, it drives all of your creativity, it drives your vision, it drives your communication. If we don’t take care of it, if we don’t clean it up from time to time, if we don’t go in there and purge the stuff we don’t need anymore and add the stuff we want to keep and get and learn and know, then it makes sense that if our brain gets messy, so does our business.

We have to practice brain keeping. We have to have a process where we pay attention to not just the work we produce, the work our employees produce, the results we get in our business, but what is driving all of that that’s coming from us as the center of the business with our brain? Now, I know that if you’re listening to this podcast, it’s very likely you’ve heard over and over and over in your life some form of thoughts create results. Right? We know that this is just true, so I just wants you to believe me. Thoughts create results. Right? Everything that is in your life first started in your brain, in some form or another. But, the mechanics of that is that thoughts generate or trigger feelings, feelings trigger your action, the things that you do or don’t do in the world, and your action is what delivers the result that you get.

If you do a thing, that triggers a result, and if you don’t do a thing, if you avoid a thing, if you procrastinate, that also delivers a result. When we say thoughts lead to our results, what I want you to understand is the mechanics within that is that thoughts trigger feelings, feelings trigger action, action triggers results. As a entrepreneur and as a female entrepreneur, what I find I can connect with a lot of my clients on may not be necessarily you’re thinking all the time, but I know that I can connect with you and help you feel what you’re feeling, because that’s where most of my clients come from, especially when I first meet them. Right? There’s a lot of exhaustion, a lot of overwhelm, a lot of stress, a lot of fear, a lot of resentment, a lot of burden. Right?

Those feelings that you’re feeling oftentimes, many cases, most of the time, we believe that those feelings are coming from our circumstance, our business or our employees. Right? Or something else that’s happened in your business. But, what I want you to know is that really those feelings are coming from how you’re thinking about your business. Now, I appreciate that can be a big stretch if that is new for you and you haven’t heard that before, but just stay with me. Okay? Because, that’s the path to your ability to really, really grow your business, scale your business and love your business at the same time does not exist within the business. It exists within how you think about your business.

As soon as you really understand that at a visceral level, like it’s not just something you hear on a podcast, but that you really understand that the limitations that you put on your business really start in your brain, the relationship you have with your business starts in your brain, the way that you feel every day starts in your brain, then it gets much easier to remember that we need to do some brain keeping, because we have so many things we do every day as female entrepreneurs. Right? I like to label things a little bit, makes it a little bit easier.

But, one of the key factors that affects our brain keeping or the cleanliness of our brain, sort of the tidiness of our brain is something that I call decision fatigue. You get into a pattern every day that people rely on you to make decisions. You know, when you first walk in the office and four people ask you something, it doesn’t feel like such a big deal. But, by the time it’s 4:30 and you’ve been asked 400 questions, you’re exhausted, you have decision fatigue, and that’s actually a real thing. Your brain just doesn’t have the capacity after hours of inundation of making decisions to really be able to ferret out the right decisions, the best decisions and so forth.

Part of what we have to do is recognize that we go through this process every day of accumulating this fatigue, and if we don’t purge it, if we don’t allow our brain to go into sort of cleanse mode and let that come back out, you’re just building on it every single day. Now, there are a lot of other things I do with my clients to get out of the negative spin of decision fatigue. The reason that you’re in decision fatigue is because you are making all of the decisions, and that’s not a sustainable practice. Okay? But, that’s another podcast. Today, let’s just acknowledge that I know how many decisions you’re making in a day and that’s affecting the health of your brain.

Then, I also have this other thing I like to think about, which is control imbalance, which means you want a lot of the control of your business, but you want other people to make decisions for you, even though you’re not really willing to relinquish control. It’s this dance that you have of wanting help and needing help and wanting to trust other people to get it done, but then not really being willing to release control. To the extent that you keep doing that, then you just keep mounting all of these thoughts in your brain around what things need to look like, what they should look like. Right? I call it imbalance because I think in our brain we think we know what we want, we want a lot of help, we want people to take control, we want people to do what’s best for the business, and yet we have our own relationship with control. Which, of course starts in your thinking.

The third thing that I watch a lot of my clients struggle with that causes sort of this backup in the brain is mistaken tolerance. When you’re working with your employees and they’re getting things done, but they don’t do it the way you want, because we haven’t been very good at releasing control, then they make mistakes. Then we have a lot of intolerance, which sort of again, like, accumulates like crud around a pipe in a faucet, and we get more and more resentful or frustrated that people can’t do things like we do.

Why can’t people read our minds? Why does this have to be so hard to get work done through other people? Right? These kinds of questions that you’re just constantly pummeling yourself with. That also is part of the brain keeping process, because there’s the actual work that people do that may or may not deliver the result that you want, but then there’s the way that you’re thinking about it. What I watch in a lot of my entrepreneurs is you personalize people’s poor performance or you personalize people’s mistakes. Don’t do that. Other people’s mistakes are not personal, but just mistakes and they can be managed. Right?

Then, the last one is what I call over-importance. When you are an entrepreneur and you have a business and you’re really all in on your business, I’ve watched this happen to quite a few people. You kind of think, like, everything happens in your business is like the most important thing on the planet. I mean, I watch this because I watch people work too much. They’re overbusy, they’re overworking, they overemphasize things. They’re emotional, they’re reactive. This over-importance. I like to keep my business and what I do in this place of perspective. Like, I believe what I do with my clients really matters. I believe in doing a great job. I believe in offering incredible value. I believe in being all in when I’m with my client. But, I do not believe that what I do is the most important thing on the planet.

The most important thing on the planet to me is that people are fed and, you know, whales aren’t dying. I don’t know. Right? Like, I put things in perspective that helps me, when things don’t go well, not get so wrapped around the axle. Because, I just watch you lose your mind, lose your sleep, lose relationships because of the over-importance that you’re putting on your business. If you’re hearing that and you’re getting defensive, then I want you to understand yourself there. Like, why? It’s okay. Things are going to go sometimes well, sometimes not well. Right? It’s like my girlfriend and coach and mentor and overall person, Brooke Castillo, says it’s the 50/50. Right? Some things are amazing, some things are horrible. Some things go well, some things go terrible. It’s how we roll.

Let’s watch out for the over-importance because, again, when I first work start working with clients, they’re just so consumed by their business. Now, when I first start working with a client, sometimes it’s almost like, you know the show hoarders. I walk into their brain and it’s like, holy moly, there’s stuff in here that’s been in here since 1982. Right? Not everybody’s like that. I’m being a little facetious. You know what I mean by that. But, if you haven’t worked with a coach or a colleague who will serve as a coach who will help you dump out all of the thinking that you have, all of the thoughts that you have about your business and your employees. If you haven’t done that, then you really are carrying around the weight of a very messy brain, which would be like living in a house, like trying to walk into your office and it’s literally full of boxes and you can barely find a place to sit. It’s just not a way to be constructive and productive. The same thing is true when we do that with our brain. Right?

How do we know we need some brain keeping? Well, one of the first things I’d like you to ask yourself is, are you in integrity with yourself? Now, I’m going to be doing a podcast here in the future on values and that will tie back to this nicely. But, you have things that are important to you, and what I find happens when we don’t do our brain keeping, we start to get out of alignment to what has integrity for us, like, who we want to be. One of the first things you can do is just ask yourself, where am I out of integrity? Where am I out of integrity with myself, with my clients, with my employees, with my body, with my money, with my vendors? Right? Where is there a friction, a tension, if you will, that you can feel like, okay, I have a lot of negative emotion in this relationship, so whether it’s with myself, when I think about myself, I’m really mad at myself and feel really insecure, uncomfortable, or when I think about my employees or when I think about my clients? That’s how we know like, okay, we got to do some work on our brain, and we’ve got to clean that up. Okay?

The second thing is, how are you feeling? Right? Like I mentioned already, in my experience, women who haven’t done a lot of brain keeping are anxious. They feel insecure. They have a lot of fear. They have a lot of avoidance and procrastination behavior. They’re defensive. You might be closed minded, like you’re not even willing to hear new ideas, which can happen. You’re stressed out and you’re overwhelmed, and any other litany of those. But, really, those emotions you guys, that’s an indication that you are heavy in thought, heavy in beliefs, heavy in sentences that are running through your brain that are perpetuating negative emotion. I know that what you think is the way out is changing parts of your business, getting new employees, firing that employee. But, truly the way out is changing the way that we currently think about your circumstances, your current circumstances as they are, and then we can build a much more robust business model and plan that aligns with what you want. But, if you were to do that out of where you are right now, you’re not going to get what you want.

Some of the other things that I would love to have you think about. Right? What is it that drains you? I think about this, years ago when I first started learning coaching, we used to do something called the energy drain exercise. We had this sheet of paper and you would walk around your house and you would write down things that every time you looked at it made you go, “Ugh.” Right? Like, even as I’m recording this, I can tell you that out of my peripheral vision I can see a box of copy paper, and it’s huge and I think it weighs 400 pounds, and that might be an exaggeration, but I swear to God it’s so heavy. I had it delivered and then I brought it into my office and it just sat there and I have not put it away, and it just keeps bugging me. It’s an energy drain because it just siphons off a little bit of my energy. Right?

Now, if my coach knew that, what I would really want for my coach is to say, “First of all, why have you not moved the box? Seriously, what is the deal? Move the damn box. Right? Let’s get the box moved immediately,” and that’s the kind of thinking, because it’s just so easy to ignore it. My first question is, what are your energy drains? You can walk around your house with a piece of paper and just, or your office. I work from home so that’s why I think about my house. But, when you’re in your office and just look around. What is draining you? It could be the lamp that’s on your desk that you’ve hated for three years. Right? We have to do a little extra excavating to understand the relationship that we have in our mind with everything that is around us and how we start to, which is my second question, tolerate. Right?

What are you tolerating because you’re not doing the work in your brain? It’s just easier to not deal with it. But then, what I want you to see is that you really are dealing with it in your brain all the time. We think it’s easier to put things off. That is not true. One of my mentors said to me 20 years ago, gosh, it was probably even longer than that, 25 years ago, “Stress is created by the things we don’t do.” Right? So, when we think and think and think and think and think and think and think and think about things, that’s where we need to do our brain keeping, and that turns into tolerating, which is not abundant. There’s nothing abundant about that.

What do you do to refuel? Do you have a refueling process, not just for your body, but for your brain? Where are you spinning? Like, if you were like a computer, you would just have this little thing that’s just like waiting, waiting, waiting, waiting because you’re just not taking action. You’re not making decisions. Where are you spinning? What decisions are undone? It’s like you’ve half made them but you haven’t executed, or you’ve completely ignored them. Where do you procrastinate?

Then lastly, I would really invite you to think about and write down, what do you feel every day? How do you feel at work? If those feelings are primarily what we would call negative, then it’s time for some brain keeping. Right? You’ve got to go through and really, here’s the best news. Once you identify how you feel, once you identify the decisions you haven’t made, once you identify what you’re avoiding or procrastinating, once you identify where your drains are, then we take the brain, just like we would take a room in a house and we look at it and we say, “Okay, what’s in here? What is this? What’s in this box?” We open it and we look at all of the thoughts that you have. Oh, I have to keep that lamp in my office because I got it when I first started and it’s a good luck charm. Okay, but it makes you feel like ass now. Do we want to keep the lamp? No, let’s throw out the lamp. Great. What are your thoughts about your money? What are you thoughts about yourself? What are your thoughts about your employees? What are your thoughts about your clients?

We’re going to take these all out and we’re going to look at them, and we’re going to decide with intention what we want to believe instead of what we’ve been believing, sort of unsupervised, just like my daughter and me, we watching her soccer game, I was not supervising my thoughts about how many shots on goal they took and so I thought there were 10. The coach was supervising and paying attention and he knew there were 32. When we give intentionality and we give our brain something intentionally to focus on, it’s a game changer. What you’re dealing with right now with, if you’re like most people, is you don’t do brain keeping and so your brain is just giving attention to the things, the low hanging fruit because that’s what we do, and that’s what’s causing so much of the drama in your brain and possibly even taking that into your business.

We’ve got to all do a little brain keeping. Start with the questions I gave you, and then if you always, always, if you want to take that to the next level, you can reach out to me at krisplachy.com/appointment, we can have a 20 minute consult and talk through what I do with my clients and see if there’s a good fit for what you need right now in your business. Thanks for tuning in.

Hey, don’t miss a thing. Make sure you join my community at krisplachy.com/connect. Once you join, you’ll get all the information on exclusive and private experiences that I’m offering to my clients. I can’t wait to see you there.

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