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You can rewire the CEO inside you

We all face stressful situations in our everyday lives, be it at work or at home, and it is natural to react. How you handle those situations is important as it could affect things down the line—for example if you need a favor in the future.

Dia Draper, Workplace Evolved

Yesterday’s interactive Trademark Administrators Brunch, titled “Become the CEO of Your Mind—Maximize Your Strengths, Minimize Your Weaknesses,” taught over 200 registrants how to manage their thoughts and make better choices in a stressful situation so as to maintain focus on the bigger picture. The session was presented by Dia Draper of Workplace Evolved.

Draper, a lawyer by background, used her personal life story as an example, explaining how she learned to be self-aware. “Awareness is the first step to changing your thoughts,” she said. When we are in a stressful situation we have inner human characteristics to tap into. She said the question we should ask is: “What part of me is most effective right now to get what I want?” Think of it as a win-win game and be curious about the other person’s experience or need.

Draper said that you should see your head as a micro-organization, which includes a decision-maker, the CEO. She said it is normal to have different voices in your head dragging you in different directions when faced with a challenge or threat. You can control those thoughts by imagining the ideal CEO you would like to take a decision in that situation. So how do you do that? First it takes practice. The more you do it, the easier it becomes to do all the time.

Registrants, sitting in groups, were asked to come up with the qualities of a good and bad CEO. Draper then said you should think about who that ideal person in that difficult situation should be. Think: “Who is she or he? What do they look like? How would they act in that situation? What are their priorities and goals?” This is important because it will help you see the bigger picture and redirect your thoughts and actions in a stressful or challenging situation. You will notice you are in a stressful situation when your heart beats faster and you feel “amped up”. Your focus will be narrowed in this state. “Take a deep, short breath,” she advised.

Draper then showed registrants how to put this ideal CEO to use and take control of a challenging situation. The most important thing, which is often difficult, is intercepting your reaction ahead of time. “Stop and pick a different reaction,” she advised. Ask yourself: “What outcome do I really want in this?” If you are in a difficult conversation you should consider asking for a break to reevaluate your thoughts. “Be nice,” she said.

It is human to have reactions such as safety and survival but you can put your ideal CEO in charge to take care of it in a rational way. The session handouts and action plans are available at ­

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