Anatomy of an Insight From Rattled to Receiving

Ever struggle with needing an answer to a perplexing situation?

As coaches, we love those moments when we (or our clients) have those “ah ha” moments. Unfortunately, it’s difficult to have “ah ha” moments in the presence of stress.

In brain-friendly coaching, there is a sequence that our brains go through when we move from “needing an insight” to “getting the ah-ha” to “being able to act on it”:

Anatomy of an Insight

Here’s how each of the rows plays out:

  • Really Want: The need for insight often starts with the lack of it, meaning we need something—a question solved, an idea sparked, a material need fulfilled. This is the “really want” in the first row of the diagram—there is an unrealized goal, a predicament, a challenge.
  • Rattled: With the lack of an answer, we often find ourselves racking our brains, stressed, and slipping into scarcity mentality. This, of course, shoots cortisol through the system, causing us to think even less clearly and creatively.
  • Relax: To invite insight, it’s important to relax. To breathe. To shift into flow-flourish instead of fight-flight. Studies have shown that people solved problems better when they were in a higher positive mood. From here, we can use a metacognition technique, a process that puts us into an Alpha Wave state, where we block out external stimuli and reach inside for answers.
  • Receive: Often, the insight will come as a result of being in the Relax phase. With the insight, new neuro-connections are made. Relief and hope ensue, with their accompanying rush of positive neurochemicals, and we feel energized.
  • Respond: To solidify the new neural pathway, we must respond to the insight. We can write it down, talk about it, draw a picture of it, sense it with our various senses, visualize it, and describe it in greater detail. And voila, new options are created.

What’s your favorite way to calm your brain and get into that relaxed state? How do you help your clients do so?

Here’s to the ah-ha’s your brain is waiting to reveal!

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