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Encourage Your Brain: Halloween Edition

It’s the Halloween season! (And I’m wearing the fingernail colors to prove it!) So often at Halloween, we think about costumes: What will I wear? How will I dress myself (or a partner or a child)? What appeals to me and makes me smile… and why does it make me smile?!

As you think about what a costume represents, it’s an opportunity to imagine and be creative … to explore something that might be a little improbable or even impossible.

This reminds me of a fascinating conversation I had recently with a colleague who is both an executive coach and psychoanalyst. She happens to love playing at the intersection of leadership and fantasy. She explained that there is conscious fantasy, spelled with an “f” and there is also unconscious phantasy, with a “ph”.

The fantasy with an “f” represents the improbable or impossible things at the conscious level that we are aware of and could entertain becoming probable and possible. It’s easier to identify these dreams and hopes.

The fantasy with a “ph” represents the improbable or impossible things at the unconscious level — things that we aren’t yet clearly aware of that we want. It’s not as easy to identify these dreams and hopes because, obviously, we are not consciously aware of things that are at the unconscious level.

To get at something that is unconscious, we have to first want to know what these things are, and then we have to start paying acute attention to the little cues that emerge, such as an interesting dream, a slip of the tongue, our emotions, or the associative mind. Many of us don’t want to know these things because big success can feel a little scary!

So back to fantasy and thinking about things that might be improbable or impossible, I got to wondering — if I dressed up … if you dressed up … if every one of us dressed up … as our biggest, boldest, truest essence, what would that costume be?

Often, the costume will represent something that involves us using our superpowers. If you’ve done any sort of work around coaching and self-development (most of you reading this), you’ll have an idea of what your superpowers are.

But beyond knowing what your superpowers are, the real question is, “What is the super-IMPACT that your costume allows you to create in this world?”

For example, my costume might be dressing up as a New York Times bestselling author. That would use my superpowers as a writer and fascination for the intersection of coaching and neuroscience. And, the super-impact fantasy behind using those skills would be to have a global impact on humanity that allows us to train our brains to live with a deep sense of psychological safety in this world, such that we believe and experience abundance, opportunity, love, and success on a daily basis.

If it’s been challenging for you to identify that super-impact space, invite your brain to start watching for those clues — the curious dreams, the slips of the tongue, the informative emotions, the associative mind. The self-development work we do in this area aligns with the International Coaching Federation’s competency #2: Embodies a Coaching Mindset. And it will not only serve ourselves and the clients we coach, but the people we live and work with, and the world we co-inhabit!

So, what really is behind that success costume you’d love to don? What is your super-impact fantasy in terms of being able to live your Biggest, Boldest, Truest Essence of you?

Have fun pondering that … and have a Happy Halloween!

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