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The Leadercast Podcast
The Leadercast Podcast

Episode · 3 years ago

3: How To Get Your Brain Off of Autopilot w/ Chris Barez-Brown

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

How busy are you?

Do you wear your busyness as a badge of honor, always looking for ways to fill up the tiniest bit of room in your schedule?

Chris Barez-Brown, author of Wake Up! believes that most people are so busy that they are on autopilot from the time they open their eyes in the morning to the time they close them at night.  Their brain is so used to their routines and patterns that they are not fully present in the moment.

There is nothing wrong with filling your day with meaningful activities, but it’s tough to make the conscious choice to pay attention to your world around you.  So how do you snap out of this autopilot mode even when you are doing things you enjoy like spending time with friends and family?

Chris wrote Wake Up! For these exact reasons, and he lives for helping people become more happy in the world around him.  In this episode of the Leadercast Podcast, Chris talks about writing his book, the concept of being on autopilot, and balancing the conscious & subconscious parts of our brain.

This is the leader cast podcast, helping you be a leader worth following. Hey everyone, and welcome to another episode of the leader cast podcast. I'm Haley Panagakus, your host for this episode and content manager here at leader cast, and I am thrilled to welcome back one of our past leadercast live speakers, Chris Brez Brown. So, Chris is an author, he's an entrepreneur and he's not only the founder of upping your Elvis, which is a creative leadership consultancy firm, he's also best selling author of several books, including his most recent wake up, escaping a life on autopilot. Our listeners probably remember Chris from years past. As I said, he's a past leadercast live speaker. We've had the pleasure of having him on our stage at leadercast live two thousand and sixteen and we are also so honored to have them join us on our leader cast now leadership video library platform, where he shares his wisdom and insights on creativity. So, Chris, welcome. It's an honor to have you back with our audience. Hey, great to be medeahity. So you have an interesting backstory. Can you start just by telling me a little bit about your backstory and how you got into the business of creative consulting. Sure, I mean none of this stuff makes sense unless you join over with bough. Looking back to the I'm at what out sixteen. I joined the alliable places. What I se you realize I was way more of a love and a fighter. So it didn't last long. And then, I think you know, I did whatever was right. I got my degree, I got my first job, the first job actually like the first one I would actually good at, and I found myself knowing that I didn't want to do it for the rest of my life. But I had no idea what I wanted to do. And I was. I was running the biggest brand in Europe at the time. We just won brand of the year, of the first billion pound brand. We tell value as a fast track scheme. I should have been delighted, but I had this itch with itch that would not go away. So end up sorrowing over the in I went traveling, I read everything I could on creativity, on innovation, on personal development, and really...

...that's when I fell in love with what I do today, because I needed inspiring possibility for my life. So when I way, I explored the loves of stuff and came back and then just got really keen on applying it. And when I came back to have my marketing consultancy, which is Great Fun, but I also was teaching Waiki and I really like the combination of this kind of more esoteric, hitty energy work with the more creative marketing and I then joined a little start up and innovation consults he called what if, and I came in as the partner to set up the capability practice there, where I helped the biggest and the best companies in the world get better innovating, and I'm after ten years of doing that, I realized that actually, I want to spend a lost time doing the tricky clever stuff for the specialist. I wanted to spend more time helping everybody wake up every morning loving who they were, loving what they did, wing more than idea and more than unique character to play. And that's when I set up up in your Elvis and I guess the rest of his history. So that's you starting and I think your Elvis, but I inspired you to try wake up particular. What led to that? Yeah, good questions. So I work with all sorts of the boards and CEOS around the world for lots of companies go well, from you leave us an ike to ad agencies to pharmaceuticals, and one thing that strikes me that's incredibly similar with all of them is everyone's very busy and I'm trying to help me become more creative, more aware, and they help them colibrate better. And the first thing that a lot of them do when I wake up in the morning is they check their email and oftenly do that in bed or brushing their teeth or before breakfast. The next time they're conscious, the next time they're aware of who they are, they're back in bed and the day has happened to them. They've been so busy. That is so far and it's almost impossible to be a good leader like that. So why I want to do is work out how to get them to get back from that busyness become more conscious so they can answer the question. What's needed here now. What's needed here today is not what we needed yesterday. You know, everything is changing so fast, so we need people to be more tuned the world around them or choose themselves and want to shoot to the people they're working with if they're going to do great work, and that's what wake ups about. It about getting off that author pilot so we can answer the big question what we did here. That's are so before we get into the specifics...

...around the book, I mean the title is wake up escaping a life on auto pilot, and you've just mentioned auto pilots. I'm curious how exactly you did fine auto pilot. Well, I think we've all have an experience of driving along distance and arriving at the destination and we can't remember large chunks of the journey. And that happens for a really important reason, and it's also do with how the brain functions. Now, that conscious brain, which she's which is what we use often when we are trying to work things out from press principles, is is fantastic at logic and analysis, rtionality. The other problem is that it uses loads of energy. Right, so it's like a V eight gas guzzling machine. But we all know that because if we have a type to learn the language or an instrument we hire quite quickly, what we do is we try and save energy by twitching to the more fuel efficient past for a like sub conscious. Now the subconscious is efficient because the way that it says energy is there's something really smart. It looks around us, I says, have I seen something like this before? If it looks maybe familiar, I'm going to assume it's exactly the same as last time and therefore I'm going to behave exactly the same way, thus saving processing power and energy. So when you get in your car, you see in there, you look at the steering wheel, look at the roads, look at seat and go, Hey, I've done this before. Hey, the subconscious can take over, we can just get those habitual patterns and actually we can drive quite literally on autopilot. So we'll perfectly say but we save US energy. Now, the problem with this is that it doesn't just happen when we drive. It happens every day we do anything vaguely familiar, anything vaguely routine, such as going to the same office, chicken at the same desk, doing the same work, actually going home, being with our loved ones, you know, sitting at the same time for dinner. In fact, reading our lives, we tend to use habitual pattern and routines. Therefore, we spent a huge change from that time watter. Part of the research that we did for our book suggest that we spend up to around eighty percent, eight zero prestent of our life on Alto Product. Wow, but some reason, because I'm energy but it's a terrible way of living if the world is changing as far...

...as it is today. You know, what we need to be able to do is escape it a few times a day just to check in and go actually amy, using my using parents in the best way in this unique situation that is now. HMM. That so interesting and I love that in the book that you talk about how I mean the subconscious mind. Of course it has its purpose. So does the conscious mind, as you just mentioned, and in the book you talk about how the subconscious mind may protect us and save us on energy, but it can be it can be a hindrance to leaders, that can distruct us day dreams and, of course, keep up our pilot. And I'm remembering back to the cast live two thousand and sixteen and you were talking about how the conscious mind is. It's not. It's very for going, for through to do this, but it's not so great and tapping into that creative genius that we all strive for. So yeah, obviously they both have their pros and cons, but I'm curious what an efficient mind looks like in your opinion and of what we as leaders can do to achieve that. Yeah, so for me feel about balance. Right. So, if we are purely conscious, we are stricted to probably about five percent of our overall processing and we will be exhausted. So we can't possibly do that all time. Equally, people purely subconscious, we're like animals, right. We are not using that completely higher functions. We are just purely the acting of things on the instinctive racist. And obviously you needn't have to an expert to know that neither one of those on the spectrum are going to be particularly useful for us as the leader. Now the question is when? When do you tap into the conscious person of the subconscious and vice versa? When you upwate them? So there are times in our day that we need to just get very clear on who we are, where we're going, what's important to us, what's the big thing we need to achieve, and therefore I think you need to be incredibly conscious to make those tuitions. Then, however, when you are delivering it, you're naturally going to get your subconcious starts to take over to save energy, but also to happen a little bit more into that intuitive gut field that we all need when we're doing our work right, because if we're just using the conscious were are you going to do what...

...we've done before and we're going to be at tired. So it's about, you know, getting the balance right and getting the timings right for each one. So you know, if you're doing stuff which is brand new and it needs lots of analysis and rationale, you have to be conscious. If you've been created, however, you've got to relax more and get more than subconscious parent having. So the best leaders know has to navigate that. Now the biggest problem, I suppose, that we have is that it was so busy. These days not so much going on, but naturally energy preservation stuff will come a bit of a priority and therefore, regardless of what we're doing, we know that subconscious is going to start take over and push it in towards the pilot, which means we're going to be looking for habitual patterns and we seeing things we've done before and we're going to hope that there's answers in that for today. So for me, one of the biggest challenges is just making sure that we are. We get awareness, we escapewards of pilot a few times a day in the right way to make sure that when Autofi it does kick in, we're going the right direction. Hey, that's great advice. So the book you also talk about our caveman brains and how our minds really haven't evolved that much since the done of our existence. Can you explain this further and how our brains are like pre wire to be fearful? Yeah, sure, so. So I've ways have only developed by about ten percent in the last fifty Pero years. So basically it's designed for to live in a cave right now as a case n or cable and your number one party of the morning is survival. So what we've developed is this fantastic survivor technique. If we see a Bush rustling in the distance, as a cave menal cap women, we naturally assume it's a TI runo source rctors coming to eat this. Now, if nine times out of ten it's our friends bob coming back from a hunting party, it doesn't matter because the one time it is something dangerous, it was good to react that way. So we've developed this this very wrong negativity bias. If we see something that could be dangerous, we just assume it is. And not only do we assume it is, we assume it is incredibly quickly. We've developed a hair trigger because actually, if...

I see the rustling of the Bush and I react just a bit quicker than my friend next to me, chart is our I survive and they don't. So we have this hard wired into our brain. INTI on your kind of system. So that was good at fifty pero go, because there were real dangers around. A serfect day today the less. So I'm very grateful to that. However, we have the same programming. So instead of US worrying about things rustling in the bushes and T rexes, current weakness, we get fearful about anything you. It could be ideas, it could be changed, it could be people who are new to us, and we naturally assume that there is danger involved in those. So we are hard wired to see things negatively. Now, when you're conscious and when you're attuned and when you're censified to your star from the world around you, you don't react to these things, but when auto pilot is taking over, it's a little more instinctive and therefore, what happens is your your have experiences and you will react immediately to them as if they are threats and dangers. Often, obviously, they're not. Often their opportunities. HMM. Well, I think that's so interesting because we know that leadership requires, I mean often requires, taking risk, whether that's, you know, you're starting around company or whatever the case may be. So leaders have to combat that instinct of fear and I guess getting off of autopilots the way to do that absolutely because if you're look about it, you're always going to be fearful, you always going to react very, very instinctively and just see the danger as opposed to the possibility. So it's absolutely key to scapeboards, to part it if you're going to embrace any change at all. So what's the biggest challenge you found as people try to get off auto pilot? I'm sure that you've incounted a lot of people after your book was released to early and to get off other pilots. So what's the biggest challenge? Addiction. I would say addiction. So, you know, so many people are addicted to busyness. You know, I think I think running Brown said, you know, the day that we do workshops for busy a holics. We're going to need stadium and I think she's has to be right.

You know, people are addicted to Stinulus, to being in demand, to having a lot to do, to being just running and hanging wild and out, and you know, they really get a kick from it and it's they get this little go from and kicking their head and if you're fantastic, it feels like they're needed and that actually succeeding. The truth of it is obviously, you know, quite quite opposite to that. Often they're doing the wrong stuff. Often are wasting their energies. You know, often there are again surely reacting to things as opposed to thinking what's needed here. So so breaking people out of that addiction of business is it's quite a part, especially when society values it so much, organizations value it so much. You know, if somebody you know I'm working as a senior leader in the organization, for me is hey, how are you doing now? The thing, you know what? I'm great. I had a couple of outs to think this morning. Everyone would be throwing pay for cups of them. By that point they're going in. What ye had to honest think, oh my God, yeah, if you got nothing happening, we're valuing the wrong stuff. It's absolutely crazy, all right. So breaking out of that mindset and breaking out of that cultural law is probably the biggest challenge. But the interesting thing about it is that actually, when you do wake up and when you do scale forward to pilot, it's something it can be equally addictive. So once people get a sense for the value that it can create in their lives and the difference in the quality of their thinking, their relationships, actually their enjoyments of their days, that actually they never want to go back. They've realized that it's something that, you know, it's just too valuable to let go off. Right. So I guess it's like any habit you know have. It's what take two weeks to break. So once you get off auto pilot, you know you have the habit of staying off the pilot. I'm sure. Yeah, I'm not sure. I believe in it takes two weeks break a habit on a lot of people believe it to two weeks. Also, I recently give up from alcohol for sixty eight days because I heard it was sixty...

...six with the sweet spot, and then since then, I resource and it really depends on who you are, what you're trying to break and how ingrained it is, and it could be hundreds of days to break it happen. So it's a little bit more complex than that, but you absolutely right. With with any new behavior that you're trying to take on, there is a certain amount of times that you need to make it a part of who you are, which is why we've got wake up the book, but we've also got wake up the APP, because what we realize was we need to even to live this every day in a very simple way where they can get little bit for stimular little things that they can do and they can write how they are doing, like trying out some exercises, and they're will. You need the APP to be the companion with a book, and we found that it's a much easier way to get any great habits and just reading alone. Yeah, that's awesome, and so everyone should definitely check out to APPs. It's got additional resources and learning. So, thinking back to your cast live two thousand and sixteen, you shared a three key steps to getting off of auto pilot and one was breath better. To was have fun and then the third you mentioned was step away from our busy lives once a day to check in with ourselves. Is there anything new you would add to this list? Now we know we put experiments, we have thousands of people take part in it and and in the book I came up with this before, things that you could do right. The range from physical to mental, Imational, spiritual, kind of excited. And now since then on the APP, people have been generating their own content and their own experiments. So we've got piles and more experiments that for say, it kind of pends us who you are, on what you find you get most patting from, but I certainly find there are some that have really helped me. What one for me, if I love spending the first ten minutes every day outside without any phone, without any distraction. I just sit quietly and spend time thinking about you know where I am, what's important to me, where I'm going, you know, setting a good intention for the day, knowing full well I will get busy, I will get alto pilot, but at least if I start the day with that clarity, in that right energy, I'm going to feel much better. So...

...first time it's outside every day is just a killer wake up exercid. I love it. That's one. One of what absolute favorites came as very surprise. We had a lot of bloggers take part in these exercises for a year just to see the impetantly had on them, and we had one guy who who run a pub, was very tough up when, in fact he said that where he came from, people express their emotions with their fifth is that kind of background. One of our challenges was was what he really hated, the idea he's feelings the scarest challenge he's ever had. We just asked him to fight one person that he worked with every day and share what he loved about them. And for him this was way to if the you know, in a bigness. But he what he did it and he absolutely loved it and he was so surprised because a few things happened. Not Number One, obviously he got deeper relationships with the people that he worked with and obviously it's spread, you know, good comic vibes around the place. But most importantly, he said, you know, when he starts to look for the great in people and you start to look for what you love in them, we see it more often every day. He said that those and as more UNICORNS. That I absolutely love that. So anything to do with relationships and appreciation. You know I'm a big, big fan off. HMM, that's awesome. I was going to ask if you had any examples of stories of people or organizations who have used these experience and seeing any positive results in their leadership. Mean that that's one examples. I don't know if you had any additional stories to go we have. So following up, I was working out in Barsl recently and I came across the guy hadn't seen for a few years and we've been experimenting with we wake up last time we work together. One of the challenges would wake up is you find your body clock for a week and when if you fully your body clock for a week, you basically eat when you want to eat, you sleep where you want to sleep, you exercise with R side, you don't have any any watches, a crops around you whatsoever. Anyway, this guy did that exercise for a week and he was fascinated because what he realized, well, he was leading his life based upon his calendar, his business, his family and everybody else making the wrong on...

...him. In truly society and when he listened to his body what he needed to do, he realized actually he had very specific biolism, he had a very specific energetic flow to the way that he thought and the way he lived, and the more he chewed into it and actually lives in about the better his rights became. So when I saw him he said, you know, the last year what he does? Everybody gets up, he watches dog and he settled that morning doing thinking work, creative work, experiency work, and he does it on his own. It really seems you right. Then in the afternoon he goes into his office and he has meetings all afternoons, which really sees you. He said it's completely changed life. He is pen times more productive, ten times more happy because actually he's tuned into the way that he works and he's got the world to fit to him, robbing him fishing for the world. So I think that's a cracking example. Yeah, I think that's a great example of why it's just so incredibly important for readers in particular to get off auto pilot and be conscious. You shared so many great tips and stories to really appreciate it. was there anything that you like to touch on that I'm that I missed or anything that I haven't I'm not asking I should have asked. Well, well, I mean, I think you know what we're talking about is a big passion of mine. You know, a third of our days on this planet our work days. If we're not loving what we do and we're not bringing our unique talents to bear, it's a terrible waste of life. And what I've loved about wake up is that, after experiment with so many different people from so many different walks of life, they are getting value from it, not only in the fact that they are doing better work and they're being more conscious and they waking up in the scale wartifier, but what they've realized. It's just a more joyful way of being. In Ninety six or some the people that we work with feel happier as a result. Most, most people have found that their wellbeing has improved, including people, and this is what I was quite surprised by, including people who have had self esteem issues, anxiety and even depression of felt better as a result of being wake up. Now for me, if we can get a bit more of that owns this world. You know that I've had I've had a good life right, if we can help a few more people...

...wake up in the morning again loving who they are, loving what they do and, fin is, if they are in control of making each day even better than I think we want to work. So we've we've developed a program, so if anyone out there would be interested in helping more people go through it and got a corporate wellbeing program with video support and with the APP of the book, and it's just a really neat way of just helping the peep around you every day get a smile their face and realize that every day can be spectacular. Yeah, it's amazing. Well, Chris, thank you so much for being here today and, of course, for writing this book. I know that our listeners will greatly benefit from all of the experiences that you mentioned in it and it will really help them get past that autopilot we've been talking about today. So a huge thank you also to our listeners for tuning into the podcast today. You can find Chris's book wake up and other books by him on Amazon, or you can visit his website at Burrez Browncom backslash books to see all of his books. You can also download the wake up APP that we've talked about. Definitely download that. It's a free download, but additional resources and learning, so definitely check that out again. Thank you for listening. Please go ahead and share and be sure to subscribe so you never miss an episode, and will see you back here soon for another episode of the leader cast podcast. Leader cast live is the largest one day leadership event in the world, joined tens of thousands of fellow leaders live in Atlanta or at a host site near you. Visit live DOT leader Castcom to learn more. Thanks for tuning in to the leader cast podcast. To ensure that you never miss an episode, subscribe to the show in your favorite podcast player.

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