Friday, November 1, 2013

unCon 2013 Session: Brains & Bliss: How to Build Happier and More Productive Teams with Jo Tango & Anne Mitchell

My morning started with a session on happiness and gratitude. What a great way to start the day! Jo began his career in VC in the late 90s and Anne spent 15 years in venture as well. She decided to step off the treadmill that had become her life and went to meet with an executive coach to figure out her next move. What she realized is she wanted to be the coach, that is the job she was most excited by. Jo hired Anne to be his coach after he came down with shingles triggered by stress he did not even realize he was managing. They covered a lot of territory for an hour with research on brains, happiness and neuroscience. We even did 2 group exercises so the lessons could really sink in. Every single chair was taken in the room so the topic clearly struck a chord.

People used to think that 90% of your personality was in your DNA, whether you saw the glass half full or empty was hard wired at birth. Jo and Anne shared research that shows in fact only 50% can be explained by genetics, 10% of your happiness comes from the trappings and toys like cars, boats, and all the goodies but that tends to be temporary. A full 40% comes from other things in your control including friends, relationships. Sleep, attitude, nature, exercise, movement, religion, purpose, etc. So in fact your happiness is not genetically predetermined you can choose your path and how you react to stresses that come your way and rewire your brain, reframe the situation. Jo and Anne quoted several research studies that showed the importance of have a positivity ratio of 5:1 (so 5 positive comments for every negative one). This ratio actually affects the performance quality of your team (ratios of 1:1 are associated with low performing and 2:1 is only middle of the pack performance). So do not let those Debbie Downers on your team pull you down! Your neuropathways are like muscles, by using them they actually get stronger! Jo loves to say that "cells that fire together get wired together!"

We talked a lot about your inner voice and what is says to you. You can use conscious action to change pathways and rewire to bring out that positive inner voice. You are in control and can turn up or down the inner voice so crank up the positive one and bury the negatives. Jo has a formula he likes which is Pain = Suffering x Resistance which means when you try to resist or deny it the pain will get worse. Once you acknowledge it you can release it and start to feel better again. The group exercises both involved sending love bombs to people in the room, just sitting back and listening to someone shower you with goodness. We rarely take the time in our hectic schedules each day to just sit back and listen and enjoy the moment. It really did feel great I have to admit. So many great sessions at the UnConference today, so little time. I'm glad I started here, the day got off to a very positive start!

Paige Arnof-Fenn, Founder & CEO
Mavens & Moguls
Because Marketing Matters

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