Finding Help with a Bit of Neuroscience 🔬


If you had a toothache, wouldn’t you go to the dentist?

If your car made a loud clunking noise when you turned left, wouldn’t you go to the mechanic?

If you wanted to create a new career or business, wouldn’t you go to….

Oh wait. Who would you go to?

Great question! Most people don’t know who to turn to when it comes to reinventing their careers. I sure didn’t.

I quit my job, put up a website and waited for magical things to happen. Guess what happened? Not much. I spent a lot of money on online courses, copywriters and website designers and still didn’t know what the heck I was doing. I was trying to DIY my reinvention. It worked about as well as me trying to DIY my prom look back in the 1980s (see picture → ). 

So, where do you find help?

It depends. If you are looking to simply switch from one sector (fashion) to another sector (international nonprofit) and want to do the same type of job(marketing), then you can probably get by with:

But if you have reached a reflection point in your career (and life) and areasking yourself, “What’s next?” but you don’t quite know how to answer that question, you would benefit from a personal coach

Personal coaching is a $1 billion industry (and growing) for good reason. A recent study of Fortune 500 companies that provide personal coaching to their executives showed that they were more likely to retain executives who had been coached. (BAM!)*

How a Coach Will Help You

The three big things that a coach will help you with in your reinvention are:

  1. Get CLARITY on what you want to do and how you want to do it.

  2. Take ACTION by helping you get over the confusion and fear of the unknown.

  3. BELIEVE in you and help you believe in yourself at a time when your confidence might be taking a hit. 

The Neuroscience Behind Coaching

Lest you believe personal coaching is new-agey stuff, I’m about to throw a little neuroscience at you. 

1. Coaching Protects You From the Nasty Effects of Stress

Reinvention can be a fun time in your life. It can also be incredibly stressful! UCLA did a study in 2005 that showed subjects who identified and reflected on their values showed significantly lower cortisol levels compared to a control group.

Career reinvention typically requires you to take a look at your values. A coach will give you the space and tools to look at your values and how to design your next act to align with how you want to show up in the world. 

Reflecting on your values → Lower cortisol in your body → Healthier (and happier) you.

2. Getting the Upper Hand on Your Amygdala

Your amygdala is the part of your brain that looks for threats and pushes you into fight or flight mode. The problem is that it floods our brains with stress hormones whether we are about to be attacked by a tiger or do our first Facebook Live announcing our new business. The tiger might kill you. The worst thing that will happen with FB Live is no one will watch. 

Working with a coach will help you change the way you (and your amygdala) see challenges and risks that come up in your reinvention. First FB Live? Instead of thinking about how vulnerable you feel, think about your best friends sitting at their computer bursting with pride, cheering you on. Go Kirsten Go!  

New challenge → Tools to positively take on challenge → Less stress hormones → Faster and more enjoyable road to new career or business.

3. Learning to Trust Your Gut

In a time of reinvention, you might feel pulled to fall back to what is familiar to you. Your brain (yep, your amygdala again) is telling you to play it safe, to not take risks, stay in that job you hate. But you have this funny, butterfly-y feeling in your belly every time you think of starting that community bakery you dream about. Your eyes light up every time you tell your friend about the bakery idea. 

Coaching helps you see what is going on in your whole body so you deeply connect with your “big why” of your reinvention.  So, the next time your brain freaks out and wants you to go back to your safe, boring accounting job, you’ll be able to say, “I hear you brain, but my belly gets a say in this decision too and she’s telling me to figure out what it would take to start a bakery.”

According to a couple of researchers (Rollin McCraty and Daniel Siegel) we don’t just have neurons in our brains, we also have them in our heart and gut. This means our heart and gut are also taking in information that helps us make sense of the world. 

→ Here’s a link to read a fascinating white paper about neuroscience and coaching. 

Curious about how a coach can help you reinvent yourself? Let’s talk

Kirsten Bunch