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In the age of uncertainty, we need to awaken the power of the brain

Amid the health crisis brought on by the novel coronavirus, I visited a longtime client. She is a successful, strong-minded, savvy businesswoman who is the CEO of her company. Sitting behind her desk, staring at three computer screens, she looked forlorn and deeply worried.

Following the city’s mandate on social distancing and no group gathering of 10 or more, except for her management team, management team, all 80 + of her employees were working at home and out in the field. I sat on the sofa 6 feet across from her. I felt her angst, her fear of the unknown, and vulnerability in times of uncertainty. Like many business leaders, she also bears the weight of responsibility for her people and her business as well as for her customers and family.

Shortly after my visit, I sent the CEO and her management team an email stating that I understood and felt the challenges of the current pandemic and we need to awaken the power of our brain with the training methods learned in the Power Brain System workshop.

Before COVID-19 spread across the US, this company had the Power Brain System workshop. They learned various exercises that can help to manage information, thoughts, and emotions such as one-minute squats, Brain Wave Vibration, energy meditation. I opened an online Power Brain Session for management and employees a week after sending the email.

Information about COVID-19 is abundant everywhere, affecting people at the physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual levels. It is easy to get overwhelmed by everything they saw, heard, and read. Amidst all the information, we need to discern truth from falsehood. Amidst the anxiety, we need to act from a clear mind. In the age of uncertainty, a “secret weapon” that can create positive change in an unpredictable future ahead is our brainpower.

Leadership that drives a real change

Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic’s unprecedented havoc worldwide, companies have long been faced with numerous challenges; some are novel but most are recurring problems around productivity, profitability, innovation, creativity, employee engagement, burnout, health care costs, and technology. Conventional, linear, and analytic methods of solving business problems are becoming inadequate.

From my experience of more than 25 years in “Learning and Career Development” in various organizations, most mainstream training programs including ones I have personally developed and delivered were minimally effective. They worked for a short period of time only for problems to resurface over time.

Feeling empty from my work lacking impact on solving problems and creating change, I left the corporate world. Thereafter, I opened a consulting practice and earnestly searched for programs that could bring a deeper and lasting transformation for leaders, employees, and organization. It was during this time that I had the good fortune of finding Brain Education through US Body & Brain center.

Active change of members and its continuity in life is key to the efficiency of corporate education
Brain Education is an overarching framework of education and training developed based on the combination of East Asian universal principles of energy with Western brain science-based research. I know firsthand because Brain Education transformed me and those surrounding myself in many ways. What makes Brain Education training deep resulting in transformation?

Compared to the traditional methods, Brain Education is highly experiential and hands-on, engaging the whole person’s physical, emotional, energetic, and cognitive faculties, thereby activating three layers of the brain: neocortex, limbic and brain stem and enabling participants to understand, feel, take action. Results are more lasting and sustainable since it activates the brain’s neuroplasticity.

The brain’s neuroplasticity is the brain’s greatest attribute – the ability to change itself in response to current experiences, enabling participants to make needed changes in themselves and their work. While mainstream training programs focus primarily on intellectual learning of information that takes place in the brain’s neocortex. As such, information is easily learned and easily lost.

Corporate programs generally refrain from activities that generate feelings and emotions, which tap into the limbic layer of the brain, for fear of intruding into participants’ personal lives. However, learning at the neocortex layer alone does not penetrate the brainstem, which is the autonomous function of the brain that allows information to take a deeper hold. Consequently, intellectual understanding alone does not make a real difference in life and work.

After completing the course for Brain Education Leadership in 2008, there were two things I desperately wanted to do. The first is to bring Brain Education to my home country, the Philippines and the second is to bring Brain Education to the corporate world. In 2009, I went to the Philippines, met with educators, and received positive and enthusiastic responses about Brain Education from them. However due to personal circumstances, it was not feasible for me to move to the Philippines at that time. Instead, I decided to open a Body & Brain franchise center in the US.

Being a center manager for eight years was one of the most meaningful, rewarding, and heart-opening times of my life. But as headmaster running a Body & Brain center, I found my true purpose and happiness integrating my corporate experience with spiritual work of helping members with their physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual health. I experienced the power of Brain Education in my daily life and the lives of my members.

In 2018, Body & Brain Yoga and Health Centers Inc. asked if I would co-develop Brain Education programs for corporate. I was happy to accept the offer since it was my dream for a long time. I joined the team to develop Power Brain System (PBS), based on Brain Education principles and training methods.

The purpose of the program is to facilitate the “Power Brain” organization culture that is productive, creative, and concerned for the common good. It consists of 5 steps of experiential methods of Brain Educationthat integrates cognitive, emotional, and physical methods to solve the problems facing companies productively, creatively, and innovatively.

The first application of Power Brain System at Maintco Corporation in the US

Before the emergence of COVID-19 pandemic, Maintco Corporation, a local general contractor business company with 80+ employees was undergoing an organizational transformation from a family-oriented business into a corporate-oriented company. The CEO hired new managers. While most of the employees were positive about the expansion and understood the need for growth, there was great discomfort and resistance to the company’s direction. Internal conflict between new and current team members slowed the company from moving forward.

For this reason, Maintco’s HR Manager expected that Power Brain System could help Maintco with their organizational transition issues. In June 2019, the first Power Brain System workshop was delivered to Maintco. A half-day workshop was held over three times for managers and employees to learn the principles and training methods from step 1 to 5 of Brain Education.

Brain Education Five StepsPower Brain System Five Steps
1. Brain Sensitizing1. Awaken the Brain
Connect and feel the physical body; awareness of “here and now”
2. Brain Versatilizing2. Expand the Brain
Use the brain’s neuroplasticity to open the mind
3. Brain Refreshing3. Refresh the Brain
Let go of past negative experiences to unblock new ideas and ways of working
Brain Integrating
4. Brain Integrating4. Align the Brain
Integrate mind, emotions, and actions toward personal and organizational goals
Brain Mastering
5. Brain Mastering5. Master the Brain
Control one’s thoughts, emotions, and actions. Overcome obstacles to achieve goals
Brain Education Five Steps are newly defined from a business perspective

Step One is to awaken the brain and sensitize the brain’s dormant capabilities. In this step, participants are made aware of the effects of stress on productivity, focus, and overall health. By moving their bodies with simple but effective exercises, e.g., whole-body tapping, stretching, breathing, they experienced that they could feel good while their bodies are relaxed.

As the body gets relaxed from tension, the brain becomes more receptive to new and different ideas. Step Two is to make the brain more flexible so that it can be versatile and open to limitless possibilities. Brain’s neuroplasticity is explained as a trait unique to the brain and most useful for creativity and innovation. In Step Two, there are various physical and cognitive activities to check and train the brain’s flexibility.

Step Three is to refresh the brain, releasing negative thoughts and past experiences that block creativity and teamwork. This step is crucial in that by letting go of life-limiting beliefs, participants can have more self-confidence as well as developed empathy for each other.

Step Four is to integrate and align thoughts, emotions, and actions toward a goal. The brain’s three layer-structure – neocortex, limbic, and brain stem become united. This is the true meaning of authenticity and integrity. These qualities were essential for establishing trust between management and employees during Maintco’s organizational transition process. Participants did balance exercises such as Tree, Airplane, and Eagle postures to experience alignment of body, heart, and intent. Through this experience, participants were able to realize the principle of brain utilization, which requires not just thought but also their heart and action in order to realize the desired goal.

Step Five is to create Power Brain organizational culture of ownership, responsibility, and care as participants master their thoughts and emotions to overcome obstacles. Participants will continue to practice energy meditation and physical activities learned through workshops in their daily work.

The program carried out at Maintco was remarkably successful with participants being highly satisfied. After completing the training, the participants shared their thoughts, saying that “I can only control my thoughts, emotions, feelings. I cannot control others but learn how to empathize” or “By aligning my body, thoughts, emotions, I can fulfill my goals.”

The general manager, an engineer by education was at first resistant to the program since he is a very logical person. However, after attending Power Brain System worshops he felt the value of the program. Feedback from his people saw him become more open and easier to talk to. When a conflict arose shortly after the program, the general manager asked the HR manager for a power brain intervention.

Since completing Power Brain System workshops, many employees have been utilizing principles and physical exercises. As more follow-up sessions are planned after COVID-19, it is expected to see very promising outcomes.

By Fatima Bustos-Choy

Dr. Fatima Bustos-Choy has more than twenty-five years of experience in corporate training and consulting. She worked in Training, Learning and Development for the financial services
industry and aerospace industry as: instructional designer, supervisory program developer, trainer, and leadership development program manager for 15 years. She served as Training Manager and subsequently VP & Director of Learning and Development for Citibank California for 8 years.