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  • Secrets of the Brain


    The most common impediment to successfully developing the career of your dreams is a person’s own inability to regulate that planning. That’s what I’ve discovered in my many years of helping people decide on a college major, or select a good career for themselves. We get off track. We fail to plan. We go off impulsively in too many directions at once. We get distracted by “shiny objects” that lure us away. In my following multi-part essay, I use the scientific understanding of brain regulation to provide a framework for how you can better stay on track in your pursuit of your perfect career. And you already have the most important tool to do this–I promise! It’s between your ears.


    The network of our brain is designed to function not unlike how a business leader functions in a company. A company’s Chief Executive Officer has an overarching goal to make sure all the components of the business keep working properly in concert for the goals of the organization. For you, the process of uncovering your natural talents and deciding on a career also needs a healthy dose of executive functioning or brain regulation. If you don’t keep track of what you are doing, or when to shift to a new task, you could get incredibly behind where your goals say you should be. Or, if you forget to track and understand your emotional connections to this process, you could fall into some deeply stressful experiences. I call the realm of where brain functioning meets the career development process the Nine P-Patterns. This is a way to express all the regulating and planning and processing that is needed to stay the course in your career journey. I am talking about a strategy to keep you on course for the long haul!


    I have highlighted nine aspects that science has identified as relevant to how we all complete the tasks we have set before ourselves: the Nine P-Patterns. If you can master your P-Patterns, you will arrive at your career goals more efficiently.

    • Proceed – starting tasks
    • Prevent – stopping impulses
    • Produce – problem solving
    • Plan – using strategies effectively
    • Present – bringing order to the mess
    • Process – carrying out multi-steps
    • Perceive – understanding ourselves socially
    • Progress – monitoring our status
    • Perform – expressing our emotions in the right way

    Please understand that these are not stages that you move through in progression. These Power Patterns are more cyclical than sequential. Power Patterns describe how you act and interact with the challenges that will face you on the career development journey. Some readers may need to tackle the Perform Pattern first, needing to manage their emotions before they are overwhelmed. Others may need to constantly use the Present Pattern in order to remind themselves to stay on an organized path. Understanding where you function well in these career patterns is key. You may have a strength in planning, or present yourself well. You could have some weaknesses, too. Perhaps you don’t plan out your steps consistently, or your social perceptions are always getting you into trouble.