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Mirror Neurons And Leadership

August 25, 2019

You're at a restaurant waiting to get your food. Sitting across from you is a friend.

As you talk, you notice your friend getting still. Then she freezes. Her eyes widen. She stares at something behind you.

Sudden horror flashes across her face.

What do you feel in this moment?


Your friend is obviously scared of something, but you don't know what it is. Without even looking, you will probably get scared too.

These are your mirror neurons at work.

Mirror neurons are cells in your brain that give you a shortcut to feeling appropriate emotions in a given situation.

If there really is something dangerous behind you at the restaurant, your adrenaline will already be kicking in before you even look.

This is what is also at play when a nervous salesperson tries to pitch you, or someone anxious asks you out on a date. They're nervous, your mirror neurons pick up on it, and thenyoustart feeling nervous.

The opposite is also true. If someone around you is confident and relaxed, you'll feel confident and relaxed.

I guess you could say that a critical part of influencing others is feeling, ourselves, the way we want others to feel: confident, relaxed, and self-assured.

How do we learn this?

It has to do with where we place our attention.

In our always connected world, our attention is at a premium. A lot of us are always watching, reading, or listening to something. Articles on the phone. Audio books while driving in the car. TV while eating. Podcasts while in the shower.

In other words, constant consumption of others' ideas, opinions, and thoughts.

If we want natural confidence, to feel comfortable in our own skin, it starts with having time to ourselves, time to be alone, and time to hear our own thoughts.

When you know who you are and what you stand for, you're naturally more comfortable with yourself, and you exude it. There's no "technique" here to learn. There's only opportunities to put yourself in situations where that will happen.

Walks in nature, drives in silence, or just stillness may be all that we need not only to be more comfortable with who we are, but to lead and influence others.

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