December 10

Jim White, Leadership Workshop Facilitator on Neuroscience and Leadership


Jim and I talk about neuroplasticity and the breakthroughs in neuroscience and how he incorporates them in his business of creating workshops and organizational events that support both personal growth and organizational transformation. 

Jim worked in 18 countries as a Peace Corps Volunteer, an organizational consultant, corporate trainer, and leadership workshop facilitator. 

Jim holds a master’s degree in “Transformational Leadership and Social Change” from Maryland University of Integrative Health, and consults regularly with the University of Maryland, Johns Hopkins University, NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, Customs and Border Protection and the Department of State in Ghana, West Africa.

He's currently co authoring  “Life-Changing Workshops, a Guide to Designing, Leading and Facilitating Transformative Work.” and authoring “The Physics of Facilitation, the Art Craft and Science of  Moving Group and Team Energy to Excellence”. Both books are based on his “Transformation Facilitator Workshops Series” at the Kripalu Center for Yoga and Health.

Podcast Highlights:

  • "I will" vs. "I want" in reaching our goals
  • What is Emotional Contagion?
  • Why you have that chatter in your head and what to do about it


Contact Jim:

[Podcast Transcript Using Artificial Intelligence]

Umar Hameed 0:06
Are you ready to become awesomer? Hello, everyone. This is Umar Hameed, your host and welcome to the No Limits Selling Podcast, where industry leaders share their tips, strategies and advice on how to make you better, stronger, faster. Get ready for another episode.

Umar Hameed 0:36
Today I have the privilege of having my friend Jim White here with me today. So excited about this conversation Jim.

Jim White 0:43
I have to. I really am looking forward to this. I mean, we have so many things that we've shared over the years, and we're working in similar arenas. It's great fun to see you.

Umar Hameed 0:53
So a long time ago, I asked you this question, Jim, have you ever had a life changing moment? And you said, Yes. sumar when I died in Singapore?

Jim White 1:02
That's right. That's right.

Umar Hameed 1:03
So why don't we start when you died?

Jim White 1:04
When I died in Singapore, I was consulting in Singapore, and was very, very stressed. I was doing marketing, and I was running a workshop with the National productivity board. And I had stayed up late one night and then woke up at four o'clock. Oh, no, I woke up at eight o'clock, realizing I was supposed to be on stage at eight o'clock.

Umar Hameed 1:28

Jim White 1:29
Yeah. So then I felt that my chest felt at my arm, I knew what was happening. And so I eventually got to the hospital. And I went out, and then they brought me back. And eventually I had open heart surgery and I'm still here.

Umar Hameed 1:47
And one of the things you said is that experience got you on your new path, we wanted to make an impact in the world.

Jim White 1:53
Exactly. I had been working with international international work and training, leadership development kinds of things. And this opened my eyes to a whole arena of emotion, our emotions, how they impact us how I was breaking my own heart by my own behavior. And I was drinking too much. And I was, I was overworking, I was highly stressed and all of a sudden, a light bulb went on and it began me on a new trajectory. And it was a slow trajectory is getting involved in research on emotions and how that impacts and so I began to...

Umar Hameed 2:29
Began this journey.

Jim White 2:30
I began the journey.

Umar Hameed 2:31
And part of what you do now is neuro leadership, teaching people that this new amazing science of neuroscience, that we can make it practical and not authentic, that just neurosurgeons need to know. But human beings connecting with each other leading other human beings, being a better human being being a better parent.

Jim White 2:48
Yes, I'm very excited about this. I just think it opens as you're saying so many possibilities for us to take more charge of how we show up, and how we work with our own minds and how we work with other people. And there's some major breakthroughs in neuroscience that are informing what you can do from a neural leadership perspective, we're working with groups or teams are trying to impact what's going on in an organization. And it begins with self awareness, and continuing this journey of how aware of my of my emotions, how they impact what I do and how I interact. And then realizing that there's a science behind that. And there are practices that are attached to that, that you can bring forward. And the exciting thing is that we can take charge of our minds and lots of ways that we have intuited for a long time and now there's science behind it as well,.

Umar Hameed 3:40
Intuity. I think one of the problems was that somebody just ended up figuring this thing out and they just do it naturally. When you ask them, What are you doing? How you doing it? A lot of times they can't articulate it?

Jim White 3:51
No, it's hard to articulate.

Umar Hameed 3:52
This is done, what you've done is that you bring it down to say, hey, here are the five things you need to pay attention to.

Jim White 3:57

Umar Hameed 3:57
So what's the conversation we're gonna have today?

Jim White 4:01
I think a conversation is about what's possible.

Umar Hameed 4:04
Right? And so you were mentioning that there were like five key things so...

Jim White 4:09
So I think there's a way of there are so many things going on in neuroscience in there. There, there are many, many ways of approaching it and we come up with or I've played around with some breakthroughs that have to do with neuroplasticity. One is one is neuroplasticity. Another one is willpower,

Umar Hameed 4:26

Jim White 4:26
and the nature of willpower. Another one is our default mode network and our negativity bias it's important for us. Another one is emotional contagion and the fact that we are like neural Wi Fi. When we come into contact with other people we are impacting them whether we believe it or not. And then there's the other one it has to do with attachment and attachment, then it's tied in with attachment and making and you know, approaching avoiding or attaching kinds of things. So as themes and ways of looking at how we operate. What I work to do is incorporate those lenses into To the work that I do not to necessarily train people in all of these five, but to use this to inform my designs, my workshops, the kind of activities I plan and get engaged in are the kind of practices I engage, encourage people to get involved in.

Umar Hameed 4:30
Brilliant. So let's go take a deeper look at each one of those.

Jim White 5:17

Umar Hameed 5:17
One of the five was willpower.

Jim White 5:19

Umar Hameed 5:19
So talk to me about willpower.

Jim White 5:21
Well, and this is based on a lot of research that's done on popularized by Kelly McGonigal,

Umar Hameed 5:27

Jim White 5:27
who's written a book called the willpower instinct. Basically, there are, you know, we have this play of many times the idea of willpower is that I will do this and I'm going to white knuckle it,

Umar Hameed 5:39

Jim White 5:39
or I'm not going to do this. And I will never do that. And those are the kinds of things most of us bring in, when we make a new year's resolution. We won't eat a Krispy Kreme ever again,

Umar Hameed 5:49

Jim White 5:49
where you know, going to go to the gym every day, by Damn, we're going to go to the gym every day. And by I think it's two by January 20, most of those resolutions have kind of

Umar Hameed 5:59
Fade away.

Jim White 5:59
Fade away. And there's another power called I want so i will i won't and I want the I will and I won't or push and or resist or push.

Umar Hameed 6:11

Jim White 6:11
And the I want is it pull?

Umar Hameed 6:13

Jim White 6:13
So what we're working when we talk about using neuroscience to think about what we do in groups of teams, let's say strategic planning, we have these incredible goals, strategies, etc. And then in organizations, many times they they fall by the wayside, not reinforced enough, or we make these other commitments. When we hook into a higher pole, things that I want in Hinduism is called a sankalpa. It's your vow your vow to your life, other demand other places, it's what's your ultimate purpose, what's your passion, all of that.

Umar Hameed 6:48
All about different things, but they're [garbled]

Jim White 6:49
The same ideas that you're working to create a poll that you can come back to, to remind yourself, so when I won't, doesn't work, and I will I, you know, I will, doesn't work as well, when you go to I want, it allows those other dimensions to work. And those are different brain systems that are at play. And so that's...

Umar Hameed 7:11
So give me an example of, I want, how's that, I understand the, I won't,

Jim White 7:16

Jim White 7:17
and I will.

Jim White 7:17

Umar Hameed 7:18
I won't, how's that different than I will?

Jim White 7:21
Rather than I'm going to be on a diet. And I will, you know, I will, you know, do this diet, I will keep it the higher I want is I want to be live a healthy life.

Umar Hameed 7:35

Jim White 7:36
I have a purpose, I have a purpose in life. And that is to contribute to life

Umar Hameed 7:41
It's more like a journey more of a path versus exit specific.

Jim White 7:45

Umar Hameed 7:46
By thw way...

Jim White 7:46
It's so it's a goal versus a journey would be a way of thinking about it's a something that is compelling you. Some of us wake up every morning, you know, some of us will wake up every morning with this with a song in our heart and skipping our step. Because we are compelled or being pulled in a particular direction when we can articulate that then we can intentionally come back to it.

Umar Hameed 8:08
So when you said the I won't, it kind of reminded me of this quote, and I don't remember who said it, but I'll find out who said it. And I'll put it in the show notes. Okay, and I'm going to paraphrase. And it was basically it was a sports team kind of thing. And this guy was saying that, you know, you should never ever date a fellow players girlfriend or look at her in a lustful way. Then he went on say, well, not unless she's really cute or something. So the second thing was the emotional contagion.

Jim White 8:41
Yes, this is tied in with the research that's done and mirror neurons and the way we our brain to brain connected. And I think one way of illustrating this would be ask folks a question, have you ever sat been sitting in a meeting, and it's been going very well, and people have a great conversation, and somebody walks in the room.

Umar Hameed 9:02
And it changes the entire feeling.

Jim White 9:04
The whole feeling changes, and you can feel it sank? Sometimes you can feel it actually rise? Yeah, but many times for us in organizations, we feel it actually sank. And what we're picking up are, and this sounds so 1960s hippie ish, Northern California, but you're picking up on the vibes, and the vibes are actually physiological, they're real. And so we are, we are, we are communicating with each other on so many different dimensions all the time. The neuro Wi Fi, or this, this emotional contagion is, is just a part, not just but as a part of communication, how we communicate with each other.

Umar Hameed 9:41
So one things I do is when I work one on one with clients, or in a therapeutics NLP session, is I sync up with them get into deep deep rapport.

Jim White 9:50

Umar Hameed 9:50
And what happens when I do that is oftentimes, I get a feeling and it could be a really uncomfortable feeling as I'm sitting down with Jim, and I get it over here and I go, Hmm, am I feeling this feeling because of me or because of you and sometimes go? Well, I got nothing to be anxious about that I know with certainty that you're feeling that feeling right there. And I'm just picking it up because I'm in sync with you.

Jim White 10:16

Umar Hameed 10:16
And what I would do is just place my hand, wait, I feel that feeling and go. So how does that make you feel? And because I'm doing that physical thing there, right? The client goes on feeling really anxious about it. And it was a feeling very cool. There's a validation of it very cool is that the end of the day, I would come home, have dinner with my wife, we'd get into bed. And then she would say, Did you clear off your energy today?

Jim White 10:40

Umar Hameed 10:40
And I would say no, did you work with someone that had anxiety about this?

Jim White 10:45

Umar Hameed 10:45
And it was me picking up their energy,

Jim White 10:47

Umar Hameed 10:48
Four hours later, I'm still caring,

Jim White 10:50
You're still caring.

Umar Hameed 10:51
And then when she's quiet in bed, like when you're like moving around, sometimes she wouldn't pick it up. When we got into bed. It was like she could pick up this disquieting energy. And she could label it.

Jim White 11:01

Umar Hameed 11:02
And it was like, Okay, I'm getting out of bed. I'm gonna go clear the energy.

Jim White 11:05
Clear the energy.

Umar Hameed 11:05
And come back. So yeah, we pick up that stuff when we see it as as an obstacle, but it's the biggest gift that we have

Jim White 11:14
It is a gift.

Umar Hameed 11:15
It is the attention to it, you know, it's their

Jim White 11:17
That's incre... That's incredible. How do you clear?

Umar Hameed 11:20
So one of the ways to clear is, just imagine that you have a connection from actually is between your tailbone,

Jim White 11:26

Umar Hameed 11:28
And so the center of your body, so just a couple inches off. Just imagine you have a connection from that to the center of the earth. As soon as you go around as soon as you get connection, or you feel still. And then you just envision any negative energy that isn't yours just going down your body, and it just releases

Jim White 11:46
You let it dissolve.

Umar Hameed 11:48
So do you really have a connection to the earth? I don't know.

Jim White 11:52
I don't know.

Umar Hameed 11:52
Does it work?

Umar Hameed 11:53
Yeah, that's the...

Umar Hameed 11:54
Taught hundreds of people this technique.

Jim White 11:56

Umar Hameed 11:56
And probably 2%. Go, you're nuts. But 98% go, Oh, my God, it's so amazing. I feel that instant calming. Yep. And I felt that negative energy on my body. No. And so that's kind of our worldview, I think in terms of doesn't matter if it's true or not. The question is, is it useful? If it's useful, let's use it. Maybe with a science today, we can validate it. And maybe with the science tomorrow, they'll say no, it's sort of worship. Or they'll say,

Jim White 12:25
Or they'll say...

Umar Hameed 12:26
This is why it works.

Jim White 12:27
[gargbled]. And I think that's what we're seeing with regard to this emotional contagion. And a lot of other kinds of things that are going on is that science has been validating things that currently that have historically been out of contemplative wisdom, traditions.

Umar Hameed 12:43

Jim White 12:43
And the eastern ways of thinking about things and the mind body connection. And now there's just so much more going on with looking at what the mind body connection is about. And that's exactly what you did with the clearing is that it's a mind body connection, you ask your mind, to clear your you know, to clear out your you know, clear those feeling states that you have you imagine it, it happens.

Umar Hameed 13:06
Bingo. And this, that third piece that's kind of implied in there. And I always say, you know, mind body soul.

Jim White 13:11

Umar Hameed 13:12
And there's that trinity of stuff there. So on this amazing visual representation, what we're talking about what you're going to put in the show notes,

Jim White 13:22

Umar Hameed 13:23
Tell me about this one.

Jim White 13:24
Default mode network. Okay. Well, that's the question of the of the audience. How many of us here have a voice in our head?

Umar Hameed 13:34
Almost everybody would say yes.

Jim White 13:36

Umar Hameed 13:36
Okay. And what percentage would say negative? Most of it.

Jim White 13:39
Most of it. Exactly.

Umar Hameed 13:40
If not, all of it.

Jim White 13:41
I not all of it. And this is the chatter, according to the research that is there in the super brain systems at play, that are set up for you to scan the environment so that you can be safe. And there is a constant chatter that goes on. And it really falls into four dimensions, you know, how am I feeling about the present moment, you know, I don't like it, I do like it past or future too worried about the future, regretting the past, or there's how I feel about this individual. And these people or the other side,

Umar Hameed 14:00
How they fell about you

Jim White 14:03
I feel about me four dimensions, they're always there cross culturally, it can be a New Guinea, Australian Aboriginals, you can work. You can be North Africa. You know, the folks in the Arab world, Europeans, we all share.

Umar Hameed 14:29
If you're human...

Jim White 14:30
That's what you have. And that's what creates from many traditions, the kind of suffering that we have, as individuals, when we pay attention to those voices. And there are tools and techniques and ways of working with those voices that help you begin not to control them so that you damp them down, because they're always going to be there but it's learned to live with them, incorporate them and move to a different perspective with them. And that has to do with their meditative practices. Mind Body kinds of things.

Umar Hameed 15:01
Here's one that I teach. So, Jim, if you can be brave, what's one of your inner voices? What's his favorite thing to say that to sabotage your efforts of?

Jim White 15:10
They're gonna catch you. You're a phony.

Umar Hameed 15:12
So can you give me one example of you definitely not being a phony where you knew right now, right now, give me another example of a time that you were leading or being where you just knew with certainty that you know, the stuff you're not offending,

Jim White 15:28
I can think back on when I was a gig that I had about about a month ago, where I'm facilitating a workshop. And I don't know where the information comes from, it's kind of like channeling it right? And it just came, right, it just comes.

Umar Hameed 15:42
So what I teach people is, when the negative voice comes up, what you can do is you can battle it, try pushing it, but that's gonna be a lot stronger than you are,

Jim White 15:52
Yeah, it pushes back.

Umar Hameed 15:53
It pushes back.

Jim White 15:54

Umar Hameed 15:54
And it knows where the vulnerabilities are.

Jim White 15:55

Umar Hameed 15:56
And it's gonna hit you in the gonads.

Jim White 15:57

Umar Hameed 15:57
But what if you said, Yes. And here are three counter examples of legitimately when I was the bomb, where there was no doubt that I was a phony,

Jim White 16:10

Umar Hameed 16:10
And as soon as you give the three counter examples, you give one, then if it comes back and give the second one, if it comes back, if the third one, usually by the third time, it says, you're not playing fair, and it goes.

Jim White 16:21
I'm blown away.

Umar Hameed 16:22
And so collecting those moments, you know what those negative voices say? You could have, let's say five different phrases. Just have counter examples for each right when it comes up. agree with it.

Jim White 16:34
Yes. Agree and build.

Umar Hameed 16:36
Yeah, and but is a bad word.

Jim White 16:36

Umar Hameed 16:39
And it's a wonderful word. Yeah, you're probably right. And remember the time over here where I won this award, and remember the time over here, when, and so anyway, that's, there's many strategies out there.

Jim White 16:50
And that works.

Umar Hameed 16:51
What we're looking to do. And what I hope you guys are looking to do, is to just collect them. Like, do you need all those clubs in a frickin golf bag? that apparently you do do and so we know different tactics to take care of those negative dialogue?

Jim White 17:08

Umar Hameed 17:08
And a nine club might be good for me. And a wedge might be good for you. And we're all different. And if we can just catalog those for humanity?

Jim White 17:17

Umar Hameed 17:18
I mean, how many places are we really, really stuck? We have the the negative inner voice

Jim White 17:24

Umar Hameed 17:25
We have this beliefs around self.

Jim White 17:29

Umar Hameed 17:29
That's sometimes a negative.

Jim White 17:31

Umar Hameed 17:32
Our ability to be loved or deserving,

Jim White 17:34

Umar Hameed 17:34
So they could be maybe this probably a billion different hang ups, but they probably condense down to maybe seven,

Jim White 17:42

Umar Hameed 17:43
popular ones and they're just different.

Jim White 17:44
They're just kind of just different degrees of it. But the same kind of thing, yeah.

Umar Hameed 17:49
That we could collect for those seven. What, who could collect 50 ways to tackle each one? So as seven times 50, who's good at math?

Jim White 17:57
That's right.

Umar Hameed 17:58
There's not that many, if we put the word out and say, Okay, how about this?

Jim White 18:02

Umar Hameed 18:02
And then we could just get a body of knowledge that single figure out what's right for you.

Jim White 18:07
I, it's an interest. That's a great idea. And, you know, one of the things that I've, with regard to collecting those kinds of things, what I've learned about a little bit, and you probably use it in your NLP work as well is that when you when you discover one of those, those things that really works, is that when you discover it, to somehow anchor it, to somehow hold it for at least 20 seconds and your feeling state. And by doing that, you begin to rewire the way in which you consistently come back to that. So that's a part of, and when every time it comes up every time you bring that back, as I understand it, and you don't know more about this than I do. But as I understand it, that you are actually you're I know you're we're rewiring our brains, and that's an intentional way. It's called self directed neuroplasticity, which is another thing that we'll talk about in a second. But you can change your mind to change your brain to change your mind. And Rick Hansen is the author of Buddha's brains and another, another series of books, has coined that from other research.

Umar Hameed 19:14
So let's go into that. neuroplasticity.

Jim White 19:18
Okay, so what what we know, we've always you know, we've always known that we, we learn, so our brains and our minds change our brains change. And what the discoveries have been is that Yeah, they change and here's what's going on, is that they are actually there are actually physical changes in your brain when you're learning something. And that attention and focus helps to strengthen that so that sort of passing states continuing to pass as states become traits. And so you are you're focusing on the neuro self directed neuron. plasticity, you can change your mind to change your brain to change, change your mind. And that and we'll get to this in a second, paying attention to that the negative is like Velcro and Teflon and the positive is like Teflon. So when you start working with changing your states, etc, that you're paying attention to, you know, the fact that negative will come up and is harder to deal with even those voices or whatever it comes into view. So the efforts that we make, it's not that we need to make harder efforts, it's meaning means we need to make smarter efforts, which

Umar Hameed 20:35

Jim White 20:35

Umar Hameed 20:36
And before we started this podcast, we were talking about how we make a lot of shit up.

Jim White 20:44
We make a lot.

Umar Hameed 20:45
And how a lot of things are built on faulty information. So I'll give you an example. for a lot of years, we knew with certainty that the brain does not change. When you reach a certain age, it gets locked in, and it just gets diminished as we get older.

Jim White 21:03
That's what we knew a certain for certain, for certain. Exactly.

Umar Hameed 21:05
And still, Sir Isaac Newton, developed the theory of gravity, right? Einstein theory of relativity, right? plank string theory, we still do these amazing things that move humanity forward with bad information, right. And now that we've got this neuroplasticity, which is a better model, at some point, we're going to find that it isn't. So I guess it goes back to that point of buying things that are useful and use those, and we can still move humanity forward. And then later on, we can make the model better.

Jim White 21:38
Exactly. Exactly. And I think what you're speaking to, it seems like yeah, with these kinds of ideas as we, as we play around with them, where they will take us and it will take us in directions that will if we did not have them, we would not have gone. And it may turn out at the end that we were really off base in terms of the science of it, and something else is going on, etc. But look where we might have come even as a result of having a quote, bad idea.

Umar Hameed 22:10

Jim White 22:11

Umar Hameed 22:11
Speaking of bad ideas is a great time for us to end this podcast. Okay, we need to do another one soon.

Jim White 22:17
We will.

Umar Hameed 22:18
Jim, thank you so much for sitting with me today.

Jim White 22:20
You're so welcome. You're so welcome. It's great to be here. Thank you very much.

Umar Hameed 22:31
If you enjoyed this episode, please go to iTunes and leave a five star rating. And if you're looking for more tools, go to my website at no limit selling.com. I've got a free mind training course there that's going to teach you some insights from the world of neuro linguistic programming and that is the fastest way to get better results.



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