top of page


Having recently listened to a tale or two from a client's recent leadership venture at sea, I am inspired by and curious about what it takes to powerfully navigate the precarious, uncertain and often unpredictable waters of our own lives.

As we know it's one thing to establish a vision, to set goals and objectives; it's another to execute effectively. As we set sail and move into the dizzying depths and complexities of our hopes, dreams and intentions this year, perhaps it's worth taking a closer look at the assumptions that are now guiding us. By assumptions, I mean how we see ourselves - our sense of humor, interpersonal skills, social skills, leadership skills, ability to judge character; and, how others see us - our reputation.

The better we are able to accurately assess ourselves and are attuned to what the perception of others is, the higher the probability for successful endeavors.

Much of what we want to accomplish will require trust and the trust factor is often over-looked. When trust is present in our relationships, language, and environment, it sends a message to our brain that allows us to respond openly, intentionally and in alignment with our aspirations.

Basic Brain Science

Trust and distrust occur in two different parts of the brain. The prefrontal cortex, also known as the executive center is where trust is formed and the amygdala, known as the primitive brain is where distrust originates.

Brain chemistries are catalyzed in these areas with oxytocin being produced by the executive center and cortisol in the primitive center. A simplistic explanation offers that when the brain senses safety, openness, creativity, and trust, oxytocin is emitted. This sends a message to others that we are open for business and want to play, create and partner with others. Conversely, when threatened, the amygdala manifest cortisol fluids, shutting down our ability to rationalize and logic; whereby, going into fright, flight, freeze or appease mode.

Curiosity and insight lead to choice

The more facile we become with identifying our own states of mind, that of others and its impact on our selves, teams and environment, the more choice we have in our response. You will begin to recognize when your client is pulling back. You'll notice signals like micro-facial expressions, skin tone changes, and different breathing patterns that signify trust or distrust.

You'll be able to identify the words or happenings in the environment that signaled the pull back and/or a willingness to dive in and open up.

How is your behavior supporting or derailing your commitments? Are you fostering cultures and environments that promote play, creativity, openness, safety? Are you mirroring the actions and behaviors that you wish for your team, family, and society? Are you identifying examining the belief systems? What are these patterns in service or distrust? Are you wired for trust or distrust? What impact does that have?

In Practice,


bottom of page