Once
Upon
a Time

Alli Graham - Founder, SheRules.Online

What ‘Once upon a time’ does to your brain.

It excites and builds anticipation. It suggests that something exciting – adventure and maybe even magic – is in the near future. Your brain associates the phrase with something good – interesting stories, pleasure, spending time with people you love and who love you.

It immediately implies what you’re going to hear something that’s not real. It’s not based in reality. It’s a fantasy. Wherever it goes, it’s fine. You don’t have to take your logic with you.

Those four words make your brain feel comfortable, unthreatened, reassured. They convey a formula, rules, parameters, a rhythm that makes you feel secure. Your brain is primed to turn off its natural cynicism and disbelief and open up to possibility. ‘Once upon a time’ relaxes your brain. It transports you from where you are, to somewhere fantastic, brilliant and safe.

So, what on earth does this have to do with business training?

Business training is also, typically, very formulaic. But it has a very different effect on most people’s brains. It sends them to sleep. It makes them anxious. It makes them feel overwhelmed and often people find that the very last thing they want to do after they’ve learned a new business process is to actually implement it.

Instead of feeling inspired and relaxed, many people find that they have a sort of post-learning overwhelm hangover. And absolutely no desire to act on what they’ve just learned.

This is a problem, because many people who start businesses will experience situations where they have to learn and then do things that will take them out of their comfort zones. As the business evolves, the requirements on the business owner will too.

They’ll be presented by an almost infinite number of possibilities and opportunities that will require them to learn and do new things. Which will naturally mean that they’ll spend at least some of their time in a fairly stressed state.

Being stressed tends to put the brain in a fight or flight state.

Which can lead to overwhelm.
Which can lead to procrastination.
Which can lead to busyness rather than business growth.
Which can lead to a business owner spending time doing the wrong things
Which in turn can lead to stagnation and unfulfilled potential.

This can often mean that instead of business being easy, abundant and joyful, it’s difficult, stressful and unrewarding.

So, the way to stop that from happening is to make sure that at any given point, growth is easy and the next step is obvious. Which means that you need to know what to do, and how to do it. And to want to do it.

You have to find a way to get your brain to listen. And then absorb. And then percolate on what’s it’s heard for long enough that it can put the bits of the jigsaw together and come up with an ideal strategy.

The best way to do this?

It’s to start a story with ‘Once upon a time’

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