Business Review - The Right Focus
During a cancer diagnosis at age 24, Josie discovered how to focus not on fear of dying, but on how she will live. This is a lesson she now uses to coach leaders.
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When Josie Thomson, CEO of Wise Advocate Enterprises was diagnosed in 1991 with terminal cancer. She focused not on the fear of dying, but how she was going to live. Her experience using this mindset gave her insight into how leaders can tap into a more productive way of thinking to make better decisions.
“When at the age of 24, I was diagnosed the first time with terminal cancer. I was given in writing six months to live. There was something in me that was like, but I don't believe those words. I was very aware that there were two battles going on. One was to not die because I wasn't ready. And it was scary thought. And the other one was I really, really, really, really, really wanted to leave.”
Thomson learned that the benefits she experienced focusing on what she wanted rather than what she didn't want meshed with her study of neuroscience.
“Now, primarily because our brain is wired for safety to minimize the chance of threats in our environment, the brain will automatically know without needing to think about it, what we don't want. Whenever you say you want something you're always looking forward. And so you engage that higher political functioning of the brain, which then gives you much more options in terms of creativity, innovation, openness, willingness to explore new possibilities. So while I'm focusing on what I don't want, what am I not focusing on? The very thing I want, which is not possible when I'm focusing on what I don't want. Neuroscience actually answered a lot of the questions around, what did I actually do? What worked? Why did it work and how more important am I? Can I take this out?”
“Business Review” is a production of Livingston and McKay and the Hankamer School of Business at Baylor University.