Grow Your Inner CEO

    This past week in Colorado, temperatures were in the 100s every day and we went through a blitz of wildfires. Everyone was affected by the heat and the smoke, and most of us had friends and family members who had to leave their homes for a while or lost them completely. During the most intense moments of the fire in Colorado Springs, my family and I were watching the news and witnessed a remarkable response. Of course, there were countless heroic efforts. In this post, I’ll share one man’s story and how we can use that example as inspiration to grow the higher mind in ourselves.

    So, we are watching the scene from the Springs, where 350 homes are engulfed in flames like a bonfire. In the very midst of that, the news anchors interview a doctor by phone whose home and office are right in the path of the fire. Rather than being in panic or shock, which would be quite understandable, he is surveying the scene, letting others know exactly what he has learned, and telling them the best course of action to get to safety. His voice is kind and compassionate, even with a touch of lightness that conveys hope.

    About halfway through the interview, he gets a call saying that he must evacuate his home and office immediately as the fire is about to blow through there. He reports this to everyone and says, “Fortunately, all we’ll lose is stuff. Stuff can be replaced. The important thing is that we got this information and we have time to get everyone out safely. It’s important for all of us to leave now, but, we’ll be O.K.” Then he signed off.

    I am reading a book on neuropsychology (“Awakening The Brain” by Charlotte Tomaino, Ph.D., 2012) that describes a place in our brains, the anterior cingulate cortex (ACC), in the center of the forehead, which houses our executive functions. You might call the ACC your “inner CEO.” Your executive capacities include the abilities to observe yourself and your situation, to take in your feelings and the feelings of others, to remember vital information at the right moment, and to make decisions based on what is best for yourself and those around you. These are just some of your higher executive functions. They were on brilliant display in that doctor on the news in the midst of that fire.

    The good news is that these executive functions are inner skills that we can all grow—at any age. We can grow the size and capacity of our ACC through practice. For example, we can learn to observe our thoughts, feelings, and sensations and the circumstances around us—and see it all as information we can use. We can connect where we’ve come from with where we’d like to go and make good decisions based on this knowledge. We can engage in practices to grow our mental-emotional powers such as self-reflection, meditation, journaling, and other forms of mind-body training. These are available to us all. Through them, we can grow our higher minds and realize our greater potential as individuals and as a society.

    Sometimes it takes challenges to bring our better possibilities to light. It seems that this year is calling forth those possibilities from all of us in a big way. I believe we will rise to the challenge. Times like this ask us to let go of small-self habits and engage in bigger thinking, feeling, and action. Maybe this is our time to step into our higher minds and become a true global community.

    Be well,


    Kevin Schoeninger

    P.S. At Spiritual Growth Monthly, we share mind-body insights and cutting-edge techniques to support each other to grow into our highest potential. Click here to learn more.

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