Neuroscience, Coaching and Lasting Change

Jeff Caliguire 09/22/17
I once thought, if people could just find out what they were made to do… find their real life-calling, it would change everything! People would love their work, find meaning and purpose and be happy, really happy!

So in 2001, I resigned as a pastor of a church, and set out to help people discover their calling… their purpose.

Well, I was wrong. At lease I wasn’t totally right!

Knowing your purpose and calling does indeed make a difference. HOWEVER, the missing key ingredient: It’s this: “a way to change.” It’s how to transition from the “mini-me” to the “real me” in the every-day of life.

I have no doubt that most people aren’t living the lives of deep fulfillment or achieving the purpose they were made for. I still believe that many people don’t know who they are at their best.. their purpose of calling.

And CNN Research agrees. Their study on well-being concluded that about only 20% of adults have a strong sense of purpose and are fully satisfied with their lives; AND less than 10% strongly believe their lives are ideal.

There’s a big gap!

And one of the biggest reasons for the gap: Most of us don’t know how to 1. Discover that purpose and 2. Engage it by knowiong how to change their lives by changing our brains.

Let’s look at #2.

Brains need to be changed from patterns of stuck, stressed and feeling inadequate to free, peaceful and achieving potential as a way of life.

And most education and training (even spiritual!) hasn’t equipped us do this.

However, today, like never before, there’s something that can. It’s great coaching.

It may be why today coaching is bursting as a profession and people from every sphere now hire us! (a $2 billion dollar industry in the US!) When I started 16 years ago, most just assumed I was a sports coach!
  • Harvard now has a department that teaches coaching.
  • Companies now pay $500 an hour for coaching for their leaders.
  • Good Leadership is becoming one of the sought after skills. And Ram Charam in the Harvard Business Review recently said, “There’s no question that future leaders will need constant coaching.”
Let’s face it, most people (well, really all people) have things in their lives that something that are really toxic… and they may have come to believe they simply cannot and will not change! Vision, dream, calling or not! They’re moody, inconsistent, negative, disouraged and just plain STUCK with what they feel like life, DNA or the divine has given them!

Albert Einstein once observed: "We cannot solve our problems with the same level of thinking that created them."

But new thinking, coaching and neuroscience has answers! Really?

Modern neuroscience now shows what the Bible has been saying for thousands of year: BRAINS CAN CHANGE!

As a man thinks, so he is.” (Proverbs 23:7) And “Be transformed by the renewing of your mind” (Romans 12:2)

Unlike even 20 years ago, when it was believed that brains are the way they are, studies in neuroscience now show that WE have the power to change our lives by changing our brains.

The great news: We are NOT victims of our biologies or even our present circumstances. We are co-creators of a our brains and change agents for others.

Modern discoveries in Neuroscience now demonstrate that you can PROACTIVELY create new thoughts that change your brain. And those thoughts are not air. When you think you are creating tangible protein creations and mental real estate. You grow your brain with your thoughts!

Good thoughts —— healthy and postive brain.

Bad thoughts—- negative, toxic and unhealthy brain.

Harvard neurologist Alvaro Pascual-Leone explains that the brain can grow new pathways -- about 1 millimeter a day. Over time those pathways enable new habits that make a big difference.

Therefore, because you are NOT powerless, you have the ability to actively replace negative, pessimistic thoughts with postive and hopeful thoughts and habits. The scientific term is "neuroplacticity."

When you allow negative thoughts to run rampant in your brain, you allow the power of negative “voices” that often emit from a tiny almond size portion of your brain called Amigdala to take charge.

This portion of your brain helps you stay alive when attacked by a lion or standing in the middle of highway. Amydalas specialize programmed in keeping you away from what it perceive as “dangerous change. “You can’t do this! Stay safe! Do what you’ve always done! Please! Please! ”

Unfortunately for most of us, our amydalas are working over time and its resulting in more and more. And we need the perspective of coaching to turn off what holds us back and create new neural habit of hope and health.

When the amygdala (Let's call her "Ammy" for short) is working overtime, resulting in more negativity and growth, the more peace-producing brain part, the hippocampus tends to shrink, resulting in a reduced ability to learn from mistakes or put things in context

Thus, the more negativity and stress in your life, the less learning and understanding or what’s really going on. Your fight-flight-or-freeze response gets stuck in the "on" position and you underperform and the trend continues.

So, why coaching!?

Because great coaching helps you brake free from the ineffective but “hardwired” parts of your brain and helps you replace the negative and self-defeating thoughts with healhier ways to see he world - including you!

Coaching helps question “stinkin-thinkin” and replace it with new thoughts.

Coaching isnt’ counseling, but may, at times, be more helpful in breaking free from chronic neuro-problems that result in innefective stress, anxiety, and at times, even depression.

A coach helps you

1. See yourself at your best

2. Discover new ways to think and discard patterns that are self-defeating.

3. Rewire your brain by changing your habits (some of which have been formed by negative and “hijacked amygdala thinking.

1. The first great coaching step is to help you envision yourself thriving and fully engaged.

Coaching will help you create a personal picture of you living into health, freedom and even life-giving adventures. You see yourself doing what you were made to do… and that changes your brain!

2. Great coaching stretches your thinking to “think different.”

You weed out of old ways of behaving and gain "aha's" where you see your blind spot.. and choose to move past it.

3. Great coaching helps you create new habits

These new habits push out the old and then hardwire new thoughts into being your routine and way of life.

And, as studies now show, such change doesn’t need to take so long! You can create a new habit in as little as 21 days!

What do you do with this?

Well, give coaching a try! It’s what great leaders, athletes, actresses and creatives have figured out.

Your abiltity to quiet your mind, focus your attention and become present to issues isn’t secondary to your work. It IS your work!


Consider becoming a coach yourself! (or just learn coaching skills) Full time, part time or as part of your life or passion involvements.


When I was a junior in college, an incredible leader of a non-profit I highly respected invited us to stand if we were willing to “Come help change the world.”

I stood up in answer to his challenge. I think about this all the time.

I now believe we can change the world.. but it starts with changing our brains first… That’s where real change ripples from. And that’s what creates real leadership.

THEN helping others do that… just one person at a time.

This may be your time to both experience coaching… THEN become a coach for others.

Are you ready to discover AND engage your purpose?

About Jeff

Jeff Caliguire's personal mission is to unlock you to discover and engage your callings and dreams. He is an author, coach and retreat leader who dreams of the better world when millions of people unleash their full potential by doing what they were born to do!

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