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“People may forget what you said, they may forget what you did, but they will never forget how you made them feel”               

                                                                                                            Maya Angelou

What’s been your experience, in love, life and work?

Our experiences matter because we are shaped by them, and they also contribute to our future outcomes.

Cast your mind back to an event that you thought was an unforgettable experience.

What made it so? Was it the colours, the sound, the taste, the surrounding beauty or those you shared it with?

It’s been said there are three basic requirements to sustain life: food, water and shelter. Matt Lieberman, social cognitive neuroscientist recently added a fourth — social connection.

When Hurricane Sandy struck in November 2012 thousands of people in New York and its surrounding area (with the impact of the recent snowstorm still in the news, this reminds me November is probably not the best time to visit NY) were left without food, fuel and worse still, no power for heat or light. But what the TV crews focused on was the frustration of some people unable to use their smartphones. Emergency pockets of power were quickly provided to enable WIFI access and TV footage showed people queuing to recharge their mobile phones.

If indeed Internet access is the fourth life-sustaining requirement, it is a reflection of our brain’s basic need for us to connect to each other.

We are wired to connect because it enables us to do more as a collective group and it keeps us safe. It allows us to share our experiences, and to accumulate knowledge and understanding.

In business the focus has often been on facing the challenges of our busy world, of having to work faster and harder to solve some of the complexities and problems we face in a daily basis. This is essential to our survival, yet misses those fundamentals most likely to motivate us to want to do our work and feel rewarded by it.

I recently caught up with a friend who works very hard in her chosen profession, and knowing she had been previously overstretched in her role, asked how things were going now. Her eyes shined bright as she shared how much she was loving the work she was doing, how great her co-workers were and how lucky she felt to be able to do her job. The special sauce for her, are the people she works with and the value she feels she brings to the work she does.


She’s not looking for accolades or monetary rewards; it’s the sheer pleasure of her work experience that she finds rewarding.

You might be thinking, if only more of us could experience the same — well we can:

by choosing to develop a mindset that is open to change and challenge,

by working with those with whom we share common values of trust and integrity

and by boosting our cognitive stamina with energising thoughts and activities.

There has been a lot of talk in the workplace around being more people focused, mostly in the area of customer service, which is a good thing. However, the business of business involves those people who work in the business. It’s about fostering a work culture that is brain safe for all, a culture that drives intrinsic motivation, engagement and performance.

  • What if the focus were to shift towards ensuring your workplace experience was more positive, supportive and nurturing? What difference would that make how you see your job or role?
  • What if you felt that you could always share your ideas, feel trusted by your colleagues and challenged to stretch yourself a little further. Would that change your perspective of whether you choose to stay with a particular company, to seek promotion and contribute more?

High performance brains start with positive work place experiences.

Dr Jenny Brockis

Dr Jenny Brockis is a medical practitioner and internationally board-certified lifestyle medicine physician, workplace health and wellbeing consultant, keynote speaker and best-selling author. You can now pre-order her new book ‘The Natural Advantage’ due for publication in October 2024.

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