Training your memory can help you become a more mindful leader. It will also give you the tools to ‘connect’. This is a huge component of memory, the ability to connect. Whether it is to people, goals, vision, mission, knowledge, anything you want to connect to, memory training will help. Before we answer the question of how training your memory helps you connect, we need to first understand the reason to want to connect.
What is the result of better connecting to people? We build stronger relationships, improved rapport, and build bridges between human beings so that we can establish trust. A strong trait of a good leader is to not only connect with people, but build the trust in those to confidently so they follow through on the leader’s vision.
The question now is how can training your memory do this?
If you want to improve your memory, you need to build strong associations. Story making is a key component to memory as it helps build the engagement necessary in the brain to ‘connect’ to anything you want. In fact, that is how we train for memory competitions – by creating elaborate stories with what we want to remember. It is also how I memorised two Yellow Pages phone books, by making stories. If you want to connect better, make up a story for it and use all your senses, emotions, visual capabilities, imagination, and mentally get deeply involved.
For example, I have a number of clients I coach that have difficulty waking up early in the morning. They want to be able to get up early, exercise, meditate, get emails done, write, and so on. However, they don’t get to do any of those things, unless they somehow cram those things in during the day or after work when they are essentially tired and can’t be bothered. For those that are in similar positions now, imagine what you would be able to achieve if you just woke up earlier? There are many reasons for not being able to wake up earlier. However, if your goal is to be awake at 5am every morning and go for that run, then you have to set your intentions and use some form of memory training (story making in this instance) to make it happen. No matter what the circumstances.
Create the most amazing story in your mind for waking up early. If your intention is to wake up early and check your emails, then visualise and more importantly feel how awesome it is seeing your inbox decluttered. Feel the relief of having smashed out a whole bunch of emails before your day even begins. For some people that’s being productive and it’s a great goal for them.
If your intention is exercise, then don’t just visualise getting up early to exercise. Imagine how amazing you feel once you have exercised. Imagine all the benefits that come with exercising. Imagine your body feeling alive, energised. Feel the success of having a good workout. When I was in my teens my strongest story for exercise connection would come from the shower after my workout. I would feel amazing just by thinking of the shower afterwards because it just made me feel great. That in turn, motivated me more and more to go to the gym.
Tell your brain positive stories. Tell it in the past tense like it’s already happened. From the examples above you would have noticed that my stories were exactly that. I imagined the result of being productive and relief first from emails, and then felt the positive effects of exercise on my body and how good it felt after I took the shower.
So now you have a technique to work on to connect to what you want to be able to do. If you want to connect to people, build the relationship with regular communication, be fun, have a laugh, create positive experiences which in turn will lead to a better connection story. If you want to connect to your goals, visualise and feel how amazing it would be having achieved them and what life will be like after that. Use all your senses, feel it like it has already happened.
Now for those leaders. You not only have a technique to help you connect better. You have a way to also empower others with these skills. The more you practice making these stories and connecting to what you want, the better you will be able to propagate this to your staff, teams, fellow workers, friends, family, etc. Think about what you can really do, rather than think about the difficulty of achieving the task itself. Those higher goals you have set for yourself start to take vision and it is up to the leader to make it happen. So start training your memory, it can make all the difference.