photo Aman Shrivastava on unsplash

“Far from censoring emotion or striving to eliminate it’s influence, it is necessary to recognize, understand and integrate emotions.”

The world, and certainly the world of business, treats our primitive brains as something to be avoided. We are supposed to behave in rational, conscious ways. And yet, Neuroscience shows that decisions are to some degree prepared at a subconscious level prior to the decision being made.

“When it comes to decisions we tend to assume they are made by our conscious mind. This is questioned by our current findings.”

— Max-Planck-Gesellschaft

This article details experimental evidence for a simple decision being prepared at an unconscious level up to 7 seconds prior to the conscious sense of making the decision. As the author rightly notes this does not mean that we do not get to review or veto the prepared decision, but it does mean that there is a template decision taken and presented for us to work with. And it is much more likely we will just go along with the pre-selected pattern.

At Liminal Coaching we see subconscious patterns affecting decision making all the time. And this is not just about ‘what to do’ type decisions. This is about how we react to different circumstances and most important of all how we react to other people.

In this HBR interview, Dan Goleman, author of Emotional Intelligence and Social Intelligence confirms the existence of strong evidential proof of a correlation between Emotional Intelligence and organizational performance. Emotional Intelligence is about mastery of the self and one’s emotional responses as well as recognition of what may be happening in others. Great leadership, he suggests, also requires Social Intelligence which helps members of the team feel known as a real person by colleagues and leaders.

Far from censoring emotion or striving to eliminate it’s influence, it is necessary to recognize, understand and integrate emotions. These are the engine room of the personality. But if we have patterns of emotional response based on unresolved formative experiences, these can easily act like magnets moving around underneath the surface of a table across which we are trying to roll a steel ball in a straight line.

Liminal Coaching works to remove unhelpful subconscious biases and destructive reactive patterns so that a healthy free flowing, balanced emotional engagement with life can be enjoyed enabling you to see yourself and others more clearly and build better businesses.

As leaders, our Primitive Brain can and should become one of our greatest assets.


A quick note that we are currently taking applications for our one-on-one Liminal Coaching for Leadership Development program. We have five spaces open for this Fall/Winter.