jen spencer coaches

Innovation as a Muscle

In my opinion from the work I do and the trends I see through the actions of others, we are all having to be more innovative and creative in how we approach our work and lives.  Whether an entrepreneur or entrepreneurial in spirit, self-employed or working for others, we are having to work smarter.    

I have spent the last 6 months immersed in varied forms of innovation and creativity.  It’s run the gamit ranging from professional to woo-woo in the form of content design and creation, ideation, brainstorming, mind mapping, writing, yoga, energy work, or process painting.  The list could go on… 

I dreamt innovation last night. And, what I heard this morning when I woke up was louder than it had ever been before.  The neural pathway around innovation and creativity is getting stronger for me.  No longer carrying light weights, that muscle is able to hold twice as much as it could before.  It’s in my subconscious!

And, through that experience and excitement, I am able to articulate with confidence and more “knowing” and first-hand experience the distinctions of what I do for a living:   I help people think better, smarter, and faster.  The topic is irrelevant, the process is the same.   To create new wiring or habits or insights, we have to spend attention and time and repetition on that thinking.  Positive reinforcement is like steroids to those new neural pathways.  Acknowledgement helps build those muscles.  Without it, muscles can grow, but with positive reinforcement they flourish.  All those ingredients allow for developing neural pathways and connections in our brain to gain bigger market share. 

I highly recommend The Myths of Innovation for more meat to chew… 

Any other resources you want to share?

Indulgent Education

I recently decided to put an ad in CRAVE magazine.  One of the questions they asked was “What is your favorite indulgence?”  I had to think for a millisecond, and I put :  As of late, education.  

Whether it’s a conference like Rise Austin, Improv, Intuitive Painting, it’s all good stuff!  As a coach, learning is an essential part of my business.  Aside from the professional element, each educational opportunity provides me with the opportunity to grow if I want it.  

And, education isn’t just a class. Our friend came to SXSW Interactive and Music festival to check in on the interactive world in regards to his website Photo Induced.  Even though I didn’t attend the panels, I learned so much from the photos he took and how he described the sessions.

?’s:  What are your educational outlets?  What have you experienced educationally, where your take away forever changed you?  

Call to Action:  Share the wealth of your development. so others can benefit!

Entrepreneurs teaching Entrepreneurs – RISE Austin
03 14 09, 12:33 am
Filed under: Business Related, General, Growth + Development, Resources

Last week was the RISE Series here in Austin.  Every city should have a RISE Series.  Hundreds of entrepreneurs from all over the city attended free sessions provided by the community, ranging from how to borrow money to how to live a more meaningful life.  In essence, the community gave back.  Powerful, successful people in the entrepreneurial community gave back.

It was a provocative event full of creativity from varied disciplines, educational formats and personalities. Here are the unifying messages and collective wisdom I walked away with:

  1. Have purpose in what you do.
  2. Be passionate.  It’s essential to carry you through…
  3. Clarity.  Why?  So you a) know what your offering is and b) Know what you need to ask for.
  4. Use your resources.  Entrepreneurs don’t do it alone.  
  5. And, all of these things provide a strong core, so when you are on the boat with a full glass of water, you can maneuver the waves as much as possible…And, even when you are really balanced, you might spill water.  How you clean it up and take the learning from the last spill to carry you through the next one is the key. (Thanks, Tommy Darwin!)

Oh, and the fact that it was free – huge bonus.  
I can’t wait to do it all over again next year. 

The dominating emotion in a room wins…
03 08 09, 11:07 pm
Filed under: Business Related, General, Growth + Development, Health

It’s been scientifically shown that the dominating emotion in a room wins.

We’ve all seen this at play:

*A group of naysayers gets turned around by a passionate, positive voice.

*You go out with a group of friends that are all in a great mood when one brings up doom and gloom and the mood of the group becomes deflated. Sound familiar?

I’d like to share with you what goes on in our beautiful unconscious minds during times like these. Our brains will respond to any given situation or environment by either approaching or avoiding . This often happens without intention and is an automatic response. (more specifics at

Approaching happens when positive experiences and emotions occur (interest happiness, excitement, etc.). When one is in a state of approaching, they can see possibilities and options more clearly.

Avoidance usually happens during experiences of threat (fear, anxiety, sadness, etc.). Threats can come in all shapes and sizes. For example…

* A client kills a creative idea they don’t understand.

* A parent feels threatened by their child’s lack of listening during an inappropriate outburst in front of other people.

* A Baby Boomer manager feels threatened by a Gen Y employee who has a stronger skill set than themselves in a particular area. Avoidance limits options and squelches creative thinking, affecting high-level decision-making, innovation, and learning potential.

Essentially, we would all rather experience approaching versus avoidance.

So, what can you do to create more approaching and less avoidance?

1. Recognize which people, groups, and situations you typically experience Approaching with, and which you experience Avoidance with.

2. Stay curious about what causes excitement and interest for those around you. Foster that space, whether it’s your boss, co-worker, employee, lover, friend, child, or parent.

3. Stay conscious and mindful. One of my coaching teachers, David Rock, described mindfulness as looking at your thinking from a 3rd person point of view…that is, observing your thoughts without judgment. For more information on ways to create Approach, email The NeuroLeadership Institute ( to get a copy of David Rock’s paper on the SCARF model.

Not always easily but very simply, we create new habits by spending continuous time and attention on them. Unfortunately, you don’t go to the gym after 3 months of being inactive and instantly walk out with a better-looking ass. The same applies for our thinking.

Godspeed, and may you experience much approach in the upcoming months! 

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