Episode #33: Your Brain on Jump Thinking

For this episode, we are doing something completely different. I am starting a series on my book, “The Elegant Pivot” with the help of Jennifer Maneely. Jen is a thought leader in the addiction community and specializes in helping parents set boundaries with their adult children who are caught up in drugs and alcohol. Having been a student of her own mind and now a mentor in the addiction community for almost fifteen years, she has keen insights into how our minds work. That’s why I turn to her again and again to help me arrest my brain when it’s jumping to conclusions.

In this episode, we discuss the Ladder of Inference, which is the subject of Chapter Two of “The Elegant Pivot.” and how we jump up the ladder of inference going from our facts to our fears. This conversation is rich with stories of understanding that no matter what, we are going to make up stories…and they are going to be wrong. That is the point of needing to pivot.

Additional Topics:

  • Difference between the practice and performance
  • Nothing is smooth out of the gate; it takes a lot of work and mistakes to make it a performance
  • The Ladder of Inference comes from The Fifth Discipline Field Book and has stood up the test of time.
  • Did the horses get out of the gate, or did I just make up the story that they did based on the few facts that I had?
  • Data points often comes from past and fears
  • Find out over time, the data points are simply part of the normal routine and we assigned incorrect meaning to the facts.
  • Our brains hate gaps, our brain will automatically fill in gaps. We are hardwired to fill in the gaps with bad things, how do we pivot quickly away from filling in the gaps with untrue things? What is a better story?
  • What does it mean to you to master something? Mastering this concept does not mean you do not ever make up stories, it’s about being able to pivot away from filling in the gaps with stories based on past and fears.
  • If we get a chance to check out our assumptions, pivot and check them out.
  • The idea of assuming positive intent is the main conversations I am having with my clients all the time and the book breaks down all the ways that prevent us from assuming positive intent.
  • The CEO role is not the top of the pyramid, it’s the bottom of the funnel.
  • When dealing with someone we think does not like us, treat them as if they do until they tell you directly that they do not like you.
  • Even if someone tells you they do not like you, it’s still not personal and you can continue to show up assuming positive intent.
  • By not taking things personally, we can show up differently with a fighting Francis and pivot.
  • You can pivot and say, “Fair enough, are you still willing to work with me.”
  • Walkthrough of what is the Ladder of Inference.
  • How much our filtered data can influence how we see the situation.
  • Basketball and crazy things
  • Conditioned to focus on things that will reinforce the idea that we are not good enough.
  • The practice is going up the ladder in different ways. What other stories are there? Get practiced at making up all sorts of different stories.
  • If you can check out your stories, go check them out.
  • Next episode about living in ambiguity, discerning signal from noise.

Additional Links:

The Elegant Pivot Book

The Elegant Pivot Workbook

The Unbreakable Boundaries Podcast

The Fifth Discipline Field Book

Guest Contact Information


Email: Jennifer@maneelyconsulting.com