How changing my brain built my business! As the founder and clinical director of world-renowned TheraPeeds Family Center, TheraPeeds Continuing Education, and Julia Harper, Inc., you can Ask Me Anything about how rewiring your brain can work for you!

Dr. Julia Harper
Jul 10, 2018

Over the past 10 years, my business has grown from just me working out of my NY basement to a huge facility with 55+ employees. It is the only one of its kind and size dedicated solely to therapy, children, and families. Yet it didn’t happen overnight and it wasn’t always easy. As the business grew I was overworked, stressed, and I was trying to get it all done. I tried to be the best mother, wife, and boss – but this was extremely exhausting and work-life balance was absent. I was hurting my marriage, my relationship with my children and my company. 

While in this vicious cycle, I noticed my pattern of behavior. In spite of wanting change and knowing the information on WHAT change I wanted …why didn’t I? Something was getting in my way. ME! Actually, my brain. An old physiological pattern in my brain was being triggered and by using neural-plasticity (the ability of the brain to change) I found a WAY around these patterns and I developed the W.A.Y (What About You) Method. Using the science of neural-plasticity blended with psychology and coaching to re-wire the brain, the mind could create and use new patterns of behavior.

First, I learned to SEE how our brains are designed to react and drive patterns of self-protection when we are threatened. By SEEING this natural pattern in the brain, I began to SEE how it was undermining my behavior and performance in every area of my life. SEEING is the first step. From there, I developed a specific method to CHANGE, by stepping around my primitive wiring to get access to the higher-regions of my brain for better decision-making and ACTION.  I began to teach others how to do this and I challenged them to take the 21-day #seechangedo challenge. You can see examples of what we've been doing on Instagram and read more about it on my blog.

Join me for this AMA and I'll answer your questions on the W.A.Y. for you to See, Change, Do, too! For more info, visit my website: www.juliaharperinc.com

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Which areas of a person will be affected by the symptoms of burnout?
Jul 18, 1:12AM EDT0

Burnout is a sign of reactivity. Burn out can happen in all the most important areas of your life, your Professional, Partnering and Parenting areas. This is because these areas of our lives are the most important, to us and so when something happens in these areas that we ‘don’t want’ we tend to react.  Consistent reactions in our lives can drain us of energy, focus and can lead to us experiencing burn out.

We take our brainstems with us wherever we go, and the brainstem gets triggered into reacting (aka behaving badly) whenever it is faced with something you don’t want to happen. Learning to spot your reactive patterns is the first step in SEEING the areas in your life that are being affected.

Jul 30, 10:53AM EDT0
How does Therapeeds help children reach their potential?
Jul 17, 10:12PM EDT0

Thank you for your question, however this is outside the scope of questions we are answering, since this AMA is focused on business. For more information on TheraPeeds programs please visit http://www.therapeeds.com/

Jul 25, 1:33PM EDT0
Could you talk more about the H.O.P.E. method?
Jul 17, 7:51PM EDT0

Thank you for your question, however this is outside the scope of questions we are answering, since this AMA is focused on business. For more information on TheraPeeds programs please visit http://www.therapeeds.com/

Jul 25, 1:33PM EDT0

Why do you sabotage yourself in business when you start to burn out? How can you change your patterns of behavior to regain the enthusiasm you started with, and be able to apply what you have learned to your business through your behavior change.

Jul 17, 6:51PM EDT0

Most of us sabotage ourselves because we are reacting and we don’t recognize it. That happens not only in business but in life whenever we are faced with something that we don’t want to happen. Business owners and managers are constantly faced with challenges and situations that they don’t want, when facing these challenges, our brains have a default pattern that drives us to react and sabotage and most of us don’t even recognize it. This can often drive negative behaviors that undermine our businesses.

 Based on this, it is only when we can SEE the reactivity that is driving our sabotaging behavior, can we rewire our brains and change them. This leads to us being more responsive, and only then do we automatically regain the enthusiasm we had for our businesses. When we really come to understand that there is a cost to being reactive, and that cost is that it drives burn-out, which limits our creativity and our ability to shine in our businesses. Burn out is a sure sign that we ARE being reactive. 

Jul 30, 10:53AM EDT1
What are the differences between the home program and the intensive? How do you know which one is best for the child?
Jul 17, 8:13AM EDT0

Thank you for your question, however this is outside the scope of questions we are answering, since this AMA is focused on business. For more information on TheraPeeds programs please visit http://www.therapeeds.com/

Jul 17, 11:41AM EDT0
What services do you offer at Therapeeds regarding infant development?
Jul 17, 7:44AM EDT0

Thank you for your question, however this is outside the scope of questions we are answering, since this AMA is focused on business. For more information on TheraPeeds programs please visit http://www.therapeeds.com/

Jul 17, 11:41AM EDT0
Why do you embrace discomfort? Why should all people embrace it?
Jul 17, 6:27AM EDT0

Discomfort in your professional life is a place where you get directed toward your reactions and how these reactions reflects in business, in terms of your decisions and in your relationships. Discomfort is the birthplace of change. Read this blog on how Reactions (in other words discomfort) help you to SEE

Jul 17, 11:40AM EDT0
Why do people lose sight of themselves when things don’t go out as planned?
Jul 16, 10:21PM EDT1

It's physiology, the brain is wired to react in the presence of ANY threat. Threats are when anything that you don't want to happen, happens. So when things don't go as planned, you are in a don't and you are reactive, hence you've lost sight of yourself. For more information on that read my blog: Reactions Help You to SEE

Jul 17, 11:36AM EDT0
What advice can you give on how to become better parents?
Jul 16, 7:59PM EDT0

Thank you for your question, however this is outside the scope of questions we are answering, since this AMA is focused on business. For more information on parenting, visit my website and you will find several blogs very specific to parenting topics that may help you. https://juliaharperinc.com/en/blog

Jul 17, 11:38AM EDT0
What three tools (apps, books, etc.) would you recommend to a woman trying to start her own business?
Jul 16, 7:34AM EDT0

Wouldn’t we all love an app that tells us how to start a business. The person that owns that app, if it’s a good one, would be a billionaire. The most important app I use is the one in my chest. I go inside myself, I decide for myself what I want. The quickest tool I can give you is don’t make decisions with your head, make decisions with your heart and use your brain to implement the decision. 

Jul 16, 1:22PM EDT0
What is the difference between change and do?
Jul 15, 8:33PM EDT0

So let’s just start with Seeing  to help you follow the steps:

Seeing is being able to identify what is happening in front of you.

Changing is deciding that you want to do something different, this is the place where you make decision to change.

DOING is the actual action that you take to what you want

For instance, I SEE that I am 10lbs overweight. CHANGING is deciding that I want to do something different about it. DOING is putting on my shoes and going for a run. Click here to read my blog about it and I include FAQs, where I address exactly this question in more detail.

Jul 16, 1:21PM EDT0
How do you set yourself up to fear less?
Jul 15, 7:09PM EDT0

This comes down to understanding that fear is part of brain physiology. To desire to be completely without fear is unrealistic. I accept that fear is part of my life, but I do not allow it to stop me. What I am alert to is that when fear is present, it will trigger a reaction in me. Rewiring my brain has helped me to SEE fear and its role in my life and it has helped me to respond more than I react. It’s not that I NEVER react…hell NO! I just react a lot LESS and when I do react, my rewiring helps me to SEE that quickly so I can clean it up and not waste time spinning in it. I SEE fear because I have trained my brain to spot Don’t Wants. Then when I SEE the fear, rewiring helps me to step around reactivity to respond. Responsiveness reduces the amount of “don’t wants,” in my life and therefore, I experience less fear.

Jul 16, 1:20PM EDT0
Why do you say it’s not good for parents to be friends with their children?
Jul 15, 12:54PM EDT0

Most times when parents are trying to be friends with their children, they are trying to seek their child’s happiness and approval. This moves them out of the role of being the authority or guide for their children. The research shows that the most positive parenting style is the Authoritative-style. This style requires that the parent maintains authority to guide the child, while not using their authority to power over or control the child. When parents are seeking to be friends, they tend to be using negative parenting behaviors. Read more about this at my blog “Being Your Child’s Best Friend is Not the Best for Your Child.”

Jul 16, 1:19PM EDT0
What is the key to be happy? Is it all about rewiring your brain?
Jul 13, 9:31PM EDT0

It all depends on how you define happiness. There is no one key to being happy, as it’s personally defined. But I can say for sure, all the research on happiness that I have ever read, and my own experience, happiness is about finding it on the inside. In yourself. When we seek happiness externally, we find ourselves trying to control things and others, that we somehow believe will bring us happiness. It becomes an endless struggle and this has been documented as leading to failure.

Being able to put attention on the self-first, which  I call SEEING, is supported by the evidence as the primary key to happiness. The first step to rewiring the brain to create new patterns, even patterns of happiness, begins with SEEING. Seeing our reactivity, Seeing what’s in our way and training our brains to step around dysfunction and useless patterns.

Jul 16, 1:19PM EDT0
How can you rewire your children’s brain so they won’t use their electronic devices so much?
Jul 13, 7:22PM EDT0

Excessive use of screen time has been documented to have negative effects on a child’s development. We know this from the literature. We also know that they shouldn’t be exposed screens for long periods of time. The challenge with screen time is not rewiring the child’s brain, but more so the adult’s brain that gave them the screen and permitted excessive time in the first place. We give them the screens, we let them use it for long times, they get addicted and then we have a problem. As an expert in child development, this is a topic I have worked with extensively. It is a REAL problem. For more details, Please my blog about how to break screen addiction.

Last edited @ Jul 16, 1:18PM EDT.
Jul 16, 1:17PM EDT0
What are your thoughts on meditation as a practice to achieve some mental clarity?
Jul 13, 12:08AM EDT0

Meditation is an important practice as it is a key tool to developing an ability to SEE ourselves. When we meditate we learn to observe our minds so we can SEE our reactive patterns, thoughts, emotions and behaviors. It is the ability to SEE that is the primary step to re-wiring the brain.

Jul 13, 9:57AM EDT0
Do you think that by actively practicing positive thinking you could also hack your brain for success?
Jul 12, 11:21PM EDT0

As with any tool, it is not WHAT we do, but WHY or HOW we use it. Positive thinking in and of itself can be great, however we need to be cautious because it can be a reaction in disguise. Freeze. Many of us use fake positive thinking as a way to ignore/ freeze around what is presently happening. The brain goes to a future where things are positive and great. That’s not brain rewiring. That’s actually getting caught in a hidden reaction and maintaining a reactive pattern. It is important to SEE not only what we are doing, but how and why we are so that we can effectively train our brains to respond to be more successful in every area of our lives.

Jul 13, 9:56AM EDT0
How has visualizing helped you to achieve your goals and prepare your mind for better opportunities?
Jul 12, 4:09PM EDT0

To be efficient and function best in my life, I have developed and used the WAY Method. A Method that is backed by science and has been supported by my own lived experience as well as that of my clients. It focuses on using neural-plasticity to train the brain and the mind to process experiences efficiently, so that we can improve how we behave and function in all areas of our lives.

A key component of the WAY Method is that we use correct intervention, in the correct order, at the correct time. The first and most important component of the WAY Method is SEEING. It is why the Method begins with using specific tools or strategies to teach the brain and mind to SEE itself. You cannot change what you cannot SEE.

While visualizations is a powerful tool, it is NOT a tool of seeing. Therefore, we do not use it as an entry level tool for seeing. Later in the model, after the brain and mind is trained to SEE,  there is an appropriate time to incorporate visualization. However, it is not where I begin with my clients.

Jul 13, 9:00AM EDT0
Is there any downside to neuroplasticity?
Jul 12, 6:33AM EDT0

For clarification,  neural plasticity isn’t a treatment. It is the ability of the brain to change and be rewired, which is backed by over 50 years of scientific research. Neural plasticity is available for the brain to use or not, just like breathing is available to us. It is what the brain is capable of doing and it is up to use to maximize this potential of the brain or not.

Jul 13, 8:56AM EDT0
Can you describe some patterns of reactivity? How can people recognize them?
Jul 12, 5:23AM EDT0

Patterns of reactivity are classic, they are fight, flight and freeze. In the modern world, fight looks like control, flight often camoflages itself as avoid and freeze is hidden in the things we ignore. You can read more about these patterns in many of my blogs, including the most recent. I include specific, real-life examples to help people know how to recognize them.

Jul 13, 8:55AM EDT0
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