‘How The Brain Learns Best’ With Dr. Sherry Yellin

The Destiny Awakening Interviews is a podcast with Andrew Wayfinder and his guests.

Every week (sometimes more) we have a short focused interview with an expert, author, speaker designed to bring you powerful insights, inspiration and ways to break free, live life by your vision and values, and make a difference in our changing and challenging world.

Listen to the podcast at: www.andrewwayfinder.com/blog/DA20

Andrew Hryniewicz

Well, hello everyone. And, a very warm welcome to another edition of the Destiny Awakening Interviews.

I’m Andrew Wayfinder Hryniewicz and I’m joined today by Sherry Yellin, director, entrepreneur, consultant and author.

And a very warm welcome to you Sherry, and where are you hanging out today?

Sherry Yellin

I live outside of Dallas, Texas. So, if you pick up a hint of an accent that sounds like a Texas accent, I’m a native Texan. And it’s a beautiful sunny day here.

Andrew Hryniewicz

Reminds me that there’s… What’s the old country western song, “All my exes live in Texas. That’s why I lay my hat in Tennessee.”

Sherry Yellin

Few of those…

Andrew Hryniewicz

Don’t get me started on country Western lines. So, Dr. Sherry Yellin is the founder of sherryyellin.com, that’s with two R’s and two Y’s.

For more than 20 years, Sherry has worked with leaders with a variety of industries, public and private, domestic and international, including NASA, Texas Instruments, the US Navy, AT&T, PepsiCo and many more.

Sherry combines her command of brain based learning with her experience as a director, an entrepreneur and a consultant to help leaders get “immediate and extraordinary results”.

Her clients describe the results she gets as “life changing, industry leading, pivotal, and transformational” in helping them to surpass all their previous performance and expectations.

Creator of ‘The Cranium Framework’ and the ‘LEAD Leadership Program’, Shelly is also the author of “Unforgettable Leadership: Seven Principles for Leading, Learning and Living”.

Thank you, Sherry, for your time today.

Sherry Yellin

Thank you.

Andrew Hryniewicz

And our title today is, “How the Brain Learns Best”. And Sherry’s going to unpack that idea by answering six questions.

So the first question: Sherry, who is your ideal client, and what’s the transformation your work helps them achieve?

Sherry Yellin

Well, our ideal clients, it’s really maybe twofold if you will. We work with organizations. We typically come in through organizations, but we also work some with individuals.

But I would say the one thing that they all have in common is: they must be what they’re being called to be.

In other words, when I think about all the people that we have the real honor to work with, is that they have a calling that’s greater than themselves.

There’s something within them that’s calling them forward, to really make a difference in the world.

And many of them are called ‘leaders’. They all have titles of leaders, or they’re entrepreneurs. But they have a different mindset. They just show up to the world with this idea of responsibility and growth.

So essentially, I get to get up every single day and work with really high performing people, the greatest job in the world.

Andrew Hryniewicz

So, what’s the challenge they’re facing, when they come to you? And what’s the transformation you then accomplish in that challenge?

Sherry Yellin

That’s a great question. Usually the challenge is: they’ve gotten as far as they can on their own. And, it’s like with all of us, why many of us work with coaches. I definitely work with my coach every single week.

We oftentimes can’t see what we can’t see. And really, the transformation that we want to equip them with, is for them to understand how their equipment works.

Because this three pound bad boy, right here, is the very thing that will stand between where we are, and even what we think is possible.

And, so we help equip them, with practical ways, to better understand how their equipment (the brain) works best.

Because our motto, you know, our mantra or motto… Everything that we base, what we do on, is that when we understand, and we can work with how the brain works best, we can get better results with less effort.

And unfortunately, so many of the time, we’re working actually against how the brain works best. And creating all sorts of unnecessary struggle and costs.

Andrew Hryniewicz

A couple of years ago, I was working on a little presentation around brain and the way it works and so on. And I think the opening, I think the title, one of the working title was “Your brain is not a toaster.”

Sherry Yellin

It can be a roller coaster maybe, but it is not. For sure.

Yeah. You know, it’s just a fascinating field. And, we’re learning every single day. It’s just, it’s fresh. And, I think the big takeaway for me and the clients I get to work with is, it’s so practical. And it doesn’t have to be hard.

Andrew Hryniewicz

Okay, so that is a perfect segue into question number three, which is: What’s the number one insight you would share with someone right now to help them with their brain? Or whatever else you think they need?

Sherry Yellin

Yeah, I think the number one insight is: how much ability your brain has to change, to heal.

With the right intervention, your brain can get better.

You can bust through all beliefs. You can really achieve what may seem to you, at the moment, impossible. It is just absolutely astonishing, what our brains are capable of. That would be one thing.

But the other part of that, equally true, is your brain has severe limitations.

So while it’s this amazing, complex piece of equipment that we don’t fully understand, and we’re trying to understand with our brains, obviously, it has severe limitations.

And, we need to learn how to work with that, not against it.

So we’re not creating, again, unnecessary struggle and costs that, honestly, can take generations, sometimes, to clean up the mess.

Andrew Hryniewicz

So question number four: What is the concept, book, program, talk or experience that has been, that has made the greatest impact in your development?

Sherry Yellin

For sure. The first that comes to my mind is actually a conversation. So I wanted to be a college English teacher, until I became a college English teacher. And realized I did not want to grade five paragraph essays for the rest of my life.

And, I took a job by chance. Someone that I had worked with previously was starting a workplace education program at a manufacturing company. And there was a conversation that happened, that literally changed my life forever.

And, one of the manufacturing employees came into my office one morning, shared with me that she couldn’t read. And there were all sorts of changes going on in her life.

And I started working with her and word got out. And our group of two became a larger group. And, then it spun off into many different groups.

And, because she came into my life that day, I became absolutely fascinated with one question: ‘How does the brain learn?’

Because if I knew the secret to that, I could help her faster.

And, that sent me on a completely different trajectory in my career, my profession, my life’s passion. All because of a single, serendipitous conversation. So, that’s the first thing that comes to my mind.

And paying attention to those moments, you know, with that showing up to really redirect, potentially, your whole life.

But, the second that comes to my mind is the first time I heard Dr. Daniel Amen speak. And it was in California, and it was many years ago. And him standing in our group talking to us about how you can observe the brain while its owner is still alive.

Andrew Hryniewicz

Yeah, he’s the brain scan guy, right?

Sherry Yellin

He is. And it is phenomenal when you can actually look at the brain, again, while it’s functioning. Not after the fact. And we can recognize that, with the right intervention, your brain gets better;

With the wrong intervention, or with no intervention, it can really get worse. But that was just one of those, again… after I had started studying this, and I felt like I wasn’t really getting anywhere…

And, then, to hear him speak about the brain scan work that he does, and observing the brain. And what’s so cool is that decade, from 1990 to 2000, is now called “The Decade of the Brain”, because we were learning so much, so fast.

So, I feel really honored that, I sort of got a front row seat to a lot of those discoveries that were being made.

Andrew Hryniewicz

Question number five: What free resource would you like to share with the audience that would help them?

Sherry Yellin

So, I do have a resource, if you just go to sherryyellin.com/lead, and it breaks down the principles of our cranial methodology.

And our cranium methodology is essentially the seven principles of how your brain learns best.

And that’s what we use when we’re working with organizations, when we’re working with individual leaders, when we’re working with entrepreneurs to help them design their learning programs as well.

That is really the foundation for all the work that we do. And it’s all available at sherryyellin.com/lead.

Andrew Hryniewicz

Okay. And we’ll put that in the show notes as well.

So, we’re at question number six. Sherry, what should I have asked you that I didn’t?

Sherry Yellin

I love that question, by the way.

Gosh, what should you have asked me that you didn’t.

Maybe, “What’s the one thing that causes the greatest interference, with our brain being at its best.”

And, so here’s the short answer to that. And that is threat.

Threat is, as John Medina, who wrote the book “Brain Rules”, another wonderful book, says…

Threat is as crippling to the brain, as arthritis is to the body.

And, I think that’s so important, especially with the year that we’ve had. And really paying attention to ourselves, and those around us, at a higher level in so many ways.

Because our brains have been under threat, at a whole other elevated level of threat, for a long period of time. And, the number one thing that we find in our work, that causes the greatest amount of threat, is uncertainty, confusion.

Your brain seeks clarity.

And, so when you you live in an extended period of time, where there isn’t a lot of clarity, where there is a lot of uncertainty. And, perhaps, if you don’t have, haven’t worked, to build a tolerance for that, threat can seem overwhelming.

And so I think it’s just super important that we are taking care of ourselves at a higher level, which is one of the reasons why I love the work that you do. It’s phenomenal.

And, another reason why I think we’ve really got to rise above, and pay attention to those around us, and what kind of additional support that they may need. Because it really is that devastating.

Andrew Hryniewicz

Yeah, I can definitely echo that. I mean from the standpoint of… I do a lot of work with trauma. You know we’re starting to really understand, as you said, the impact trauma has on neurological development and all the systems in the brain.

And it ripples out and touches so many aspects of our lives. And I think, like so many other things, it’s been so under diagnosed or misunderstood for so long.

So that’s, that’s a really great thing to finish on Sherry. Thank you so much for your time tonight.

Sherry Yellin

Absolutely. Thanks for having me, and keep doing the great work that you’re doing. I’m a big fan.

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Philosopher. Shaman. Architect. Therapist. I love time spent with friends and family, creating beauty and magic, and this amazing planet we all share.