When I first arrived in Ireland a few weeks ago our landlord was showing us around our new place. There were so many unique features we had to learn, and it seemed there was a switch for everything. Many of the appliances, such as the stove or shower, have a separate on/off switch so, even if you turn the dials of the oven to the appropriate settings, nothing works unless you flip the overall switch for the unit.

Same thing for the shower settings; there is a shower cord that needs to be pulled before you can operate the unit that powers the shower. However, before you pull that cord, you do need to set a switch for either shower or bath. And, in case you want hot water, there is also a switch for that. So if you want a shower, you have to manually switch on the hot water, wait five to ten minutes for it to heat up, push the switch lever up for shower, pull the cord for the shower appliance, then set the dials for the pressure of water and level of warmth. An interesting side note — regardless of your dial settings, the stream of water is rather meager and there is a definite fluctuation between hot and cold water that never seems to even out. Quite an experience!

Baths are much easier. You only have to turn on the switch for hot water, another switch for bath (as opposed to shower), and then open the faucet valves. For a stronger stream of water, just open the valves. and then self-adjust the water temperature using the faucets.

Electrical outlets aren’t much simpler. There is an on/off switch for each electrical outlet. So even if you have the TV plugged in, it actually won’t turn on until you switch the individual electrical outlet to the on position, then press the power on the remote or unit itself.

So here’s my question – do we have an on/off switch for our brains? The simple answer is yes. The more difficult question is – how do you access it? For all of the electrical needs here in Ireland it’s pretty intuitive. If you look around the appliance or outlet, you will eventually find a switch. Unfortunately there’s no visible switch for your brain. The brain itself is nicely covered with a hard shell of bone, skin and hair (Well, at least hair for some!).

So what turns on your brain? The big turn on is motivation. Yes, we hear quite a lot about passion and what interests you but, when it all boils down to it, motivation is the key. You have to figure out what motivates you, and it’s probably different for different activities. For example, I have a passion for teaching, really enjoy the creative process, and so spending time developing a curriculum is pretty easy. Writing, however, is not as high on my list. So for a writing activity, I have to motivate myself by remembering how important it is to communicate with my community, sharing my insights with others, and that it can eventually lead to people responding. And of course, I may have a treat at the end – like some chocolate or reading time. Another inducement for me; I like to cross off activities on my calendar, so crossing off a writing assignment motivates me to stick with it.

Additionally, here are a few activities that will help your brain to fully function in tip-top condition:

  • Sleep – It is the electrical juice that charges your brain. When you have enough sleep, your brain is fully powered. When you don’t, you’re running on a low voltage that will give out.
  • Focus – When you are multi-tasking and trying to do too many things your brain is overloaded. Like plugging in too many electrical cords for one lonely socket.
  • Breaks – Take micro-breaks to allow your brain time to assimilate the information required and stay engaged.

What do you do to engage and keep your brain fully functioning?


Kathy Hart, Ed.D. has a driving passion for human change and transformation. Her goal is to provide professional women with the support and resources needed to re-imagine and lead even more abundant, joy-filled and purpose-driven lives. If you are a woman wanting to reclaim your voice, realize a long-held dream, or just live your life to the fullest, take concrete action by contacting Kathy at kathy@clearvisionconsult.com. The choice is yours!

Services that Kathy offers:

  • 1:1 coaching to support the journey into your next life transition, whether work or personal
  • Trusted advisor for leaders navigating work changes and requiring an expert guide
  • Speaking and workshops on human change and transformation
  • Small group work and team development to boost the group’s performance