The Brain, Happiness and Insurance Head-hunting!

The Brain, Happiness and Insurance Head-hunting!



In this article, I will be dealing with the brains influence on happiness, the perspective as a head-hunter helping someone through a career change, and how all this effects your happiness.


Fear of change logic vs emotions?

As a head-hunter we are always dealing with people at different stages of their career path. We are shown insights into different stages of the change model and how people adapt and react to change, the fear of change and the logic versus the emotional attachments.

But what most people do not realise is that a large amount of people are doing a job they do not enjoy and cruise along for the sake of financial means.

  • Of all executives 40.5% feel absolutely satisfied with their work life balance.
  • Two Thirds of people are doing a job they dislike.
  • Only 30% of people address their unhappiness and look for new opportunities.
  • One 10% actually move opportunity and face there fear.

 face yr fear

Face your fear“Change Curve”

According to the psychiatrist Elisabeth Kubler-Ross she came up with the theory called the “Change Curve”. In this theory it highlights the stages an individual goes through when faced with change and how the body adapts. Her initial theory was done in relation for those dealing with loss, but I have adapted it to relate to this article.

The image shows the “Change Curve”.

change curve1

When a change is first introduced, people’s initial reaction may be shock or denial, as they react to the challenge to the status quo. This is stage 1 of the Change Curve.

Once the reality of the change starts to hit, people tend to react negatively and move to stage 2 of the Change Curve: They may fear the impact; feel angry; and actively resist or protest against the changes.

Some will wrongly fear the negative consequences of change. Others will correctly identify real threats to their position.

As a result, the organization experiences disruption which, if not carefully managed, can quickly spiral into chaos.

For as long as people resist the change and remain at stage 2 of the Change Curve, the change will be unsuccessful, at least for the people who react in this way. This is a stressful and unpleasant stage. For everyone, it is much healthier to move to stage 3 of the Change Curve, where pessimism and resistance give way to some optimism and acceptance.

At stage 3 of the Change Curve, people stop focusing on what they have lost. They start to let go, and accept the changes. They begin testing and exploring what the changes mean, and so learn the reality of what’s good and not so good, and how they must adapt.

By stage 4, they not only accept the changes but also start to embrace them: They rebuild their ways of working. Only when people get to this stage can the organization can really start to reap the benefits of change.

Using the “Change Curve”

change curve 2

With knowledge of the Change Curve, you can plan how you’ll minimize the negative impact of the change and help people adapt more quickly to it. Your aim is to make the curve shallower and narrower, as you can see above.

As someone introducing change, you can use your knowledge of the Change Curve to give individuals the information and help they need, depending on where they are on the curve. This will help you accelerate change, and increase its likelihood of success.

Actions at each stage are:


Stage 1

At this stage, people may be in shock or in denial. Even if the change has been well planned and you understand what is happening, this is when reality of the change hits, and people need to take time to adjust. Here, people need information, need to understand what is happening, and need to know how to get help.

This is a critical stage for communication. Make sure you communicate often, but also ensure that you don’t overwhelm people:

So in relation to headhunting, talking to your boss or your head-hunter about this change, what it means to you? What you want to do about it.?

They’ll only be able to take in a limited amount of information at a time. But make sure that people know where to go for more information if they need it, and ensure that you take the time to answer any questions that come up.

Stage 2

As people start to react to the change, they may start to feel concern, anger, resentment or fear. They may resist the change actively or passively. They may feel the need to express their feelings and concerns, and vent their anger.

For the organization, this stage is the “danger zone.” If this stage is badly managed, the organization may descend into crisis or chaos.

So this stage needs careful planning and preparation. As someone responsible for change, you should prepare for this stage by carefully considering the impacts and objections that people may have.

Make sure that you address these early with clear communication and support, and by taking action to minimize and mitigate the problems that people will experience. As the reaction to change is very personal and can be emotional, it is often impossible to pre-empt everything, so make sure that you listen and watch carefully during this stage (or have mechanisms to help you do this) so you can respond to the unexpected.


Stage 3

This is the turning point for individuals and for the organization. Once you turn the corner to stage 3, the organization starts to come out of the danger zone, and is on the way to making a success of the changes.

Individually, as people’s acceptance grows, they’ll need to test and explore what the change means. They will do this more easily if they are helped and supported to do so, even if this is a simple matter of allowing enough time for them to do so.

As the person managing the changes, you can lay good foundations for this stage by making sure that people are well trained, and are given early opportunities to experience what the changes will bring. Be aware that this stage is vital for learning and acceptance, and that it takes time: Don’t expect people to be 100 percent productive during this time, and build in the contingency time so that people can learn and explore without too much pressure.

Stage 4

This stage is the one you have been waiting for! This is where the changes start to become second nature, and people embrace the improvements to the way they work.

As someone managing the change, you’ll finally start to see the benefits you worked so hard for. Your team or organization starts to become productive and efficient, and the positive effects of change become apparent.

Like anything you logically know that the change is the next step in your personal development and career development, but you have an emotional attachment to your work place, your work colleges and feel safe in your environment.

But, there is a reason why you felt like this and why change will enlighten you and make you embrace your future.



Science behind happiness

According to Dr. Rick Hanson, a neuropsychologist, a member of U.C. Berkeley’s Greater Good Science Centrer’s advisory board, and author of the book Hard-wiring Happiness: The New Brain Science of Contentment, Calm, and Confidence.(2013)

 Our brains are naturally wired to focus on the negative, which can make us feel stressed and unhappy even though there are a lot of positive things in our lives.

True, life can be hard, and legitimately terrible sometimes. Hanson’s book (a sort of self-help manual grounded in research on learning and brain structure) doesn’t suggest that we avoid dwelling on negative experiences altogether—that would be impossible.

Instead, he advocates training our brains to appreciate positive experiences when we do have them, by taking the time to focus on them and install them in the brain.

The problem is that the brain is very good at building brain structure from negative experiences. We learn immediately from pain—you know, “once burned, twice shy.” Unfortunately, the brain is relatively poor at turning positive experiences into emotional learning neural structure.

As we remember the negative more than the positive in the brain it is important that when we experience a positive we have to take in that moment. Like Hanson says in terms of relationships it should be a 5:1 of positives to 1 negative if you want to have a successful relationship.

This can relate to you and your work and your day to day activities. So if you find five things in your day that make it worthwhile, it may make you happier at work or in your overall happiness. – science of happiness and gratitude 


Thinking of a career move?

fish hopin

As I am sure you are all aware, we at Right International deal with the whole Insurance and Financial arena. We deal with all people from all backgrounds placing top talent and taking on the top jobs from our major clients.cropped-180x120-2.jpg

If you are looking to higher top talent, we know our stuff and have lots of testimonials on our website of the top individual we have placed.[/embed]

If you are looking for a job?

Check out our website

and attach your CV or call us on 01932-837798.


brain sides

Try this questionnaire?


Are you happy at work?

This test is a rough guide. It explores your feelings about your boss and colleagues, the pressure of your workload, your autonomy and control, and work-life balance issues. Circle the answers that best fit the statements.

1. My boss tells me when I do a good job

a) Rarely b) sometimes c) often

2. I am given a great deal of discretion in how I do my job

a) Rarely b) sometimes c) often

3. There is pressure at the office for me to work long hours

a) Rarely b) sometimes c) often

4. My job provides me with a lot of variety

a) Rarely b) sometimes c) often

5. My work colleagues are very supportive

a) Rarely b) sometimes c) often

6. I look forward to coming to work

a) Rarely b) sometimes c) often

7. I am overloaded at work

a) Rarely b) sometimes c) often

8. I get stressed from my job

a) Rarely b) sometimes c) often

9. I feel secure in my job and in the organisation

a) Rarely b) sometimes c) often

10. I feel valued by my organisation

a) Rarely b) sometimes c) often

Award points as follows: 1. a)1 b)2 c)3; 2. a)1 b)2 c)3; 3. a)3 b)2 c)1; 4.a)1 b)2 c)3; 5. a)1 b)2 c)3; 6. a)1 b)2 c)3; 7. a)3 b)2 c)1; 8. a)3 b)2 c)1;9. a)1 b)2 c)3; 10. a)1 b)2 c)3.

23-30: You go to work whistling a happy tune, probably to the irritation of colleagues and friends.

17-23: Work can have its ups and downs, but by and large you make it through the day unscathed.

10-16: It might be time to start dusting off the CV and browsing the job ads – but then you probably already know that …


 I hope this helps you and your daily contribution to your own happiness. 



Abigail Pike – video on happiness at work – the science of happiness video – science of happiness – sciecee of happiness and gratitude ( good video)





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