What Keeps High-Achieving Women from Choosing Executive Positions VIII: Conclusions
Joseph LeDoux wrote in his book, The Synaptic Self (2002), that the notion of self is defined in the patterns of interconnectivity between neurons in the brain. We are what we feel and what we think. Yet, the neural patterns in our brain are not static; our sense of self is not a solid concept. These patterns are shifting all the time. We are always in a process of becoming as we move through life. Therefore, we can actively assist in the process of shifting our self-concept. A new self is realized when calling upon the information encoded in the past (self-awareness) and modified by choosing to think differently about present experiences.
The key to this shift is choosing to learn. Our genes bias the way we react to situations, as evidenced in the consistent temperament and tendencies reported by the high-achieving women in this study. However, new connections can be made, which shifts our self-concept and ultimately, our ways of thinking and behaving, by trying out new behaviors and then thinking about what happened. (LeDoux, p. 2-9). Again, this process can be done alone but is greatly enhanced when the high-achieving woman is working with a coach trained to ask questions that facilitate the reflection process.
Therefore, high-achieving women can expand their self-concept by trying out new ways of interacting with people and then discussing and thinking about their performance to create and maintain new synaptic connections.