Three Simple Ways to Be More Aware This Week

Posted 05.11.2015

keepcalmIf you’ve been reading my posts, articles or books for awhile, you know I do my best to keep things simple. Most of us have too much on our plates to make life any more complex than it already is. Hence, my emphasis on simplicity.

For instance, the definition of leadership presence I introduced in The Next Level breaks that concept down into three sets of behaviors: personal presence, team presence and organizational presence.

For another example, when I coach people who want to be more effective leaders or less stressed in their lives, I encourage them to start by focusing on doing one or two things that are in the sweet spot of relatively easy to do and likely to make a difference. If that works, keep doing it. If it doesn’t, try something else.

As yet another example, the definition of mindfulness that I offer in Overworked and Overwhelmed is that mindfulness equals awareness plus intention. So, in this week’s Mindful Mondays post, I thought I’d go a little deeper on the first part of that equation – awareness. Here are three simple ways you can be more aware this week:

Listen: This week, look for at least one opportunity to listen without an agenda. That means you’ll need to move past transient listening which is where a lot of us spend a good bit of time. The next step is to move past transactional listening where the goal is to solve a problem or get to a next step. Transformational listening is where you want to be to be more aware. When you listen that way, your only goal is to learn. (The Chairman of JetBlue talked about that in the New York Times this week.) When you listen to learn, you become more aware.

Watch: Pay more attention to the unspoken communications this week. Watch for the little nuances in facial expressions that can clue you into what the other person is really thinking or how they’re feeling. Notice the body language. What’s it telling you about how they’re receiving you?

Feel: When you get stressed this week, notice where you feel in it in your body. Is it in your neck, your temples, your shoulders, your jaw? When you notice where you feel it, try taking a break of a few deep breaths and some stretching or other forms of movement that could relax those areas. For bonus points, see how early you can feel your somatic (from the Greek word for body) to stress. The earlier you’re aware of the stress, the easier it is to head it off at the pass. What you’re feeling in your body is your early warning system. It helps a lot to be aware of that.

So, those are three simple ways to be more aware this week. What would you add to the list?