The decisions that you make, your approach to issues, and your response to others relies on your awareness.
If you have been following my blog, you know that I recently have begun taking yoga classes. One benefit of this is the opportunity to take some time to analyze myself. To feel what parts are hurting and tight and what parts are relaxed. The soccer season has come to and end but, like always, the body has endured some damage. During this time at yoga, I acknowledge, but don’t judge the areas of my body that feel pain. This acceptance step is important.
When I’m coding, I don’t know everything. There are parts of my knowledge that have weakness or need stretching a bit farther. Accept this. It’s the first step in doing something about it. When we realize we don’t know everything we put ourselves in a great position to learn. It’s important to take the time to realize this. We can often go on for years without reflection on our skills, abilities and limitations.
Becoming aware of where you are allows you to make a plan on how to proceed forward. What are the steps you need to take to get to your goal from where you are?
A lot of people are able to get a good handle on themselves. They can become very self aware of the how they are feeling, what foods agree with their bodies, and what type of work they like to do. Something that is more difficult, is the next step of being aware of others. How do people on your team feel? The Core Protocols by Jim McCarthy is a great way to get a status of how your team is feeling. If you are more aware of how your team is feeling, you can work in a higher state of trust and understanding. This can put you on the path to becoming a high performance team.
Sometimes a more difficult problem can be the environment around you. If you are lucky enough to be working at a small company or start up, you may be able to impact your environment to a great degree. You may able to help shape a healthier environment that can better support your team’s goals. This pertains to the physical and emotional environment. Is there a lot of trust from upper management? Is there transparency? Are you in an open space? Are your ideas heard and taken into consideration? Is there value placed on the team’s needs? For those in large organizations, you often have little to no control or impact on your environment. Don’t give up! You can still change the environment immediately around you, which can send a ripple of improvements everywhere.
Here’s a quick exercise you can do to increase your awareness:
1) Lie on your back for a few minutes and close your eyes. Think about how your body feels. Do any parts ache or hurt? It’s ok, just acknowledge them. The reasons don’t matter, you are just getting awareness of your self. Listen to your whole body, not just an injured area, or recent bump.
2) Now, pay attention to your thoughts. Don’t judge them, just acknowledge what you’re thinking about. This is about awareness of self.
3) Still on your back, give some thought to other people on your team or in the main group that you interact with. What’s important to them? How happy are they? The reasons are not important, just think about where their heads are at.
4) Now think about the rest of your company. What’s the environment like. What are the strengths and weakness? No judgement, just awareness of what is going on.
5) Take three slow breaths in and out.
With all this awareness at your disposal, you can make better decisions, approach things more effectively, and interact with others with a deeper understanding of their perspective.
Remember, like retrospectives, this has to be repeated at regular intervals.
Things change so be aware!