Note: This material has been extracted from The Effectiveness Guide.
This article will focus on your Awareness, one of the 10 Core Competencies of Effectiveness.
Here’s what I’ve learned from being an Executive Coach for more than 20 years about how to resolve problems.
“Every human has four endowments (gifts) – self-awareness,
conscience, independent will and creative imagination. These give the ultimate
human freedom… the power to choose, to respond, to change.”
– Steven R. Covey
Have you ever struggled with your emotions and the emotions of those around you? Have you ever agonized over how best to cope with those emotions? If so, maybe it’s time to learn how to enhance your awareness.
Awareness is your ability to perceive, feel, or be conscious of events, objects, thoughts, emotions, or sensory patterns to identify and respond to your emotions, the emotions of others, the changing situation, and the external environment. Awareness is also your natural connection and affinity with others that helps you better understand their strengths and weaknesses.
Effective people have a natural connection and affinity with others that help them better understand their strengths and weaknesses, as well as those around them. That special quality is Awareness. The three most important types of awareness that will enhance your effectiveness with others are:
Self-awareness looks at what’s going on inside you (your emotions, thoughts, feelings, intellect, instinct, and intuition).
Murphy’s Law on Awareness:
God gave you toes as a device for finding furniture in the dark.
Situational awareness involves everything going on around you (other people, situations, things, places, and circumstances). This also includes an awareness of your external environment, internal/external politics, social responsibility, and community. Effectiveness demands an understanding of context, accurate assessments of the situation, and the ability to make sense of complex problems.
Spiritual awareness is the realization that there is a power greater than you that created you and everything around you. There’s also a higher purpose for your life – you just need to find it.
No discussion of awareness will make any sense until you truly understand the difference between what you can and cannot control.
This simple prayer, which I learned during my recovery from alcoholism, changed my life for the better because it helped me finally answer this important life-altering question,
“What are the only things I control and can therefore change?”
THE SERENITY PRAYER
“God, grant me the Serenity to Accept the things I cannot change, Courage to change the things I can, and the Wisdom to know the difference.
What can you Really Change?
In this life, you cannot change other people, places, things, situations or circumstances. The only things you can change are your thoughts, words, and deeds.
This may be a shocking epiphany for many of you because you’ve probably spent most of your life trying to control other people, places, things, and situations.
“The first step toward change is awareness.
The second step is acceptance.”
– Nathaniel Branden
However, until you learn to truly control that which you can control (your thoughts, words, and deeds); you won’t be able to influence others. This concept is so important to understand because effectiveness is about influencing others to consistently produce excellent results.
Additionally, most of your future struggles will involve trying to change things you can’t possibly change (like other people, places, things, or situations). This struggle ultimately comes down to you trying to change things from the way things are – to the way you want them to be.
You’ll waste countless hours of time and energy every day trying to change (or control) things over which you cannot change (or control) until you first understand the real meaning and differences between change, control, responsibility, and influence.
This happens because you sometimes confuse the word control with responsibility. You think they’re the same and they’re not! Yes, you may be responsible for your family and your team members. However, you don’t control them. You can only influence them.
And, you can only influence them after you’ve controlled that which you can control: your thoughts, words, and deeds. Thanks to their free agency, they control themselves (some just don’t know it yet).
As a Result, you Only Control your…
- Thoughts: Attitudes, values, confidence, knowledge, character, prejudices, purpose, passion, opinions, emotions, ideas, tolerations, mood, memory, expectations, faith, beliefs, concerns, likes, dislikes, choices, standards, ethics, focus, desires, aspirations, commitment, priorities, goals, perceptions, judgments, and stereotypes.
- Words: What you say (questions, word choice, following-up, praise, recognition, relationships, counseling, coaching, feedback, asking, persuading, courtesy, respect), how you say it (voice tonality, pause, inflection, tone, intensity, volume, pronunciation, emotion, enthusiasm, and pacing), and what you fail to say (thank you, congratulate, guidance, warnings, corrections = the Sin of Omission).
- Deeds: What you do (Actions, achievements, performance, behavior, skills, abilities, effort, experience, education, training, habits), your personal presence (handshake, movement, posture, eye contact, dress, hygiene, grooming, gestures, energy, enthusiasm, spirit), your personal space (desk, office, car, and home)), and what you fail to do (help, serve, give = the Sin of Omission).
The most important thing you control is how you treat others – even when they treat you badly. Do you treat everyone with dignity, respect, and kindness?
I challenge you to share this information with others because the only way to truly own knowledge is to give it away – one of the great paradoxes in life.
Let go of your urge to control or change other people.
You can only influence others through gentle persuasion.
In my next post, I’ll continue to focus on how to enhance your Awareness. Stay tuned! In the meantime, if you need more help, visit TheEffectivenessInstitute.com