Take time to be aware. It’s the opportunity to help others. As a graduate school instructor I am continually amazed when I ask my students how many of them have done training or received instruction on the topics of attention, listening and conversing. The response rate is pretty low which I see as a window of opportunity! Many of us take for granted our ability to fully listen or be fully aware of what is happening around us.
Time after time, many a client have missed key clues or signals as to what’s going on around them and therefore, work with a very limited view of the situation. This limited information becomes the basis for their determination of what the problem is that they are trying to solve. They then launch into problem-solving without ever fully understanding what was going on in the first place. So things only get worse with everyone getting more frustrated. What if we could do better?
There are many reasons why we may not be aware. The first is that we all move way too fast to even have the capacity to take notice. Our lives are so jam packed with activities and hurrying to get to the next place we miss the opportunity to notice. We miss the opportunity to observe and to even think about asking a question or connecting with others. Secondly, our brains and bodies are so bombarded with stimulation from all our senses that we have no bandwidth to capture anything more. We cannot prioritize all the information coming at us so we begin to tune out what is happening around us because all the information is simply too much to handle. Most importantly, many of us have not taken the time to learn the skills needed that can heighten our sense of awareness in both active and passive situations.
When we have the capacity and the skills to be aware of the world around us and most importantly our fellow human beings, then we can begin to tune into how we can best serve others. Often times I will be in a situation and without asking I will go over and offer assistance, or send a hand written note or prompt another to aid someone. Unfortunately, so many others will have completely missed these opportunities. Those situations are teachable moments; opportunities for me to help others see what I have noticed.
One key piece of teaching others is to do so without judgment. I don’t want others to feel bad, I want others to feel safe and to be open to learning how they might better serve others. Better yet, is seeing the opportunity to serve another and to see either a student or one of my children step into that moment because they were aware. These are the moments I treasure!
So take the time to slow down. Take time to think about what you give attention too. Take time to learn skills that will help you increase your awareness (body language, listening & conversing/group dynamics) and find the opportunities to help serve others.
For more stories about what you can see and find by slowing down, please follow the link to my book Seeing the Extraordinary in the Ordinary.