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Mindfulness and Conscious Awareness

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Have you ever been driving and then realize that you have not been paying attention? It happens to everyone. The reason is that although you may think you are in control and aware of everything you are doing all the time, you really are not. Our brain lets our subconscious take over whenever necessary so that we can focus on other things.  

Can you imagine how difficult it would be if we had to be consciously aware of everything that we were doing, like walking? We would have to think about each step, what muscles to use, how far of a step, and how to properly plant our foot. It’s too much! So, what happens is our subconscious takes over for us and handles things it has learned to do through repetition. 

I’m sure you are wondering where we are going with all of this. I visit with a lot of different people during my workshops and business coaching sessions. Every time I present a program, I make it a point to try and change it up a bit to avoid looking like or sounding like a mindless robot. I also focus on staying engaged and watching the responses and reactions of the people I am speaking to so that I can adjust or modify if necessary. 

Sometimes, I’ve had this happen; I’m talking to a client, and they are looking directly at me, but then jump up and tell someone to handle something for them that has absolutely nothing to do with our discussion. At that point I can tell the client was not actively engaged in our discussion.  

This also happens when a service technician goes out to a customer’s home or business and instead of actively engaging in conversations with the customer, the tech is so subconsciously programmed into the same routine every day that they never actually converse and end up making assumptions about the job.  

On occasion, a customer may disengage after a quote is presented because they didn’t expect a certain price. Instead of listening to the technician, they get stuck in their head, wondering how they will pay for repairs or a new unit. I recommend re-engaging their brain and bringing up things that divert the thinking process from fight or flight mode to something more pleasant. Anything would work, just bring them back to reality and present them with a financing solution or a menu of options to calm them down. 

Even managers who are speaking to employees are guilty of not engaging in conversations. I experienced this several times by sitting in on company meetings held prior to my presentations. The business owner or manager begins the meeting by negatively talking about some issue they are having and doesn’t allow any feedback from the team, who had all disengaged at that point.  

Should you find the need to counsel an employee about an issue, it is important that you ask questions about the circumstances and environment that led up to the infraction to prevent them from shutting down. 

Lack of conscious awareness is also a reason why a lot of accidents occur. In fact, some of the safety videos that I’ve seen or have shown are on real-life accidents that sometimes look horrific. However, showing these videos instantly engages the viewers’ brains. Naturally, that person starts thinking about what they are doing and becomes consciously aware of what is going on because they do not want a scenario that causes them to have an accident like the one they saw in the video. 

Mindfulness of what you are doing and saying takes practice and focus. Being aware of what you are doing, how you are doing it, and what you are saying is sometimes difficult to do because we’ve let memory and trained behavior take over for us. When engaging with others, think about what you are saying, look for responses that ensure they are listening, and pay attention to your surroundings, it will keep you from becoming a mindless robot on autopilot.  

Frank Besednjak

Posted In: ACCA Now, Training

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