Why Aren’t You Paying Attention?

A common theme through my life at the moment, is that of waking up. Deliberately and intentionally choosing to notice what’s going on a round me. It’s enlightening, inspiring, motivating and gives me a totally different perspective on life.

I urge you to try it.

Paying attention sits in the realm of Emotional Intelligence, an increasingly recognised factor for success at both work, and in life. Having the ‘smarts’, the technical capability is only part of your toolkit. Another, equally important, if not more so, is being able to connect on a human level with those around you. It’s about being able to recognise, understand and manage your own emotion, recognise and understand emotions in others and then use those skills to build positive relationships and outcomes – particularly at work.

This week, I delivered a webinar for the Professional Women’s Network (PWN Global), in which I talked about six ways you can wake up and begin to pay attention. Here are the first three for you.

Begin by being conscious of ‘self’. This is not the same as being self-conscious, which shuts down your EI capabilities as you become too focused on yourself.

1. Pay attention to your moods. Practice checking in with how you’re feeling, naming and verbalising your emotions. This helps us to recognise how our mood impacts our outlook, mindset and behaviour. A good place to start is by checking in with yourself at the start of the day. Noticing can make us more self- aware of how we may be showing up for others, and over time, put us ‘at choice’ – we can then make a decision about how we respond to our environment rather than cruising through life reacting to habitual triggers. Slow down, recognise how you’re feeling, breathe. From here, it’s possible, with practice, to choose another way to be.

2. Pay attention to how others treat you, respond to you and interact with you. If it’s not the way that you’d like, then knowing this puts you at choice, as you can decide to do something about it. Being open to feedback from coaches, teachers and mentors helps us to see this impact more clearly – what’s working for us and what isn’t it? Don’t let feedback re-rail you by getting defensive. We are all a work in progress and good quality feedback is a gift as it signposts the way forward for us.

3. Pay attention to your current skillset and be committed to improving it.

“When we learn to drive, it becomes automatic for us…however, if I want to become a F! driver, I need to go beyond this.” Pete Hamill, Embodied Leadership

This is about developing mastery and understanding what’s needed to achieve greater success. Pete Hamill recommends 20 minutes reading a day, and then implementing whatever you learn. For reading, substitute watch, listen etc, whatever suits your particular preference for consumption.
He says:
“Take the time to do this and you will notice a difference in your knowledge and understanding of leadership, your organisation and your industry, and so will those around you!”

There you are, three ideas for waking up and paying attention to what’s going on for you, so you can begin to make the changes you may need to create more success for yourself.

I’m Susan Ritchie, the author of Strategies for Being Visible: 14 Profile-Raising Ideas for Emerging Female Leaders which you can buy from Amazon, Barnes and Noble and Waterstones