In her book ON LOOKING, Alexandra Horowitz is aware of how ‘blind’ she has become in her habituated daily walk around her block in New York. She invites eleven experts to each accompany her on her walk so that she can experience from their different perspectives, an environment that had become very familiar to her. I might similarly invite a client to take a walk and look at her situation through, say, the eyes of a child, of a dog, of an astronaut, or of her older/younger self, (you can make up many different options) and it is amazing how quickly new perspectives come into her awareness and she sees new options and choices.
This recent video from The School of Life, titled What it’s Like Inside our Minds, inspires me to ask a client where she is shining her spotlight. I invite her to see what was lurking in the darkness that she might bring into the light. Awareness means seeing what’s in, and what’s not in focus. I invite my client to visualize a spotlight (or the beam of a searchlight) to explore the unlit nooks and crannies of her mind and of her heart, to find the places where something is stuck, or to uncover the dreams and ideas that she is not yet speaking into the world.
And this perhaps most simple one: when a client declares something to be fixed in their world, often expressed as a self-limiting belief or judgement (e.g., It’s because I am too young, too old, too careless, too lazy, …etc, etc) I will offer a simple “OR NOT” comment and pause while he hears it. I usually find he will automatically repeat those “or not” words, inviting their own brain and hear to consider an ever so gentle opening and awareness of another way to look at their situation.
Finally, courtesy of IAC Master Masteries Coach Sue Johnston, who this very evening helped me shift my own awareness with the technique of creating an “I DID” list rather than a “TO DO” list. In our coaching conversation this evening, I was reflecting on a day when I had not felt very productive or creative. Where I felt I had been moving pretty slow. When I might even have labeled myself lazy. Sue masterfully brought my awareness to all the things I HAD created and achieved today and which were already on my “I DID” list. With that expanded awareness I was able to fully own how successful my day had been. Additionally I was reminded how important it is for us as coaches, no matter how experienced we are on this journey, to create the space for our own reflection, self-listening and constantly increasing awareness. Thank you Sue.
Awareness expands in direct relationship to the questions we ask; are asked and take time to explore. Like pebbles on a still, deep pond of water, the ripples open up to reveal new insights, possibilities and potential in increasing circles of awareness.
Aileen Gibb: “My work has taken me around the globe and to conversations with people from many different nationalities, cultures and organizations. Wherever I’ve gone, the power of real conversation, founded on intentional listening and enlightened questioning, has been welcomed. It’s a core piece of our humanity to create the space for conversations that matter and to build connection and meaning with members of our family, our business and our communities.”