Sometimes, we forget our own power in handling unexpected situations.
I have noticed that many things can cause significant stress at work, and only some people are well-equipped to deal with pressure, deadlines, and unexpected situations in conscious and authentic ways. We often recur to our subconscious programs: habits, patterns, and beliefs. This programming keeps us safe and gives us a false sense of control. After all, we are habitual beings.
Last week was hectic at work, and I could see one of the sources of conflict among coworkers: rigid mental models, translate into an inner conversation that only perpetuates them. Let me give you an example – we were super busy because a last-minute deal came through, and we had to register participants for an event. We were running against time, and the marketing people had a certain way of seeing the situation. However, operations had a different perspective and approach. Sounds familiar?
Person A: “Please do not include the price of the ticket in the confirmation letter.”
My first reaction was to say, “that is how we do it and how it will be.” I am usually flexible, but I had this reaction because marketing had been pushing my limits for a while.
As soon as I heard myself and felt the annoyance, I paused, there was a space between me and the reaction, and I saw a rigid mental model right there! I immediately realized there was no good reason to resist – it was just habits. How we do things become neural canals, so the brain knows the familiar way and fights something different. However, if we cultivate awareness, we can consider another way. The second I realized a pattern got triggered, I asked myself: why not? What would happen if we did it differently?
My answer to my coworker was: “Sure, no problem.”
That mini-second of awareness was essential because I saw the value of practicing self-awareness daily. Recognizing what might be limiting us and others around us is a powerful way to be flexible and approachable and work as a team. It helps us understand that we all have those subconscious programs and, for the most part, are unaware of them. I then realized why other people stick to the familiar – because they cannot identify their triggers and thus cannot self-regulate.
It is also important to highlight that when we can recognize our patterns, beliefs, and habits, we also develop empathy toward others.
For example, in my case, I had the sensation of being in an expanded field of awareness. So, I was able to see my limiting pattern, my behavior, and my reaction and at the same time I felt compassion towards others and myself. I realized that other people go through the same conditioning as me – the only difference is that now I can see myself, a practice which has required daily effort for many years. My daily self-awareness practice is essential, and I will keep practicing for the rest of my life, because an additional benefit of it is that I feel content and satisfied. This feeling keeps me grounded and fulfilled.
Self-awareness requires daily practice because we are trying to train ourselves to recognize habits, patterns, and beliefs, which are the subconscious programs that direct our behaviors, decisions, and perceptions. According to Dr. Bruce Lipton, a biologist who studies epigenetics, we can re-program our subconscious with repetition.
Still, before transforming those programs, we must have the ability to identify that which gets automatically triggered.
When we practice self-awareness by intentionally directing our attention and focus to becoming the “observer,” it is clear that to live a conscious life. We must commit to our practice which entails courage, intentionality, and being willing to be uncomfortable. When we befriend our discomfort, the path becomes satisfying because, to me, there is nothing more enjoyable than seeing myself evolving.
I like to share my journey — if you want to know my daily practice, send me an email. I will be happy to share.