1. Attention-Tuning our radio frequency
During times of crises and trauma our interior landscape is magnified and amplified onto the lens with which we view the world around us, making it even more critical to build choice and discernment into what we pay attention to and how we choose to focus this attention.
The central source of leadership is increasingly pivoting around this moment by moment awareness. All around us there are ever subtler, more complex ways in which the media, politicians, leaders, and decision makers are trying to distract us from ourselves-from our inner wisdom.
There are complex algorithms designed specially to lure us away from ourselves and into the hands of those who think they know us better than we do-this continues to accelerate with the rapid growth of AI, technology and digital transformation.
When we pay attention to ourselves, as the starting point, then we are best placed to navigate and adapt to the complex competing decisions and choices in our ecosystem whether personal or professional.
If we want to be decisive, clear minded and impactful, one of key advantages is our ability to focus our attention where we want it to be rather than where others want it to be. Now this is easier said than done, given the competing noisy market of media, politics, economics, family, health etc… However now more than ever, it is becoming urgent for us to build this muscle which ensures we have a reservoir of energy and endurance to face the challenges up ahead.
Developing the courage to place our attention inside is a practice. With so many distractions curated, created and constantly vying for our attention, we believe our key differentiator in life, leadership and business is fast becoming focused into where we place our attention.
To tune in and listen to the voices, impulses and thoughts that drive our behaviour. To be brave enough to consider what we are doing to numb and quieten the sometimes frightening desperate space inside ourselves rather than developing the introspective muscles that build resilience and curiosity to observe, notice and leverage off what is happening inside and chose what behaviours we want to lead with in the world. It is like tuning our inner radio frequency to the station we want to listen to rather than the station that others want us to consume unconsciously.
This enables us to default to what we need most today, to notice how we are feeling, what our priorities are, what our team needs from us and what results we want to make sure we achieve.
If we start our day deliberately and build daily habits that refresh us, reset our attention, and lean into our clarity of where want to go then our impact and performance will be more powerful and enduring. If our day starts with a cortisol shot and adrenaline spike from checking the newsfeed, facebook or whatsapp without pausing, setting the tone for the day and visualising how we want it to be, it can often unravel into the agendas, needs and priorities of others. Leaving us flustered, fatigued and overwhelmed because we have allowed our days to be hijacked by distraction and the noise around us.
The more consistently we place our attention inside the more effectively we will be able to place our attention outside in leading our teams, people, families and organisations. The more we pause, reflect and reset the more impactful our decision making, clarity of mind and focus is on the priorities, outcomes and milestones we want to build into our lives and businesses.
Here are some practical ways to build attention or reset it in your day
- One of the most common practices of successful people is to build in reflective time into their day. For example, Jeff Weiner, chairman and previous CEO of Linkedin, reportedly spends 60-90minutes in daily reflection-see the appendix for more practical tools
- More leaders like Marc Benioff (CEO of salesforce) and Ray Dalio (Founder of Bridgewater Associates) are building mindfulness and meditation into their daily rhythm ensuring they emerge with greater clarity on their attention and deeper energy resources to generate results through others
- Take 2-3 minutes between meetings to recharge your energy by walking, skipping, doing push ups, getting fresh air, doing a few breathing exercises (see Breath the ultimate superpower https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/breath-ultimate-superpower-gavin-shaskolsky/)
- Have shorter meetings and build gaps between them rather than doing back to back meetings which drain our energy resources
- Take a power nap
How much attention are we scattering and losing in being distracted by the constant noise outside of ourselves?
How much energy could we regain by building attention into the rhythm of our day?