Heighten Your Sense Awareness
Are you one of those people that are task driven? Are you a left brain driver?
Don’t stop reading! Seriously stop for about three minutes and take some time to learn something about you. I challenge you to finish this short blog and better yet, I’m going to speak to the side of your brain you don’t often acknowledge. No, I am not going to have you do meditation or have you sing Kum ba yah. I’m simply going to create some awareness about your senses. How well do you know your senses? If you’re not sure, then you might be missing something important? What is sensory awareness and why is it important? As a coach, I often find myself wondering how aware my clients are of their senses. If you have a high IQ, what is your EQ level of intelligence? As a teacher, I often said if a child struggled in social development then it would have an impact on their academics. Many times I find this same issue in coaching executives. They live in what I call a world of “doing” and often never visit the world of “being”. Our being has to do with emotions and sensory processing. Often with these clients, I turn to sensory awareness. It is not too far out of the norm for them to explore. For example, I can question them about something that they love to eat and then have then relate their taste description to the issue we are exploring. I had a client that was an Executive Director of a large organization. One her intake form she described herself as a “foodie”. Her favorite food to bake was cupcakes. During her coaching session, I inquired about her job and what she enjoyed about her work. It was a difficult task and she struggled. She went directly to what she didn’t like. We then explored what worked well for her in her job. I decided to support her in this difficult task and asked her to create the ideal “perfect work cupcake”. I asked for her to give me a description of the foundation which would create great stability, what were her main ingredients would be to offer an amazing taste and aroma, then she proceeded to explain what would create the best topping, and lastly, how to obtain the honor of being on the top of the best work cupcake? By having my client step out of the norm, she began to heighten her situational awareness by connecting what tasted, looked, and smelled good, to what worked well in her job. We often attach a memory to one of our senses so having this tool can be helpful in a pinch.
Is there something that you love to smell? What would it be like to add that smell to a cloth, place it in a zip lock bag, and when you have a moment of self doubt or anxiety open the bag, set it next to you, and allow your senses to take you to a better place? This is also another way to create a pause to give yourself a break. The smell is just the sensory trigger to help the process move along.
Once you create a pause and return, what happens? More times than not, we find that our clients report that they have more clarity and notice things they had not previously seen. In fact, while our brain gives us the feeling that we’re taking in the whole picture it is an illusion. The truth is we are only paying attention to certain senses and ignoring the rest. Do you remember being told as a child that if you didn’t know an answer to skip it and come back? What are our reasons for not following the same rule as adults?
If you want to strengthen your situational awareness, you have to be truly intentional about it — you have to consciously think about utilizing and directing all your senses to a greater degree. You have to train for observation. And the first step in doing so, is getting reacquainted with the strengths and weakness of your senses. Below are two senses that you can start creating awareness around:
If we train our eyes to see things we normally would not see what is created for us? Perhaps, a bigger picture? Could you get home from work without looking? You might get close as over time you create a mental map without really noticing what you have done. Some people call this walking through the day to day motions numb to all influences surrounding them.
What happens when you take a moment to notice an eagle soaring across the sky?
Did you know that 1/3 of our brain power goes towards visual input? Would you believe it if I told you that a majority of the time we first process hearing and then our sight comes into play? Our hearing leads our safety factors and allows us to respond through visuals. Our hearing influences our visual insight.
As we move into the month of October, I would like for you to create some awareness around your senses. October is National Sensory Awareness month. Our senses play a large role in our day to day living. Take a moment and create some awareness around your sight and hearing this month. If you know someone who suffers from sensory awareness reach out and learn more about them. What we hear or see is made up of so much more information than just the input from a single sense. What do your senses tell you?