Answer each question on a scale of 1 to 5, with 1 for never, and 5 for always.
- Do you consciously enhance your awareness and let go of judgment when you are seeking a creative solution?
- Are you aware when your mind is on auto-response and shouldn’t be?
- Do you consciously pay attention to and strengthen your observer-self?
- In a disagreement, can you suspend judgment to really listen to and understand the other’s perspective?
- Do you intentionally create mindfulness in the moments you most need it?
Mindfulness is not just something you do or gain from meditation (which is nevertheless a great fundamental to build on). It’s also a moment in time where you can strengthen mindfulness. Not only is it developed in the moment but consciously using mindful moments will improve you as a leader because of the increase in focus, clarity, creativity and understanding the impact of your thoughts, decisions, actions and strategies.
Strengthening the observer self is one of the important aspects of becoming more mindful. Using the Set/Reset technique allows you to break free of the automatic response cycle of stimulus response; same event (stimulus) – same response. Most of us live unconsciously in this cycle; we are on auto-respond, not making conscious choices and not using our free will.
Remember that your observer-self can perceive your thoughts and emotions without getting caught in your emotions. The observer-self exists in your prefrontal lobes, your executive brain. Nowhere else. The observer-self is one of the most highly evolved parts of your brain. It’s the nonjudgmental part of your mind you use in mindfulness. Developing and using the observer-self is empowering and creates greater awareness of what you’re thinking and how you react.
You know that you are in your observer-self when you can notice your thoughts and emotions and can be outside of them, simultaneously observing your thoughts and emotions as you are having them. The observer-self doesn’t experience your emotions; it just observes them. The emotional part of your brain (the amygdala) will experience the emotion.
That’s what you want; you want to strengthen the observer-self so you think feel and act without being caught up in emotion. That gives you the opportunity to decide if these are the thoughts and emotions that best serve you and those whom you affect. The more developed your observer-self is, the greater your level of awareness of what your thoughts are and how they are creating your emotions and your reactions.
Mark Weber, a former U.S. Army Lieutenant Colonel and the author of “Tell My Sons,” wrote his book from the perspective of the observer-self with the intent of letting his children really know who their father was.
Mark discovered he had a very advanced form of cancer after being assigned to an international high-level position. He was at the height of his rising career in the Army when a routine physical revealed Stage IV intestinal cancer. A father of three, Mark was only 38 years old at the time. Over the next two years he fought a daunting battle, his wife and boys at his side.
Weber knew he was not going to survive and upon that realization, he began to write a letter to his children, so that they would know what he learned about courage and fear, challenge and comfort, words and actions, pride and humility, seriousness and humor, and viewing life as a never-ending search for new ideas and inspiration.
The book illustrates how to live an ordinary life in an extraordinary way. Mark passed away surrounded by family on Thursday, June 13, at 4:14 PM (or 1614 in military time, as Mark would have said). Mark’s wish to die at home, embraced by love and with a view of his beloved garden, was granted to him.
Mark’s favorite quote: “Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well-preserved body. But rather, to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming …. WOW what a ride!” – Mark Frost
What about you? Are you playing it safe, or do you want to really take a ride in life? Thanks for sharing.
For questions about this post or for information on becoming a fearless leader, contact Dr. Cathy Greenberg and The Fearless Leader Group at (888) 320-1299 or by email at email@example.com.