I am in the midst of a Pilates Teachers training program (Fletcher Pilates) where I have to complete hundreds of hours. One of the principles highlighted in the program is Awareness. In the material I have from the program it is described as follows:
- Having or showing realization, perception or knowledge;
- The condition of being aware, cognizant, conscious and perceptive;
- Proprioceptive understanding of where your body is in space and in relation to the equipment throughout the movement.
This awareness in Pilates is not just awareness of movement in relation to our bodies, posture & equipment, but as teachers’ awareness of our clients need when we teach.
So what has this got to do with career, having this keen sense of awareness I see is a basic life skill. I recalled our government this year highlighted the same issue. We have become rather insular, me-focused and our “awareness-nervous” connection to our brain seems to be missing.
I have met quite a number of people who lived in Singapore for years and some who have become Permanent Residents and when we asked them if they know who is the President of Singapore….silence… One time there was a Singaporean who would not answer that question. There seems to be no general curiosity to either find out or even general awareness what is happening in the country they lived in.
At work this sense of awareness is important, not just what we are responsible for but also in general the people we work with, the environment, culture and overall interactions of people & processes. Imagine you are working on a very high profile project for your organization, but you are not aware of the importance and impact it will have. Or you think you are doing a great/important job that requires much of your experience and expertise but are blissfully unaware that really what you are doing can be easily replaced with automation, thus making your job at risk.
I have met people who do not even know the name of their Head of their Department, sure the department may have 500 people, but not to know who is heading it hmm…. I hear reasons like I just have to do my job or I am not interested in office politics or I am too busy.
Developing a keen sense of awareness can really help us do our job better, more efficiently and having a greater sense of fulfilment as well. So how do we develop it or can it be developed?
I like to think that we can train our awareness system; just like in Pilates when I first saw that Control Balance exercise, I am like no way can I do that at my age, my muscles are not even aware that it is capable of such movements. I am not conversant of nervous system but what I understand from my Pilates Anatomy course is we can let our nervous system know that hey our muscles can do this movement. Once brain makes that connection that it can be done and with practice I think I am getting there in terms of doing that Control Balance exercise.
I think we can start with simple things like on our way to office how many people we notice are smiling today. Do we notice that the frangipani near our place has really nice pink flowers? We can start in the office taking a genuine interest in finding out what we are doing how does it contribute to the bigger scheme of things? Build an awareness of how our work is delivering value to the team, department, company, customers and even society, and then start enjoying our work.
Have a brilliant 2015.