Leadership Awareness: From Abstraction to the Practical

By: Robert White Monday October 14, 2013 comments

Executive coaching clients often comment that in my intense work with them to improve their attitudes, habits and behaviors, thus increasing their personal and professional results. I return consistently to promoting the practice of greater awareness, responsibility and communication.

I do this because in my experience, it works.  Every time.  In every circumstance.  In every country.  You get the point, right? The following excerpt from my book Living an Extraordinary Life has generated positive feedback and I thought you might find it of value in your journey.

With love and respect, 


Awareness … and Three Dollars

“These days, just awareness and three dollars will get you a cappuccino – no more.  As vital as awareness is to the process of improving your life, to suddenly be awake and aware means nothing if you simply leave it at that. extraordinary leadership

Awareness only matters if it impacts my actions.  When I sleepwalk through life, all is mundane, a safe routine.  When I am awake and aware, living in the here and now, I see the world with new eyes.  We often forget that every living thing we see—our friends and family, children, parents, pets, and all the animals and plants—they’re all going to die sooner or later, and we don't know when.  This moment is all we have, all we can count on.  Being aware in this way means that when I come down the stairs to greet my wife or child at breakfast, it needs to be as if it were the first and only occasion, as if it had never happened before.

When I live in the moment, or more accurately, when I live as if this were the only moment I had, the daily round of home to office to home to weekend shopping to office is no longer tedious.  I appreciate each moment for what it actually is – a new experience.  Each day is filled with such moments, new and unique, totally different from the last, even if the activities in which I am engaged are exactly the same.  Every 24 hours, I begin the day seeing myself and my world with a freshness that promotes true joy.  My senses are alert to the sounds, sights and smells around me.  I am fully alert to the moment of my existence.  I am awake.  I am aware.  I am alive.  I am.

A friend was working as a sales executive in England.  He shared with me the story of one associate who was a total ‘routine freak.’  He did everything the same way every day.  He asked how he could increase his income and was told to change everything in his routine and then change the change every day.denver leadership

Get up at a different time daily, have a different breakfast, vary the route to work.  It was even suggested he violate the very strong agreement he worked under to be ‘on time’ everyday, to be late for work occasionally and learn to deal with the disapproval.  My friend even helped his associate move his furniture and instructed him to keep moving it weekly.  He cut the cable to the couple’s only television as nightly TV watching was an essential part of the routine!

The result was dramatic – the associate’s income increased exponentially.  Of course, the really interesting ending to this story is that three years later, the associate was back to his routine and even his furniture had been returned to exactly the same location.  His income had returned to its old level.  He had temporarily changed his behavior and not his consciousness ….  so of course his behavior went back to its old pattern.

To make awareness of the moment an ongoing reality for yourself demands heightened alertness.  You will need to keep working at it every day for it to be valuable.  As you progress, you remain increasingly in the here and now; your experience will be sharper, cleaner, stronger and more alive.  Feelings of contentment and joy will grow.

There is nothing 'New Age' about the process of awareness, and neither is there any great secret to being more aware.  You simply need to choose it, moment-to-moment.  Again, it’s simple, not necessarily easy and worth the effort.” robert white leader

*** excerpted from “Living an Extraordinary Life” by Robert White.  More information and your signed copy is available at http://www.extraordinarybook.com


Extraordinary Living Action Steps: Building Awareness

To build greater awareness means taking some time for yourself … and this goes beyond the refrigerator magnet advice to “stop and smell the flowers.”

  • set a regular time that works for you to spend time in silence

  • whether you pray or meditate or walk or swim … do it regularly

  • keep a journal – for you only. Write what occurs to you after being silent and throughout your day

  • review the journal from time to time – look for patterns, insights and even breakthroughs in perspective

Just doing the above can dramatically shift your experience of life … even from ordinary to extraordinary!

By becoming more aware (perhaps stimulated by the above practices) you have the tools to make new choices.  By taking personal responsibility for past, current and future behavior (free of judgment, guilt or blame) you gain personal power.  And, the final step is to communicate, communicate, communicate.

Robert White

About the Author: Robert White

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