Consciousness is one of my favourite words to describe what we do at Leading Edge Professional Development – in fact it is in our tagline. We work with horses to help people be more conscious – or in other words more self-aware of their unconscious behaviours and attitudes – so they can become the most authentic version of themselves and, by extension, better leaders.
Horses sense the unconscious in us and respond. In one of our programs, our horse, Kylie, sensed something in Julie, one of her human team mates, and just dead stopped. No matter what they tried, the team could not get Kylie to budge. Julie realised that something from her past had been holding her back and until that moment she did not realise its impact. There were actual tears of release (and yawns from Kylie!) and the team was able to move on.
We all have unconscious biases that impact the way we communicate and behave. It’s part of being human and something we all have to work on continuously. Some ways you can improve becoming more conscious (when you don’t have half tonne quadrupeds around to help you) include:
– Take time to think about how our actions. One theory of objective self awareness says that when we focus attention on ourselves, we are able to evaluate whether the way we are thinking, feeling and acting lives up to our standards.
– Listen, and listen actively. Listening is a skill that is important in relationship building.
– Asking for feedback is a good start, but we also have to learn how to accept honest feedback and act upon it.
– Avoid judging others and look out for our unconscious biases
– Be yourself. While it may seem counterintuitive to be yourself but also conscious of your behaviour, the closer we are to our true selves, the more conscious of our actions.
What are your favourite lessons in consciousness and how did they come about?