Mindfully Focus On What You CAN Control

I see a continued phenomenon where my clients place their attention outside of their own experience and direct it to what others are doing, saying, or how they are acting while working. There is a strong pull to try to change others so that they behave or act differently. We continuously hear this from our clients: “How do I get him to be more conscious?” The simple answer – you can’t. You cannot control others and any attempt to do so is a waste of creative, life force energy. I find when coming off of autopilot and stepping into consciousness skills that it can be quite tempting to observe when others are unconscious. When practicing, it’s important to focus on what you can control. The only thing you can control is you. When you do notice what’s happening with others, simply shift your attention back to yourself. Putting your focus on others is a waste of creative energy and a productivity drain. Just as on airplanes where you are told to “put the oxygen mask on first, before helping others,” we implore you to do the same. Become skillful and masterful at lifting your own consciousness. This is the easiest way to invite others to do the same. As soon as you put your attention on how conscious (or unconscious) others are, you are wasting effort on something you cannot control. You then go unconscious yourself!

Whatever you place your focus and attention on will expand and grow. Therefore, if you continue to focus on how others are unconscious, you will see these behaviors continue and expand right before your eyes.

To share a real life experience, consider my client Jeff, who has not been able to create a satisfying relationship with his co-worker, Sara. I have been facilitating consciousness skills with Jeff and after just 3 sessions, he is becoming more aware of how he is interacting with others, especially Sara. During our latest session, Jeff mentioned that he is noticing that Sara is unconscious and committed to drama in their relationship. Having shown him mindfulness practices I asked him, “In your interactions with Sara, where are you directing your attention and what happens to your own level of awareness? How are you perpetuating the drama in your interactions?” By bringing Jeff’s attention back to his own experience – the only thing he can control – he was able to see that it is actually, he who is committed to drama in the relationship. This shows up in very subtle ways. He makes passive aggressive comments, blocks productivity in email, and he becomes tense (he contracts) when he is with Sara. Jeff was so busy placing his attention and awareness on Sara, he became unconscious to his own behavior. Jeff is now redirecting his focus to his own behavior and being mindful in his relationships.

While it’s true that you will have colleagues and people in your life who are unconscious, who choose to be on autopilot and are not open to seeing how they are showing up, there is a simple answer. During these situations and all situations, have compassion! Everyone is on their own journey and it’s not personal. Be compassionate and know that you have control over one thing – you. Regardless of how others are showing up – choose to be mindful, compassionate and focus on yourself. You won’t change others, but you may invite them into a conscious experience. In the meantime, you will be in high vitality regardless of others.

Focus on yourself and invite others into a higher vibration – into an exceptional way of being - connected, creative and productive!

Would you like to learn more about how to be conscious around others and encourage the same in your workplace? Look for my new book: Beyond Ego: A Framework for Mindful Leadership and Conscious Human Evolution.