Focus on What You CAN Control – Yourself


I see a continued phenomenon where people place their attention outside of their own experience and direct it to what others are doing or saying, or how they are acting while working. There is a strong pull to try to change others so they will behave or act differently.

Consider this exchange I’ve had with groups or 1:1—

Me: What is it that we can actually control?

Response: Our self.

Me: Who has had this thought: “If only you’d be different, my project/life would be so much better…”?

Everyone laughs with their hands raised

EVERYONE agrees that we want others to be different, or to be how we want them to be. We all want to control them and our situations.

Another classic question: “How do I get him/her/them to be more conscious?”

The simple answer: You can’t.

You cannot control others, and any attempt to do so is a waste of time and life-force energy.

Focus on What You CAN Control – Yourself

As you being to be more awake, more conscious, it can be quite tempting to observe when others are unconscious. When practicing, it’s important to focus on what you can control – and the only thing you can control is you.

When you do notice what’s happening with others, simply shift your attention back to yourself. Just as on an airplane, where you are told to “put your oxygen mask on first, before helping others,” I implore you to do the same here.

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 – and you then become 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.

Case Study: When You Focus on Others Instead of Yourself

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 more aware of how he is interacting with others, especially Sara. During our latest session, Jeff mentioned he is noticing that Sara is unconscious, and said she is committed to drama in their relationship.

Having shown him behavioral 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 becomes tense 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 awake in his relationships.

How About You?

While it’s true that you will have colleagues and people in your life who are unconscious, people 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, you can choose to be awake and compassionate and to 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, innovative, and productive!


Would you like to learn more about how to be awake around others and encourage the same in your workplace?

These skills are explored and discussed in my book: Evolution Revolution: Conscious Leadership in an Information Age.


This article was originally published on May 25, 2016, and has been updated