I’ve always thought about awareness as something a bit mystical and difficult to pin down. It seemed like a good idea but I had put it into the “either you have it or you don’t” column. I’d come to think that either people “were or were not” aware. Very black and white. That all change in a workshop I just finished in Italy.
For a long time I’ve used a model to help my coachees and students understand the steps in intentional learning. I just call it the Awareness Choice Practice Model.
We have to know there is something we could learn. We need to choose to learn it. We need to use it or find a way to practice it so it becomes more or less habitual.
Until a workshop I just finished I’d never addressed what awareness is or whether we can intentionally expand it but I did an exercise with the participants was amazed by the result. The exercise was this:
- Image of a single tomato in the powerpoint (we were in Italy after all)
- A request that they individually write down in bullet point form all the points of awareness they had about tomatoes.
- After 3 or 4 minutes I asked them to count how many bullet points they had
- Working with a partner I asked them to share their items one by one and for the other person to add to their list any they had not written down.
- At the end we debriefed the number of points they started with and the number they finished with. In all cases they did not double the number because every pair had some overlap
- Finally, I asked them what they learned about awareness from the exercise
The answers were:
- It is not so complicated to expand awareness
- It requires listening
- It is possible to have awareness of awareness
- They had to trust their partner wasn’t trying in some way to trick them with their list
- They had to share – their awareness wasn’t something they owned
- Curiosity was needed
- Once they heard a new point of awareness they couldn’t forget it
For me a once mystical part of myself became practical. I don’t doubt there is more to awareness (I’m just now aware of it) but this experience helped me see there is an eminently practical way to approach awareness and help people understand how they can simply and consciously expand their or teach others. It was quite thrilling. I’ll be using this exercise again with my clients and invite you to try it out. If you want to personalize it you could pick a different vegetable….or are tomato fruit?
Registrations are now open for the Emotions and Coaching workshops in New Mexico (April 3 to 8) and France (April 19 to 22). A past participant said “I’ve been to many trainings on emotions and cried a lot but not learned practical tools. The difference with this workshop was that I only cried once and I came away with tools I can use every day. Thank you.”
Looking forward to seeing you in April.