Have you heard of the power of three? As a gardener there is a rule of thumb to plant in groupings of three. Being raised Catholic; I became very familiar with the Holy Trinity. As a professional coach, I learned about the power of the co-created relationship that includes the client, coach and relationship; each as separate and united parts of the whole. Even habits are formed by a 3-loop process, as demonstrated in Charles Duhigg’s book The Power of Habit: cue, behavior and reward. The power of 3 is both scientific and artistic! Tapping into the science of three, I am going to share 3 practices that I have found key in the process of life and business success. I call these the power-packed Triple A because if you want to move forward in your life or business, these 3 practices will serve you well.
I have always been a curious person and loved to sit and watch people and hypothesize what drove certain behaviors. I never realized that I was strengthening a skill that would develop my sense of awareness. The skill of ‘watching’ is observing. I observed human behavior — that was my interest and I became very attuned to behavior and language patterns. However, when this skill really served me was when I started turning it inward: meaning, getting into observation of myself. In order to really heighten your awareness it is important to periodically take a huge step back from the experience of life and work and get into observation.
For example, lets say you are in conflict with someone or with yourself. Conflict is an area where a lot of people would rather sweep it under the rug than bring it out into the open. This practice usually hurts you, the relationship and/or your business.
To heighten our awareness, we need to take a step back from the experience and ourselves and get into observation. In doing so, try to remove all subjectivity and just observe the facts of the experience and your being in it. This helps you to get present to the reality of the conflict.
After you remove the subjectivity, invite it back in. The ‘subjectivity’ is how you are ‘thinking’ and ‘feeling’ about your experience. What are your thoughts saying to you about your experience? What emotions came up for you? What are your thoughts saying about your emotions? We often times act subject to our thoughts and emotions so it is a great practice to get into observance of them and maintain some objectivity. Your thoughts/emotions are only as powerful as you allow them to be! (Notice that the awareness is about YOU in the situation — not the other party in the conflict!)
Bringing awareness through observation techniques to the situation helps you to process the conflict and take the next step, which is Acknowledgment.
As you are pulling experiences into focus and becoming more aware of you in your experiences, acknowledge the reality of what is! Acknowledging is admitting the existence or truth of an experience. In doing so, it gives you the power to deal with it.
If you do not acknowledge what is, you will not move beyond it. You will bury it, avoid it, and resist it for the sake of the peace/harmony/fear or a number of other reasons. Here is the thing: what you resist will persist! Life has a way of bringing things back up until we allow ourselves to fall into it and learn how to recover. Acknowledge the conflict to the other party AFTER you have taken the time to heighten your awareness of the conflict and you in it. A couple of things to remember when acknowledging:
- Be honest
- Speak from “I”
- Name your perspective — what is your point of view?
When you have fully acknowledged an experience in your life or business, or as in this example, the conflict, then the final step in this power packed trio is Acceptance!
Acceptance is defined as ‘taking something given to you’. Notice that it does not say ‘taking something good, nice, positive, etc.! Sometimes it appears that life does not hand you what you want. Lets take conflict for example; you may not ask for it, but suddenly it appears!
The key is how quickly you can move into accepting the reality of what life is offering so you can choose what to do with it. If you are in non-acceptance, you are setting yourself up for making someone or something wrong. Three key questions if you feel you are struggling with acceptance:
- Are you making yourself wrong?
- Are you making your life wrong?
- Are you making others in your life wrong?
The truth is you are not wrong, your life is not wrong, others are not wrong.
What may be making you feel ‘wrong’ is that you may not be in alignment with your values. This is an opportunity to get clear on what is important to you. Or you may be holding onto a belief system that no longer works for you: are you willing to change it?
Your life may feel wrong because it is not going the way you imagined; however you always have the power of choice! When you exercise acceptance, you have more opportunity to get clear on what you need to do to bring your life back into alignment with you.
Others may feel wrong because they do not believe the way you do or value what you value – that just makes them different, not wrong. Virginia Satir states, “We connect through our sameness, we grow through our differences.” We evolve as individuals and leaders when we learn to embrace differences as a growth catalyst, not a ‘wrong’ way of being.
When we practice heightening our awareness to our lives, acknowledging the reality of what exists for us and accepting where we are, we are contributing to our empowerment, which positively influences those around us.