My very first step into consulting was called People and How They Work. I used a model of following a client around uninterrupted for a day and at the end of the day gave them my observations. I actually worked with only one person using this approach. It was extremely powerful and beyond what either he or I expected. My observation after a day was simply that he was not happy in his work. It took every ounce of courage for me to tell him that as it was not exactly as I had presented this work to him. He thanked me for the honesty and asked how I came to that conclusion (as it was true for him). I told him it was an intuition simply based on observation and listening.
In my current work I still use observation and listening skills and will sometimes give feedback (if asked) about what I observe.
The practice of observation and listening can uncover things that might not be so obvious to us, and we can do this process for ourselves. “Follow yourself around” for a day or even for a morning with a neutral eye watching and observing what you do, how you do it, your emotions, your productivity, your enthusiasm, etc. We already do this unconsciously and make judgments about ourselves.
If we can look at ourselves and our behavior as an observer it takes it out of the evaluation level. Write down what you notice and then go back to what you are doing.
At the end of the day take your notes and actually give yourself feedback out loud and do it as if you are a consultant to yourself.
The feedback could sound like:
I appreciate your enthusiasm for what you do.
I noticed you can head off in a couple directions simultaneously and not get back to completing what you started.
I am wondering if something is pulling on your attention as occasionally I noticed you seemed slightly distracted.
I appreciate how you get up and stretch and are not sitting at the computer for extended periods of time. Keep that going. You might add drinking more water in the day.
Watch what you tell yourself. I heard you say a couple of times you were going to go get some tea and then you kept working. Good idea to follow through or tell yourself you have changed your mind, otherwise there is a part of you on hold and waiting.
Your ability to focus is great. And you seem to get a lot of interruptions that undermine the focus.
I noticed your energy dropped just after lunch. Are you aware of that?
Do you notice how often you are checking email? Try staying on your next action list instead.
Are you aware of your habit of frustration in your communications with yourself?
Then after delivering your observations, thank yourself for being willing to participate. Looking at what you shared with yourself, take the one piece of feedback that had the most value and see what action you want to take.
Then follow yourself around as you implement the new behavior giving yourself supportive acknowledgment and appreciation for the changes.
1. Take some time to simply observe (without judgment).
2. Practice delivering feedback to yourself with neutrality.
3. If you notice a pattern or habit you are familiar with that is not serving you look at what action you can take to make a shift.
Martha Treats, created by Martha Ringer, is distributed to clients and guests. Comments and suggestions are welcomed, new guests too.