SOARing with CEEK: Session 4, The Observer


CEEK continues with our cohort of SOAR leaders. Based on the book, Language and the Pursuit of Leadership Excellence: How Extraordinary Leaders Build Relationships, Shape Culture and Drive Breakthrough Results by Chalmers Brothers and Vinay Kumar, Jennifer Hughes is guiding 12 industry leaders on a journey of self-discovery. Our participants are using the power of language and conversations as primary tools to address concerns and achieve their desired results at work and in their personal lives.

Building on Session 3: Listening and Hearing, Session 4 had our SOAR leaders sharpening their abilities to observe. In Session 3, our leaders discovered that listening is not the same as hearing and became aware of their own background conversations: “I’m right.” Building on that conversation, this week our leaders worked to dispel the Grand Illusion that everyone sees things the way they do. They learned that the way we observe impacts the actions we take and the results we achieve.

Our Way of Being
Our way of being is made of three areas: Body, Language, and Moods and Emotions. While these often feel separate, they are inter-related aspects that make us unique and impact the way we observe. Have you ever been in physical pain and had that impact your mood? Have you ever been in a bad mood and said something to someone that you later regretted? Of course! We all have. This demonstrated the inter-relatedness of our Body, Language, and Mood and Emotions. This also impacts us the other way around when we’ve heard something kind from someone (language) that makes our mood improve. Or, when we finish a long walk (body) and notice we use kinder words (language) with our family. These three components that make us unique observers also means we all see the world differently. We all have our own beliefs, moods, perspectives, thinking, and way of listening that impact how we observe the world. So, we must realize that when we all walk out of a meeting thinking everyone sees exactly what we see, we are living in a Grand Illusion. Because, we all see things differently.

So What Can You Do?
If I have my own way of being and you have your own way of being, how can we be better observers?

  1. Learn to observe yourself through meditative practice. Meditation has many benefits and can be a great way to create awareness and even shifts in our Body and Moods and Emotions. The more we are able to quiet our thoughts, the more in touch we can be with our bodies and moods and emotions. Intentionally quieting, observing, and slowing our thoughts is a practice of consciously designing the Observer we are and creating our Way of Being. Oh yeah, meditation doesn’t mean you have to be in a completely quiet space. Many people reach their meditative space through yoga, jogging, biking, skiing, or sitting meditation.
  2. When you are in flow, pay attention to what is going on in your thoughts. When you are in flow or at your absolute best, most often, there is little going on upstairs (in your thoughts). You have a primary focus so your thoughts are either around that purpose or you are in such a state of flow that your body is operating without thoughts at all! Use this to consider ways to create this experience more often, whether you’re with others or by yourself.
  3. Leverage diversity – phone a friend. Share an issue or challenge with a partner. Ask them to restate your issue or challenge, then ask you open-ended, discovery questions, before offering your advice. Note what you hear, learn, and how your thinking changes as you reflect on their input. Have they observed something you didn’t? Did their observations broaden some aspect of your Way of Being in a way that allowed you to find further insights?
  4. Get moving. I heard a great quote: “I really regret that workout I just finished.” – by Nobody, Ever. When you find your mood and emotions impacting how you are working with or speaking to others, take a 5-10 minute walk, preferably outside. This short time of using your body can have a big impact on your mood and emotions. As you wind down your walk, take a look at the kind of Observer you are being and determine if there is another way you can observe the situation. Is your Way of Being in that situation productive? If not, become a better Observer.

Be a better observer of your Way of Being and be aware of the Grand Illusion.

Interested in learning more about SOAR and how we listen? The full list of sessions is available on our website and Jennifer will be sharing more about each session here on the blog. Follow this space to learn more and watch out for availability of our next cohort!