Open Your Eyes

There are signs everywhere – on the roads, in your house, your body and of course, in your horoscope. No matter where you look, there are signs. How you filter them is the question. What do you read? What are the signs that you pay attention to? And why do they stand out in comparison to all the others?

Not being a Neuroscientist, I wouldn’t want to start quoting incorrectly as to what the reticular activation system does or doesn’t do. Suffice to say, common thinking states that the RAS plays a big role in sensory information you receive daily – it is said to be the gatekeeper of information that is allowed into your conscious mind. Thanks to this part of the brain, we can cope with the constant deluge of information all around us. If our eyes are open to everything, all of the time, we simply wouldn’t be able to cope.

There are so many signs that we choose to ignore or avoid based on our personal history however, when we use quantitative data, we can create clear evidence that makes it evident as to what we need to pay attention to. In business-speak, this is much easier as we can measure the number of opportunities in our sales pipeline, the number of complaints from customers, the number of phone calls inbound or of responses to our LinkedIn and social media marketing. It’s not so easy when focused on mental health, wellbeing and joy. Don’t get me wrong, this isn’t all doom and gloom looking for problems and challenges; there are just as many if not more signs telling us that things are working well.

In the ever-changing hybrid post-pandemic world of working, a number of clients have talked about a feeling of complacency in the workforce, where performance levels have dropped. Consider the situation when you’re working in an office surrounded by peers and colleagues, and everybody is bouncing around ideas; there’s an energy and a hive of expectation and professionalism. Now switch that into working from home for 18 months, sitting on the side of your spare room bed, with a laptop on your lap, a cat beside you, Netflix on the TV in the background. It’s two o’clock in the morning, or it’s two o’clock in the afternoon, and you’re wearing a t-shirt, a pair of sloppy trousers and slippers. Is your performance, the work you’re creating, the product you’re developing, and the customer service response you’re giving going to be at the same level of professionalism as your previous office environment? Only you can answer that question for you – both environments work, but are there signs that you are not where you once were and need to make some changes? Furthermore, the office environment you are heading into maybe one that you’ve never worked in before, because you’re a recent graduate, new employee, or you’ve taken on a new role, and you’ve never actually been in the office.

There are signs that we need to be looking out for as leaders and followers so we can see when we are performing really well and when we’re underperforming. We must then read these signs and address our health, productivity, and well-being and create situations where we will be asked the right questions by the people around us. By asking a few more questions and opening our eyes we can uncover some different, innovative and exciting opportunities – do not ignore the signs! Your question for today is: what are the signs you’re paying attention to versus the ones you’re ignoring?

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