Did you miss your target? Perhaps you blew the presentation you so badly wanted to excel at. You’re saying to yourself, “I just couldn’t focus” or “My mind wasn’t in the game.”

You’re right. Your mind was not helping you but probably not in the way you mean.

You know we all have a conscious and a subconscious mind. Guess which one is in charge? Science tells us that up to 95% percent of our actions and decisions come from within the subconscious mind, not the conscious. Effectively, you don’t know what you’re doing!

Harry Carpenter says that “The subconscious mind contains the software for your involuntary functions, emotions, and habits.” He goes on to say “Your conscious mind sets limits for you. When you rid yourself of these limits, and let your subconscious mind take over, you can do things you thought impossible”.

Perhaps when your mind wasn’t in the game, it was trying to tell you something. You just need to learn to listen to what it says but if you stop and pay deliberate attention to your subconscious, you’ll find that nothing happens. How often do you remember that name on the tip of your tongue when you sit and think hard about it? It just doesn’t come to you, does it? Of course, later when we are doing something completely different, the name pops into mind.

Neuroscientists and researchers tell us that the best way to learn what is in our subconscious is not to pay it any attention. Instead of slaving over the presentation wondering if you have covered all the relevant points, go and do something else. Go feed the birds or spend time with your family.

Such activities are called distractors because they take the conscious mind off the job and turn it to something completely different, leaving the subconscious mind to make its presence known.

In an article in the Huffington Post, James Bursley says, “It’s possible that interspersing cognitive breaks throughout your day could give your brain time to unconsciously process all sorts of problems you’re facing.” He goes on to point to the Google workplace which comes complete with rock climbing walls and colourful lounge areas where team members are able to sit and chat.

Imagine how well this technique could be used within your organisation and your team. If change is not happening as quickly as it should, or if there is something going on that you can’t put your finger on, time out could be your answer. A different environment, a different focus and a non-work topic might be exactly what you need to distract team consciousness, and allow the important subconscious thoughts to percolate through.

Be aware that outsiders looking in will think you’re not working – that you’re wasting time. Don’t let that bother you. Just wait until they see what you and your team can achieve together, because the team that manages at both levels of the mind is the team that will be successful.

Phone 1300 719 665  www.soniamcdonald.com.au

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