Archive for attention

Use Your Simplicity Super Powers

Super PowersWhen I am with a coaching client, it is my job to focus on that client without distractions. They are often grateful for the time because they are able to focus on their own personal goals without their usual complex environments filled with distraction.

Finding simplicity in a confusing and chaotic world can be as good as a vacation. I can hear the resounding “ahhhh” now as all you readers begin to imagine your lives with less stress, less connection, less of everything. Not feeling the simplicity love? Use your superpowers.


The Tiny House movement is one example of how many people are feeling burdened by the trappings of what was once a lofty goal – big house to hold lots of things and more and more gadgets. And yet there is a feeling of great weight that seems to have loaded people up to the point where more and more people are sharing, dreaming and talking about tiny houses…but not living in them.

Real Simple, the magazine, strikes deep longing breaths as one paws through each page longing for less pressure, less clutter and less hassle, yet it gets stacked in a pile next to all the other interests beside the couch in a living room filled with so many children’s toys one can barely move.

Software websites that once held flashing reminders to buy, buy, buy have simplified to beautifully designed simplistic pages with a small scattering of visual-based links that draw the mind into believing solutions are simple, but people are failing to purchase because the choices of similar software are far too grand and need more investigation.

Not Really Simplifying

The thing is, we want and crave simplicity, less distraction, less of all the millions of messages hitting us on a daily basis, overwhelming our senses and distracting our focus – but actions and wishes do not always match. Goodness knows, I am guilty of getting sucked into the ‘always on’ mentality!

Human beings crave attention – and the digital age has provided us with an attention banquet unsurpassed in history – often at the expense of giving attention to those we are with. We have at our disposal, hundreds (if not thousands) of attention getting gadgets, platforms and media to fill every minute of our day and keep from every getting anything of value accomplished.

Sit in a coffee shop and watch the throngs of people sitting with each other but all looking down on their phones. Sit in a meeting and notice how many people are actually listening compared to how many are checking phones. Notice how many people on their drive home from work are texting, talking or handling their handheld devices – in spite of legislation that tells them it’s illegal.

We crave simplicity, yet we ignore the many avenues for gaining it. I find I am most successful when I drop the gadgets and start listening and doing and that requires super powers!

Use Your Super Powers for Good!

All your gadgets, devices, applications and digital connectors to your world have hidden super powers. That’s right – and we are going to show you a few.

  • Voice Mail: For meetings, driving, paying at the till, walking your dog, getting stuff done. This little super power of your cell, desktop and home phone gives you the power to organize your life. Stop running to answer and be respectful of the people who you are actually with.
  • Airplane Mode: This is great for tablets, laptops, phones and other devices we may not know about. Can’t get something done? Shut ‘er down, my friend and finish that project.
  • Flag or Close Your Email: You are the hero of this story – you get to decide when you check your email and you get to decide when you will get back to someone. Prioritize who gets instant gratification from you.
  • Stop answering texts – hit the call button. Are you getting inundated with texts? They take time, especially if you are a slow texter. Hit the call button and call them back when you are finally alone, make it quick and answer fast.
  • The power button, on your T.V., computer, or any other distracting electronics. This ultimate of super un-power gives you those long craved for moments – go for a walk, soak in a tub, play with the kids – escape the time suckers.
  • Turn off Social Media Notifications – you don’t really need to check EVERY ping and knock from your social media, it’s not like it’s going anywhere! Check it after a nice lunch – perhaps

You get the hint – take control, because the attention you are getting from a text, social media notifications, email, or any other distracting forces in your life is taking you AWAY from simplicity and pulling you toward loneliness and complexity.







What Your Brain Knows Now

Image courtesy of Artem Chernyshevych

Have you ever noticed that after you buy a new car, every time you turn around you are seeing the same kind of car everywhere when they were never noticed before?

This is what brain awareness does. There are so many images and things to see, our brains filter them and look only for evidence of that which is in our current awareness.

Where this really gets interesting is when our awareness is tuned into our thoughts – because the same kind of filter exists for things we think.

So when the dominant thoughts are:

  • Worthlessness
  • Failure
  • Hatred
  • Frustration

Your brain goes to work filtering things around you to find evidence of your current awareness.

When your dominant thoughts are:

  • Success
  • Belief
  • Faith in people
  • Happiness

Your brain also goes to work filtering things around you to find evidence of that current awareness.

Where it gets even more interesting than that, is when you begin focusing your thoughts on things more positive than negative. Is it “luck” when someone is in the right place at the right time, or are they simply aware of the possibility and thus sought out the evidence around them? This might be why some recognize opportunity and others completely miss it.

Where is your current awareness?

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Patti Blackstaffe works with people and organizations in implementing sustainable change in a rapid changing world. Her key areas of focus are change management solutions both at the project level and the organizational level. She has over 10 years of experience in change management, has worked on projects that impact 50-30,000 people in both large and small organizations. Patti brings experiential design thinking into all her projects ensuring solutions are relevant, simplified and the implementation makes sense.

You can reach Patti at 1-855-968-5323

Contact us here to work with us.



Your "Attention Radar" – Choosing Your Focus

RASHave you ever taken training or coaching where someone was working hard to gift you with gems of wisdom or a different way of looking at things? Do you know if you were truly open to the information being given?

One of the most difficult situations is when a coach or mentor is trying hard to move you forward and your door is closed!

A great way to tell if you’re being receptive is to listen to your own response. The next time someone – a coach, boss, trainer, or mentor – is making a concerted effort to encourage change, try to acknowledge that they have a different view you might not be seeing. Then ask yourself if you are actually leaving the door open enough to receive the gems of wisdom they offer.

  1. Are you taking time to hear what they are saying and turning it into a lesson to be utilized in your own life?
  2. Do you respond by defending the behaviours that keep you from moving forward?
  3. Do you use expressions such as “I DO that, but it never works.” Or “I try, but….” or “I AM…”
  4. Do you leap to conclusions about what others think of you, even though it’s not actuallywhat they were saying?
  5. Do you hold tightly to beliefs that are clearly holding you back?

If so, then you might very well be trapped in a cyclical thought pattern based on buried beliefs and while you think the doors are open to hearing and recognizing opportunity and growth, they may very well be closed.

So, what’s really going on here?

Neuroscience has performed studies on an area in the brain called the Reticular Activating System or RAS. The RAS acts as a sort-of connector between your conscious and unconscious mind and filters information by “listening out for” things that are relevant to your conscious thoughts and focus. Basically, it controls our ability to pay attention. For example, when you are walking down the street there are literally hundreds of thousands of noises. You might hear a vibration or hum of noise in the background but you do not hear each and every individual sound, only those for which your focus is attuned, but it has it’s limits. Your brain is programmed to take in approx 5-9 individual items at a time and you hone in on those items because focus on them has been programmed by your conscious mind providing the “attention radar” for your unconscious mind.

A car horn signalling danger; familiar music coming from a store; your name being called from the other side of the street; all of these are items your subconscious will listen to because they are out of the ordinary in a typical walk and your conscious mind has made them a relevant focus in your life. Equally so, inadequecy or feelings of being persecuted or judged will fly into the face of a discussion if your belief system has been built under the experience of having to continually defend yourself. Basically you are ‘looking for it’ and so you will find it.

What great information for all of us –the beautiful thing neuroscience teaches us here is that the Reticular Activating System can be reprogrammed, or you can change what you are ‘looking for’. This is why setting goals, saying affirmations and visualizing ìn the conscious are the beginning of the journey to realizing our dreams because they speak to our unconscious mind, the place-holder for our belief systems.

Learning how to listen and embrace information with an open heart and mind can be done with practice and by learning strategies and techniques for reprogramming your RAS. The first step is in recognizing if you are listening openly, take a few minutes to evaluate your recent conversations against the above list – are you truly open? If not, then you will benefit from learning strategies for discovering and challenging belief systems that hold you back and practicing techniques to reprogram your RAS thus putting the “attention radar” on that which will help you grow and move forward.


What? You Mean It’s About The Customer?

ShoppingDo you ever feel like an interruption when you enter a business? Ever stand there wondering why you’re being ignored or otherwise treated like you’ve ruined their day rather than staff being excited to know their pay checks continue to arrive so long as more people like you walk in the door?

Perhaps we’ve had such a long running boom-time that businesses have become process heavy or laden with doing the “work of the biz” and forgotten about the customer. When money is flowing in good times, there’s less need to search for leads or seek to figure out how to bring people through the doors. Customers are ready and willing to spend, spend, spend, without concern because times are good.

The environment has changed significantly in the last 10 months and all businesses large and small are affected as shown by special offers, deals and coupons never heard of before from both large and small companies everywhere. Marketing efforts have been evaluated, budgets altered, staffing and salaries re-evaluated, costs cut, and benefits pulled in tighter. I ask, have the companies focused on what brings in the dollars, the customer?

Re-evaluating how staff is treating, dealing with and keeping customers is the front-line focus that will make or break a lot of businesses in this environment. Here are a few tips to help small and large businesses give their customers a reason to choose to spend money on their products or services.

  1. If a consumer has entered your business, the hardest part of gaining their interest has already been achieved. You have their attention and they’re ready to spend. Give them staff time. Customers wandering around asking 3-4 people if someone could help them is not the way to get sales. I spent almost 2 hours in a Walmart recently listening to page after page of “ALL associates” being called to manage a company process, but a minimum of 4 customers in that section were wondering if anyone worked there at all. At least two of these customers were so frustrated they left the store to shop elsewhere.
  2. If you are a restaurant, hair salon, golf course or other business serving customers in a specialized niche, your best bet is to remember, they spend at your place of business because they want an experience. Focus on WHO your customer is and how to make their experience stand out against your competitor. What makes you unique that a consumer will select your business over another? How have you trained your staff to make customers feel like they are truly justified in spending their money with you rather than the competitor down the street? I was in a local restaurant the other day where employees were so busy catching up on their antics the night before they missed my walking in and let me sit for over 20 minutes before offering me a menu. I will never return.
  3. If you are a large corporation you have no doubt been given the difficult task of cutting costs. Time, energy, and money have all been applied to that very tough job. How much time and money has been spent securing the current customer base and kicking up your customer service efforts while building stronger client relationships? If you say you don’t have a strategic plan for making the customer feel like their relationship with you is worthwhile in both service and customer attention, you have left out the most important plan in down times. Evaluate your customer base and your prospective customer leads, choose to get creative in how staff pays careful attention to understanding, serving, building relationships and valuing customers. You care about the bottom-line for shareholders, right? Contributions to that dollar figure come directly from customers and how staff works with them!
  4. Training and motivating the staff with a vision of how to best serve the customer is a priority right now. Think about the experience YOU would like to have when you walk in the door and make certain each and every customer or potential customer is treated with respect, dignity, great service, and top-quality products. Teach staff to provide an experience that is second to none by creating internal campaigns for employees to follow. “At ABC Company, no customer waits longer than 5 minutes for exceptional service.” Post these reminders where employees can see them, mention it at staff meetings, get staff involved, and give them a reason to understand the value of your customers.

The long and short of it is that if your staff attitude consists of; “This would be a great job if it weren’t for those pesky customers!” Then your customers will feel it! In this year of lessoned sales, dipping margins, and short cash-flow, give your company a reason to thrive!

Strategic Sense is a Leadership Development, Customer Service, Plans of Action and Facilitation organization who’s mission is to change the world for the better for leaders and their employees everywhere. We believe each individual comes with their own unique talents and skills that can be enhanced and utilized to help them become the very best leaders only they can be while providing exceptional service to their customers.

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