I recently read an article in Time Magazine about how to start a meeting. The author explained that she starts every meeting with a ‘Check-In’. Each person has a turn at sharing how they are currently feeling. While I agree this has some benefits, I’d like to take it two steps further.
Step One: Awareness of your current state
This is the purpose of the Check-In. You bring awareness to your current state. You might be in an open, curious state, a frustrated, angry state or a curiously impatient state. You are always in some sort of state. Your state is a combination of what’s going on in your mind and body.
Dr. L. Michal Hall: ‘We are always in a state. The quality of your state is the quality of your day’.
He suggests we step into and out of approximately 40 different states per day. So it is very useful to start noticing what states you move into and out of at work. Then you can check their usefulness, and change them if you need to.
Step Two: Adjust your current state
If you are happy with your current state, if it is a useful state, you can turn the intensity up or down. In addition, you can choose a different state. If you are sitting in a meeting and become aware that you are in state of boredom, you might choose to step into a different, for example a state of curiosity. You can also combine the states, so you might choose to be in a curiously bored or boringly curious state. The possibilities are endless!
Step Three: Access
To access the state you choose, you simply try it on. You notice the thinking, the breathing and the physiology of that state. You might remember the last time you were in that state, or imagine being in that state if you have never accessed it before. I imagine I’m trying on a jacket of the state I am wanting to access. I can see how it feels. I can adjust it if I need to or take it off altogether.
You are never stuck in your current state! Being in an unresourceful state at work is something you can change – once you bring your awareness to it. You can create your best state for anything. You can create your best state for meetings, a different best state for writing, your best state for sales calls, your best state for public speaking etc.
For whatever you are doing:
1. Aware: Be aware of the state you are in.
2. Adjust: Change it to your best state.
3. Access: Step fully into your best state.
It’s like choosing the right gear to suit the driving conditions. You can drive along in automatic, or you can adjust your gear to get the best out of yourself.