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18th December 2016

Gavin Preston

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The strong man is the one who is able to intercept at will the communication between the senses and the mind”. Napoleon Bonaparte

“Put these over your eyes” announced Andy as he walked around the gym handing out yellow stretchy bands (think very wide elastic bands….that you can use to increase resistance when working out). I was used to stepping into the band and hoisting them up to my knees and walking in some weird crab like motion to apparently ‘activate my glutes’ but to put them over my eyes…..as I was about to lie on the bench and bench press a bar of weights…well that was a new one on me.

I put said yellow band over my eyes, making it the most uncomfortable blind fold I had experienced, and laid back on the bench waiting for my training partner to hand me the weights bar.

I had no idea how much weight was on the bar. This was disconcerting.

How was I to know whether I was about to be passed a light weight or something that would be the weight of a small person? However, if I didn’t know how heavy it was going to be I would have to adapt to the weight in that moment and lift it.

The whole point of this fetching blind fold was that I couldn’t tell myself whether I could lift it or not. All I could do was rely on my senses and press. I hasten to add my training partner was there to grab the bar if I was having difficulty.

What I didn’t mention was that as Andy was passing out the ‘blind folds’ he interrupted me managing the expectations of my training partner as to how much weight I could lift. My mind had already decreed an upper limit.

Without my mind telling me ‘you can lift this’, ‘you can’t lift that’ two things happened: I moved my focus out of my head and into my body. I felt the weight distribution on the bar, I felt the muscles working, I put my attention into my chest and triceps to push the bar back up…interestingly I appreciated the lifting so much more when I was totally present in the moment and not distracted by what my mind had decided I could or could not lift.

The second thing that happened was that I lifted 10kg more that I had convinced myself I could lift and if I had been pushed further there was at least another 5kg on top of that.

My point in sharing this story is how many times does our mind/that internal voice jump in and tell you “I can’t do that”, “that’s not going to work”, “I can only do x”?

When you can’t see what is coming next (due to a sweaty oversized yellow elastic band) you have to be in the moment. Pay attention to your senses, your body, adjust and deal with it.

Too often our heads are too full of noise to notice our gut feelings, our instinct, our intuition. Our attention is so fractured to be insightful, to see the right way to do deal with a problem. Our minds are bombarded with our social media feeds, news feeds, business information, family appointments and our daily step count it is no wonder wrong decisions are made.

So the next time you have a problem that needs tackling, or new strategy to map out or a crucial pitch you need to get right… put on your metaphorical blind fold, create some space, shut off the cacophony of data streams. If possible, get a breath of fresh air outdoors, take the dog for a walk and pay attention to how you feel about the situation.

Focus on the result you do want.

Pay attention to your gut feeling and act on what feels right …which by the way is usually right, naturally insightful…….ever wandered where the word ‘insight’ comes from: two words “inner” “sight”.

Now, if the sceptic within you is tempted to dismiss this as tree hugging psycho babble I have a question: if two of the four cylinders in your car engine were not working would your vehicle perform to its potential?

By not paying attention to our intuition or gut feel it is like shutting off cylinders in your car. Things are not going to run right.

In business – shut up the narrative and pay attention to how you feel about a situation. Listen, watch, feel, sense, trust and respond. Don’t allow the chatter in your head to filter your insights. Don’t over think. Pay attention and step towards your outcome.

If you would like help tapping into the insights to get clarity on your business growth strategy then email me and we will jump on a 10k call. 45 mins for me to find £10k for your bottom line. Simply reply to this email or click here and we will arrange a call.

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