Paying Attention Starts Purposeful Change

by Jim Jensen, FSA

Purposeful change starts by simply being “aware” that there is a better option or choice to take.  Unfortunately, most of us don’t seem to pay attention very well and so most of the change we experience is forced upon us rather than being purposefully chosen.  The good news is that improving our awareness is something we can quickly get better at.

At Think2Perform, we think of awareness as having four increasingly useful levels:

  • Level 1 is when you’re totally unaware.  Life just passes you by and you never realize that there were better options or choices – and it’s admittedly not very useful.
  • Level 2 is when you’re aware that there was a better choice or option – but only after the fact.  At some point you think “I really shouldn’t have done that” and the good news about level 2 is that at least you may be learning something you can use next time.  Getting to level 2 is as simple as taking a few moments at the end of the day to think about things you did, the outcomes they drove and whether there were other options or choices.  It’s a good start.
  • Level 3 is when you stop and realize “in the moment” that there is a better choice or option you can take – but you just can’t help yourself and you do what you always do.  Getting to level 3 or higher requires that you stop to reflect before you react – and it’s something you need to practice to get good at.  If you find yourself thinking “I knew I shouldn’t have done that” – then you’re at level 3 and almost home.
  • Level 4 is when, in the moment, you stop and realize that there is a better option or choice to take – and you decide to do something different.  This is the point of arrival in terms of awareness and where purposeful and positive changes happen.  Your reflection becomes “I’m glad I did what I did rather than what I was going to do”.

Remember that none of us are at any of these levels all the time but rather, we’re at different levels on different things at different times.  Your goal should be to shift things away from levels 1 and 2 and towards levels 3 and 4 – and having a coach like Think2Perform help you on that journey is a good idea.

If you are interested in learning more about purposeful change, increasing awareness or a multitude of other topics designed to produce sustained optimal performance, please contact us at

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