Knowing where we are… Connecting with the world around us

Having recently explored our inner world of thoughts and feelings and their influence on our success (Waking up to Ourselves) next I began to wonder how much our awareness of, or connection with, our external environment also matters.

Curious to explore the connection between our awareness of our external world and our ability to effectively respond I was inspired to spend time reflecting on the successful people I know. Their ability to maintain focus on what they want to achieve while at the same time responding and adapting to whatever their external environment demands of them, sets them apart from other people.   Awareness of their surroundings along with their ability to respond with the best choices in each moment are clear drivers of their success.

Here are the five things outside of our selves that successful people typically have strong awareness of and are able to positively influence:

Relationships:  Friend, Foe and Alliance

The strength of our relationships and ability to avoid destructive interactions have a profound impact on our spirit and ultimately success.

It’s important that we can identify those in who we can trust and depend, as well as those who drain or harm us. While it would be nice to think that people always have good intentions and wish us well, sadly that isn’t the case.

Wherever we go in life we need to be aware of the likelihood we will encounter those we can call friends and those that we cant. It is naive to think that we will never come under threat.  We need to be aware of the potential for people and circumstances to create misfortune and harm.


  • How things are typically done around here
  • What behaviours are successful and which are not
  • How you are expected to interact and behave in order to fit in

The big question people need to ask themselves is ‘do I want to fit in with this culture?’  If not typically the only solution is to move on.  If we choose to stay, over time it’s likely our spirit will be eroded and our resolve will be undermined.

History, Baggage & Sensitivities

Have you ever felt like a bull in a china shop or that your foot is firmly in your mouth after bounding in to a new environment unaware of the sensitivities brewing around you?  Many of these emotionally charged land-mines are echoes of historical events that have left their imprint on the psyche of a group or individual.   These old wounds can be slow to heal and emotional baggage can be difficult to lift off us.  Both sensitivities and baggage that accumulate over time have the potential to impact the culture of a group.

To be a positive influence on any environment demands you enter with your eyes and heart open, allowing you to see what has been there before and continues to take its toll.  I believe it’s incumbent upon all of us to support those around us to deal with the impacts of our past.  There is an opportunity for all of us through compassion and kindness to show our understanding and support others to let go and move forward into a better future.


No doubt we have all heard about how successful people create their own opportunities.  While it is true to say we can manufacture some, I also believe there are boundless opportunities everywhere we go, calling out to us in everything we do.  I believe success comes to those who not only see the opportunities, but also reach out and take them.  Successful people:

  • Look for opportunities
  • Find opportunities in the nooks and crannies of life
  • See through fears to the opportunities waiting beyond
  • Looking beyond the obvious and find opportunities hidden from view

The things that are in your toolkit

Success is influenced in part by our awareness and understanding of the tools in our toolkit.  To leverage these tools we need to know what they are and understand how to use them.  Beyond the emotional and thinking skills I described in the last blog, being aware of our strengths and when we should use them are just as important.

In your toolkit for example might be a connection you have to someone who in turn can connect you with someone you want to meet.  Unless you stop and think about the contacts in your network that form part of your toolkit, you can’t know to tap into that resource to achieve your objective.


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