Quieting the noise. Can you?

While I was thinking about this challenge, I came across some fascinating research. One of the research studies was a combined study partnership with Microsoft and a researcher named Gloria Mark. They based their “distraction” research on that what was referred to as “knowledge workers”, or people working in front of computers. What they determined is that on average, these people are distracted every 40 seconds when working in front of a computer. Can you relate?

From my perspective, distraction is one of the contributors to what I classify as “noise”. There are many other contributing factors to this phenomenon, and they include people causing “noise” as well. Both physical and what I express as noise in your head. The latter type of noise can be much worse, as others can’t see or hear it, yet the person dealing with it hears it loud and clear. Worse? The noise in people’s heads is not only distracting, it can also contribute to adding unnecessary stress to your body and your life. Who needs this? Aggh… No one.

In speaking recently to a high-profile sports team coach, we were talking about how noise is a large challenge for the coaches to contend with their athletes dealing with it. We also talked about how this “noise” has been getting louder over the last decade, and that coaches are not the only ones contending with having to manage “noise”. Managers and leaders in non-sports industries are challenged with this too.

Staying on the concept of athletes, the noise is coming from many different sources. However, the leading source is from the people associated with them (e.g., family, agents, friends, the press, other types of coaches who are focused on their physical body, but not their minds). This is followed by the social media pressure and scrutiny they may or may not be aware of.

Additional contributing factors to “mind noise pollution” is the athletes’ perception of how they are performing, and their ability to have focus, clear communication and actual productivity.

Although sports performance statistics can help to inform athletes and their coaches, similar to statistics business people would leverage to measure performance, there are always grey areas associated with the data. Why? Because many of the areas which contribute to mind noise pollution are not being measured. For instance, most athletes and workers are not taking their blood pressure to see how stressed they are throughout the day. Yes, this could be measured, but it typically isn’t.

We also know that a certain degree of stress can help with productivity and motivation. But similar to good and bad cholesterol, it needs to be the right type of stress. Measuring the stress in our minds isn’t something we can presently do well, but yet, it’s something we can address to help reduce the mind noise. How?

Here are some examples of what I help coaches and managers/leaders with to partner with them in quieting the mind noise pollution.

  • Watch a person’s body language. It’s incredible what telltale signs it gives away, often without us knowing this is happening.
  • Do you know how people like to receive feedback? Have you asked them? If they are an athlete, do you know whether they are motivated or become unmotivated when you yell at them? If they are a professional, do they mind being singled out publicly to be given feedback, or do they prefer to hear this during a private conversation?
  • Does the athlete or professional feel like they are truly part of the team they are on? Do you know whether they do? Have you asked. You might be surprised by their answer. Hint, they might not tell you how they really feel, but I guarantee you their body language will.
  • Are you fully helping them to leverage the talents they are bringing to the team? How would you rate your skill as a coach, manager or leader on a scale of 1-5 (5 being the best)? If you were to ask the athlete or professional, do you think your ratings would match?
  • Lots of attention is paid to our physical well-being, independent of whether you are an athlete or professional. Are you personally, or is your coach, manager or leader doing anything to help address quieting the noise in your mind? Are they helping to reduce distractions, remove barriers which prevent you from being successful on a team or on a project? Are they giving you enough “breathing space” to think, especially if you are the type of person who requires time to ponder and digest what you heard before you can act upon it?
  • Depending on the situation, is your coach, manager or leader providing alternative methods to convey information to you (e.g., providing visuals, videos, written and auditory communication)? If the right method of delivering information isn’t selected, or a combination of it is not applied, this also contributes to mind noise, as the person/athlete will have a more difficult time processing the information because it’s not in a format which works best for them.

If you haven’t thought about what you can do to help either yourself or the people you coach and lead how to quiet their mind noise, I strongly suggest you do so. Why? Because you’ll see many positive benefits when you do, as I have seen this happen hundreds, if not thousands of times. Give it a try, or give me a call to help you.

Kathleen E. R. Murphy is the Founder, Chief Performance Strategist and CEO of Market Me Too.  She is a Gallup Certified Strengths Finder Coachauthor of Wisdom Whispererand is a well-respected motivational and social influencer with a global following from her numerous speaking, print, radio and television media appearances.

Essentially every team is dysfunctional in some way. Our expertise is in uniting, motivating and bridging dysfunctional teams (sports & business), and turning them into epic ones.

Market Me Too also works with individuals from students to C-level executives. The individuals, business and sports teams we work with are coached on how to leverage and apply their peak performance talents on a daily basis. Our coaching produces repeatable, measurable and amazing results personally and professionally. Need proof? Just talk to our clients, or read through our testimonials.

If you want better and different results, let’s talk. We know how to help you get them. Contact Kathleen at kathymurphy@me.com or (339) 987-0195.

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