Years ago, I remember sitting in my small apartment once again stuck in the throes of anxiously spinning thoughts. Every option, every self-help technique, every idea was bouncing around my brain like a ping pong ball with zero ideas landing in any clear or specific way.
Back then I remember wishing I had some sort of guide - something that could help me make the right choice.
Well…several years later I have a guide AND it's the template I use for the whole of my work. Three steps that make any communication or any decision more clear, authentic, & true.
What are they?
Step one: ATTEND: Get clear about where you are.
Step two: ATTUNE: Connect to where you would like to go/who you would like to be.
Step three: ARTICULATE: Take the first step (not to be confused with taking the 5th or 19th step)
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Step one: Attend
Get honest with yourself. This means admitting where you’re at (what you’re thinking/feeling/doing/sensing). The more honest you are the better equipped you are to take effection action & engagement.
Your state of mind (e.g. calm, critical, urgent, anxious, quiet, contemplative, etc…)
Your emotions (e.g. contentment, resentment, sadness, disappointment, confusion, etc…)
Your sensations (e.g. constriction, heat, tingling, expansiveness, numbness, tension, softness, etc…)
Your thoughts/ judgements/ perceptions (e.g. “I think I should _______,” “They’re wrong because _______,” “I should’ve _______, “ ”It’s always ______,” etc…)
Your instinctive impulse (e.g. get away, urgently fix this, tell them to _____, hide, make them like me, etc…)
Be honest & self-respecting. This is your starting point.
(Check out how Radical Permission Unlocks Our Ability to be Heard)
Step two: Attune
Once you recognize where you redirect your attention to what you need or where you want to be.
Self-regulation: If you are in a triggered state (i.e. fight/flight/freeze/fawn) self regulate first. (Check out 4 easy exercises to regulate your nervous system)
Intention: Return to your deeper intention for the situation & feel it in your body (e.g. to act in self & other respect, to understand & to be understood, to have the best interest of all at heart, to honour yourself & others) (
Process: If there are emotions that need unpacking or feeling, honour this.
Connect: Remember the genuine care or sense of connection that you have with the person(s), situation, or higher power.
Recognize if there is more information, action, or steps that are required to get to your desired result.
Step three: Articulate
The final step of the process is to take the first step and engage in action, articulation, and/or choice. This step is powerful because you are intentionally engaging based on what is true at the moment and what honours where you want to go.
To articulate in this way may look different than your habituated responses. For example, a reactive people pleaser might slow down, recognize the impulse to fix, attune to the intention of being more intentional, and ask for time before responding to a request. Someone who's tendency is to avoid confrontation may recognize the instinctive urge to get away, take a moment to regulate, and then articulate a firm but kind boundary.
The key is, to be honest with where you are so that the step you take (speaking, asking, setting a boundary, taking a break, etc...) is small enough that you are able to stand in it while still moving you towards your values & goals.
3 Examples of the 3 Steps at Work!
Example 1: You are at a Christmas party and finally have the chance to connect with a co-worker you haven’t seen in ages. The two of you are in an enthralling conversation when another co-worker (a guy who always seems to interrupt & push your boundaries) comes over and takes over the conversation with something you are not interested in. Your friend appears to be annoyed as well.
1. Attend: You notice your heart beating fast, a sense of utter frustration, a desire to shout at the guy, angry thoughts about how annoying he is, and a very strong sense of urgency to either get away or tell him to shut up.
2. Attune: Recognizing the inner intensity you take a few deep breaths and start to feel more steady. You remember that your intention was to enjoy the party and also to set healthier boundaries with this person in a respectful way. You give yourself a moment to feel that commitment in your body.
3. Articulate: You put up your hand to pause your interrupting colleague and with a firm, yet kind voice you say, "Excuse me, Mark, we were actually in the middle of something when you came up. Would you mind giving us some space so that we can finish? I’m sure we’ll catch up with you later."
Example 2: You and your partner end up in an argument. He is getting louder and more forceful and you are feeling overwhelmed.
Attend: you noticed that your mind is gone blank, your throat feels tight, and there's this sense of urgency that somehow you should fix this and make him feel better. You feel overwhelmed, numb, and buzzy all at the same time.
Attune: You want to be respectful & engaged but you are too overwhelmed to do so in any real sort of way.
Articulate: You simply say, I’m not able to take this right now & I need a break. Please give me space, then you walk to your room and close the door where you can allow yourself to take the time you need. Once you feel calm and collected you go out and address the conversation with your partner.
Example 3: You only have 2 days to make an important decision about which college you want to attend (or any urgent decision between two choices). You have literally talked to everyone you can think of, you've asked for advice, and now you find yourself spinning between all the possible options.
1. Attend: when you slow down you realize that your mind is buzzing. Your thinking is anxious and fragmented. You feel confused, scared, excited, and nervous. There is a lot of catastrophic thinking, and you keep hearing your friend who told you that you better make the right choice or you'll end up regretting it. You feel scared, disconnected from yourself, and overwhelmed.
2. Attune: You slow down & realize you aren’t in a clear state so so you go for a walk. You step back from what everyone else has said, away from the urgency, and instead take time to get clear and feel what is most important for you. You give yourself an entire day where your only goal is to consider what matters most for you.
3. Articulate: After a full day, you return to consider your option and are able to discern which option better suits YOUR needs.
In my work as a somatic voice & communications coach, I find that most people tend to speed past step one. Yet, this is the one that holds the most value. When you can really tune into yourself you allow the natural intelligence of your body & mind to find equilibrium. This will allow you to make the most self-supporting choice moving forward.
Good luck & remember one step at a time!
About the Author Amy Thiessen is an international teacher, coach, & musician who focuses on helping individuals connect to their confidence, purpose, & self-esteem through voice & communication. Offering a holistic approach Amy helps individuals uncover & overcome their unique blocks & ultimately express themselves in a way that is empowered & impactful. Want More? 1:1 coaching is the fastest way to overcome your blindspots & find deep & more impactful expression. Book a FREE consult to see how In Resonance Coaching can support your full expression today! Book Now