We live in an electronic world and while these devices provide us with wonderful and instant connections and information, there is a downside… constant distraction. Every day we see people walking down the street texting on their cell phone. If they are distracted by looking at their phone, they are not watching where they are going and may run into someone, something, or worse. The term for paying attention or being present in the moment is called “situational awareness”. If they are texting or otherwise distracted, they are not being situationally aware which can have serious consequences!
Be Fully Present in Your Environment
There are steps you can take to make sure you are situationally aware. The first step in achieving situational awareness is to be fully present in your environment. This means to make a conscious effort to be aware and to notice what is going on around you. By choosing to be aware, you may be better equipped to handle a situation that might arise. One exercise you can do is to think of the worst-case scenario and what you would do if it should happen. Engage all of your senses and imagine possible outcomes. Mental preparation may help you to react better and be calmer in the event of trouble.
Pay Attention to Your Surroundings
Now that you are aware of your surroundings, the next step is to pay attention. This means to master the art of observation. Take notice if someone is following you, or if the mood of the crowd may have shifted from friendly to violent during an assembly. Paying attention is more of a mindset than it is a skill. There are tips to help you pay attention to your environment including:
- Be aware of who may be in back of you. Turn around and look back from time to time.
- Be aware of your surroundings. Notice everything that is around you. Know where you are and who may be near you.
- Find all exit points ahead of time. Take note of all points of entry/exit, whether you are outside or inside. This will help you in case you must find an alternative way to leave the area; especially if you need to leave quickly or if there is a large group of people who may be blocking an area.
- Identify potential assistance. Notice any law enforcement personnel who may be in the area. Also take note of anything that could be used as a potential weapon if you should need to defend yourself.
- Utilize environmental aids. Use things like reflective surfaces or window reflections to stealthy and unobtrusively watch what may be going on in and around your personal space.
Trust Your Gut Instincts
Now that you know how to be situationally aware and are paying attention to your surroundings, trust your natural human instincts, i.e., your gut feelings. Your instinct is a powerful thing so utilize it to enhance your situational awareness. If something doesn’t feel right, most likely it isn’t. Don’t wait until it may be too late. Note your environment, what is happening around you and who may be around you. If something doesn’t feel right, take action to change the situation. Always err on the side of caution and you’ll be surprised how much safer you will feel.
Learn More About Situational Awareness with Timothy Dimoff
Situational awareness can save lives! Learn more with the Tim’s Talk How to Successfully Invoke Situational Awareness. Feel free to contact Tim to schedule this important talk for your organization today!