Rick shared the life-altering insight of State of Consciousness that helped me better understand myself and shape the consulting, training, coaching and mentoring I've done since

I first met Rick during my final semester of college. I was bound and determined to have a job before graduation. I figured why wait to graduate and compete with all the other thousands of students who would be graduating at the same time. So, start now! In December (I was going to complete the program in April – Graduate in Late June) I started researching who I wanted to work for upon graduation. I started to read and research who I might want to work with. I boldly drew up my list of Top 100 companies I wanted to invest my time and efforts with.

It was equal parts daunting, exciting, tiring, and exhilarating.

I booked some interviews. I interviewed people in HR and several in the sales and marketing, plus the owner of a very successful import firm who had a sales and marketing team. After the interviews, I went back and drafted up two types of resumes. One resume for sales and one for marketing positions. Then the hunt began in earnest. I started mailing out letters of introduction and my resume.

However, it does keep one humble when the rejections letters started coming back. Yes in my first go-round of job search, companies sent back to me “Thanks but no thanks” letters. I think I got about 12 of them for the 30 or so positions I applied for. However out of the first 33 applications sent out I got serious interest from 3 firms. I managed to get two interviews with each of them. One of them decided I was not the right fit, one I decided I was not a fit, and the third one made me an offer.

That Was Not The End Of That

However, during this series of back and forth interviews, I kept researching and looking for that first career position. It was deep into January when a very tiny ad appeared in the newspaper: Social Expression company looking for front line sales professional, sales training provided. Well, I didn’t know what a social expression company was. However, I quickly got myself on the phone and it turned out to be a placement agency. I’d never worked with a placement agency before. Still, I was not going to let that stop me.

I meet with the agency the next day. I had an appointment with the firm in under three days. Both appointments went very well. Then I went back to the agency we recapped the interview. I was called back to the company for a second interview and after that interview was asked to stay and meet Rick. This was a life-affirming and game-changing series of events.

I didn’t know it at the time, but I found out later I was “competing” for this position with over 200 other candidates. The Human Resources Department narrowed the field down to the 12 of us.  The 12 of us each got interviewed and then HR narrowed the field down to eight. Then Rick interviewed the 8 of us, one at a time. Then just the 3 of us were back for another interview than just the two of us.  Unknown to me a very special professional in the industry had been invited to also apply. I was competing against an industry professional from a competitor. I learned later they’d decided it was time to be more progressive and hire their first female sales professionals. Yeah! Oh, wait… That meant I didn’t get the position.

I know, I know. My first reaction was Drats! But wait: Rick made an offer I could not refuse that took not only took the sting out of it but offered me a chance to develop, deepen and practice several valuable skill sets.

Rick’s Offer Included Much Milage

It seems I scored very high in my aptitude test on mechanical abilities. Would I consider starting as a Retail Installation Coordinator or a RIC (I teased him about naming a job position after himself – a few months later)? I learned I’d be in charge of new and renovated in-store fixture setups, and on occasion merchandising as well. Exciting times. Plus I’d lead teams of up to 12 on the setup crews, and the merchandising teams.

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I held that position for 10 months and during that time we opened and renovated well over 32 stores across Ontario. Plus I was allowed to work in the interior of British Columbia and help renovate our department in a series of department stores. It was a busy time! During these months I drove over 80,000 miles and I lost track of how many miles in the air and car rental miles I racked up.

It was starting to get tiring towards the end of the 10 months between the miles, the hours and being away from home a change was wanted… However, there was also a very big sense of accomplishment to go along with it all. I enjoyed hiring, training each of the setup crews. Plus I was very pleased and proud of an exceptional perfect safety record. Zero accidents despite the urgency of the setups and the less than ideal working conditions.

However, being called into Rick’s office for a meeting with a one week lead time left me time to wonder “What’s up?” It was good news I was being promoted and moving from the Sales Support Team into the position of Sales Trainee. Better still of all the trainers in the firm I was going to be training with Mr Trevor Hunt. He had a first-rate track record having worked his way up the corporate ladder in England and then come to Canada to work in the firm. He had quite a bit of experience and was a very gifted trainer. That was a very good meeting.

The Four States of Awareness

Rick then shared a life-altering piece of insight that has helped me better understand myself and shape all of the consulting, training, coaching and mentoring I’ve done since. It was an Ah-Ha! moment.

He introduced me to the: Four States of Awareness, also known as the Four States of Consciousness. They go something like this:

First State of Consciousness or Awareness

In this state of consciousness or awareness “We don’t know-We don’t know“. So little stuff and big stuff keeps happening to us. Yet we are 100% unaware of the why.

Second State of Consciousness or Awareness

In this state of consciousness or awareness “We know-We don’t know“. So little stuff and big stuff keeps happening to us. However, now we understand there is a cause and effect. We know we have some choices and some learning to do. It can be a time of great excitement and/or a time of great anger and frustration. “Why didn’t anyone tell me before?

Third State of Consciousness or Awareness

In this state of consciousness or awareness “We know we know“.

We are not yet 100% aware of the W5 (Who, what, where, when, why and how), but we are underway. We know we don’t know it all yet, however, we are learning, process, names, skills and expanding our awareness and looking for “What’s next?

Fourth State of Consciousness or Awareness

In this state of consciousness, many would say we are unconsciously competent. We have potentially forgotten the names, and process of doing things. We do them habitually, not consciously. Yet, at one time we had to learn the process, names, skills and practice to be productive. Now it’s a habit, it just happens.

These four types of consciousness helped me better understand exactly where I was when dealing with personal and professional issues as well as when consulting with business clients or volunteering.

So, Where Are You?

So my question to you is: Where do you stand on something in life that is blocking you?

Perhaps you’re stuck in a state of Unconsciousness like the First State. I know I had a friend who refused to learn anything about managing a serious health issue. In turn, they had an excessive amount of pain and suffering. They refused to move from the pain and discomfort they had physically and emotionally with their illness, through the discomfort of learning some vital information rationally and then using it. I still don’t fathom it. They suffered long and deep for 20 years. Instead of a few classes with a health educator. “Imagine taking lessons at my age.” they’d told me.

So it’s not good or bad or right or wrong to be in any of these states of consciousness. However it’s potentially expensive and painful to be in the first state, annoying and trying to be in the second on, and liberating and hard work as we learn in the third state, and life is much easier as we have the courage and persistence to attain the fourth state of consciousness.

Years later I decided (quite boldly I’d suggest) that this model from the 12th or 13th century was amazing, yet could do with some states of awareness and conciseness. However more on that in another post.

So until next time, Imagine Yourself with more Resiliency for life.

Michael Ballard

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Michael Ballard
Michael is an author, speaker, trainer, and consultant. He travels the world helping people learn how to add more resilience into their lives at home, work and community. Michael specializes in helping people, families, organizations and community’s learn how to thrive with resiliency. Resilience is a process, a set of key assets, skills and beliefs that can change our lives. Resiliency can changes the quality of our journey and often the quality of the outcomes. Connect with Michael on Twitter and Facebook or check his website www.ResiliencyforLife.com for more information. Michael's new book "The Gift" is due out in later winter 2016.
Rick shared the life-altering insight of State of Consciousness that helped me better understand myself and shape the consulting, training, coaching and mentoring I've done since

One comment:

  1. Michael Ballard

    March 13, 2016 at 3:30 pm

    I look forward to your questions & comments.



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