Finding the Silence

by | Apr 5, 2016

Finding the Silence

When it comes to being our most effective selves finding the silence is key to unlocking our potential. In that space our unconscious minds are allowed freedom to bring to our attention what has been ignored, misunderstood, or lost to us for some time. This can be incredibly enlightening and allow us to tap into how or why we are feeling or acting in a certain way.

Whilst being coached I have found this incredibly valuable to me as a way to dig deep, or self discover what is going on at that moment. It is a profound and deeply moving state that most of us ignore day to day, or are distracted from because of the huge amount of ‘noise’ around us.

the Noise

Consider on the way to work (in my case mostly London), we are bombarded by media, advertising, posters, people, tubes, traffic, pollution, ooh look at that in the window, coughing, pushing, umbrella, ow wheely suitcase on my foot…ahhh the office, finally…Im here. When you get to work you are interrupted, emailed, phoned, distracted etc etc…


So, I decided to take some time out to see if I could find the silence, on my own, and how long it would take. Here is what happened.

  • It actually took me 4 days.
  • I figured out, that I had to turn my phone off (it was off for 5 days in total as part of this experiment – and the World did not end).
  • I then decided to remove email from my mobile, and facebook and twitter and all those other distracting apps I never use.
  • I noticed my house was quiet, and yet I liked the sun, and fresh air and walking outside made it easier to find the silence.
  • I noticed that in the house all my gadgets make noise… the TV hums a little to itself, the washing machine beeps incessantly, bleep Im finished, bleep Im still finished, bleep you should turn me off…argggghhh.
  • I stopped drinking coffee.
  • I read some books, just focusing on the books.
  • I fell asleep, a lot.
  • It was not easy to find total silence. Once there, it is much quicker to achieve.
  • I had insights that I had not expected about myself, my work and my direction.
  • I was more attentive to my family, and listened to them more. We got closer.
  • I began to relax.
  • I got sick (flu)…could be coincidence, although some people say it is about ‘clearing’ the body and mind.
  • It took hours at first to clear the banter in my head, and now it takes a few minutes. And suddenly peace is there again.

The value of this experience has been incredible, and something which I will continue on a smaller scale, however the applications in coaching I think are quite fantastic.

Holding presence through silence is an important part of being a consultant and a coach to others, as there are situations that occur that you may have personal experience of, or judgements on, that you must work to remove from the space that you hold for your client. And yet, the pursuit of this requires discipline, hard work and self discovery at the same time. To achieve that presence requires that you find the silence, and some coaches have rituals (or meditations) that they do to prepare and get them in the right state to be totally focused on the client…and now I do too.

This has helped me not only manage the day to day, the kids, and the ca-fuffles, but also consider what is important about what I do and where my focus of attention should be and needs to be to provide the best support for my clients.

Give it a try, see how you go, let me know how you go, comment below 🙂

Martin Knowles

Martin Knowles


About the author

Martin Knowles has worked in a variety of sectors in Learning and Development roles and Contracts for nearly 20 years (Selfridges, Diageo, Rolls-Royce, Severn Trent, Veolia, Linklaters, Capital One, PCWorld, DSGi). He has authored content, books and articles for managers and aspiring leaders, published work in multiple media and won awards for Best Training and Development in Europe.

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