Scaffolding for Self-Awareness

I was driving home from work the last week when I noticed some exterior work happening at an office building. There was scaffolding in place to help with the work the crew was doing. I drove away thinking about how critical that scaffolding is to the success of their work.

Scaffolding provides some temporary support and structure as the “real work” is getting done. The scaffolding isn’t the goal or the end product; it is part of the process along the way. It makes us feel safe to do the work we need to do as we know things won’t fall apart on us. It allows us to move through the work with a little less fear as we have some support and guidance. It doesn’t do the work for us, it doesn’t answer solve the issues; it isn’t the end product or goal. After time, or as the project nears completion, you may not need the scaffolding anymore.

Our brain has scaffolding that gives support, structure, security and safety. We know from neuroscience that our brain is naturally driven toward the negative. This knowledge is scaffolding to help us in choosing our responses. The real work is the choosing of our responses.

We also know from neuroscience that we have a limited amount of attention and focus. We use that scaffolding to be more self-aware about our time and attention. The real work is how we prioritize our tasks.

We know that our brain is wired to respond with emotions. With this knowledge in place we can feel less fear of addressing issues that arise. The real work is giving attention to our own responses.

Self-awareness is critical, and I for one am grateful we have scaffolding in place.