danceWhile doing a little spring cleaning on my I came across one of my favourite communication tools for identifying and resolving issues with others. It’s called the Awareness Wheel and it’s a great little diddy for identifying what’s really going on in a given situation and then working through the issue – especially with someone you are close to like a partner, parent, sibling, or close friend.

We’re not always aware of what’s actually going on when in the crux of a conflict with someone (or even with ourselves) so using this tool can really help bring what we’re experiencing into our conscious awareness.

Picture a wheel with 5 pie-like sections.

And then it goes a little something like this:

  1. SENSE: start with what you notice – what you’ve seen or heard.
  2. THINK: these are your thoughts, judgments and opinions about what you think is going on.
  3. FEEL: This is what YOU are feeling in the moment – sad, mad, glad, hurt, afraid etc.
  4. WANT: this is what you want to see happen, your desires, your needs.
  5. DO: this is what you will do to help resolve the issue.

And an example in action:

“Based on what you just said I get the sense that there’s an issue here (SENSE) and I think we should talk about it because it seems to be creating a lot of tension between us (THINK). I feel frustrated and hurt when you blame me without asking me what was going on (FEEL), and I’m wondering if you could talk to me about what you’re thinking or feeling before blaming me (WANT) and I will try to be open and responsive to you instead of defensive or hostile (DO).”

It takes a little practice at first but it really works well, and is typically not a defensive or negative reaction inducing way of communicating. It can actually really facilitate an open and honest dialogue.

Give it a try. You could even practice it privately to yourself next time an issue comes up, and you’ll definitely notice how much awareness and clarity it brings to what’s really going on inside of you.