The answer dawned on Alice March as she leafed through a heavy volume of research papers. For the last decade Alice had dedicated her life to understanding how she had contributed to her son’s drug usage. As a mother she had an innate feeling that the role she played was quintessential, but as a researcher, she needed to find an explanation and proof. Fast forward to 1986, it was the evening that Alice had an epiphany over a word that would inspire two more decades of researching, writing, interviewing and speaking about the root causes of serious societal issues ranging from obesity, teen suicide, ineffective corporate managers to not finding Mr. Charming. Her epiphany, quite simply, was over the word Attention.
Shortly after, Alice created a body of work she called The Attention Factor®, which looked at the ways in which an abundance of bad childhood attention or lack of good attention carries into adulthood. This lack of good or appropriate attention during childhood can create a multitude of consequences from eating problems to destructive relationships, alcoholism, to drug addiction. Most of us, have seen examples of this as parents, guardians, or family members. If a child wants attention their first reaction is act out, do something to upset their parents or exhibit bad, problematic behavior wherever they are.
Now, apply that theory to adults. Did the image of your boss just appear? Or maybe it was your spouse or sibling or co-worker.
Either way, we all know someone who is craving attention and just doesn’t know how to ask for it.
“Attention is a mainstream word.” Alice says,” we see it and hear it everyday but I redefined it and made it into a different paradigm so that the work I do changes people lives because they look at their lives differently.”
At a quick glance, the idea seems simple enough, but at a closer view the consequences of not getting good attention can range from violence to terrible office management, poor self-care, to suicide, the ultimate! The massive number of lives this affects can easily be summed up as social epidemic.
In the early 2000s Alice was invited to speak at a Risk Management Conference at Berkeley University in California where many corporate risk managers and a Worker Comp Judge were in the audience. After her speech, the Judge ran after her and said: “Your observations are lethal! This is what I see in front of my bench all day long. That’s what people do, when can’t get the kind of attention they need at work. They sue, they gossip, and they sabotage the corporate environment. Manager’s really need to know this.” It was enough to confirm to Alice that she was on to something.
Today, CEOs and managers are becoming aware that attention affects the bottom line. If employees are treated as though they are part of the business, that functions as a transparent business, if employees feel they have a stake in their office community, they will work better. And, the bottom line goes up. Google is a prime example of this; it’s become tremendously successful and revered for the ways in which they treat their employees from naptime to lax policies on bringing pets to creative playrooms for employees! They have discovered and honored their employee’s needs for different kinds of attention.
Alice continued to receive wide approval of her studies and findings but it was only later that she found her proof. For a long time Alice claimed that “The Attention Factor® is the name of my work, but in fact I think it does exist in the body, because when you don’t get the kind of attention you need, you feel it.” It was in 2004 that she stumbled upon an MRI taken at UCLA that clearly showed different regions of the register, when it receives negative social attention, rejection.
Today Alice is a professional speaker who travels the world to increase awareness about this simple yet very serious, international issue. She is currently writing a book to help individuals discover the kind of attention they need and then lead them through the necessary steps to ask for it.
“I’m on a mission.” Alice says, “to alert people, how vital it is for everybody to realize the role attention plays in our lives everywhere and forever. When people become conscious of this, it will change society. The Attention Factor ® is the tool for making this happen, to keeping us in the present, to making us aware that all of us are vessels needing positive and appropriate attention.
Watch an Interview with by Perfect Business with Alice march Here: