I shared this on a call with the Winning Women Network, and I believe it is important enough to share with my audience as we go forward.
We have so many things going on in our lives and in our heads – the laundry, the kids, the fight with your spouse, work, lions, tigers, and bears oh my. All of that “stuff” robs us of the ability to be present right now.
At the time of this writing, we have just moved to the Boston area. We had to purchase a shed to store our yard tools – mower, snow blower, etc. The one thing about the shed though is that we have to have a foundation – either wood or cement. Because we are military, portability is key. My husband wants to discuss what we will do with the shed when we move. I’m more concerned about the foundation we need right now. [Sidenote: I love you honey. This just makes for great illustration.]
This is how many of us live our lives. We are so worried about tomorrow, that we forget about today. We treat our businesses this way. Some have checked out on 2016, because we want 2017 to be the ‘best year ever’. We check out on our families, because they ‘will always be here’. We don’t listen to conversations with our children. All these things happen because we are not present. We are so concerned about ‘what if’ that we completely neglect ‘what NOW’.
What does it mean to be present?
The word present comes from Latin praesentare which means ‘place before’. When you are present in a situation, you are placing it before everything else. You are focused on that thing at that moment. There is power in being present.
How can I be present?
Increasing your ability to be present is all about awareness – the ability to stop and recognize what is happening at that moment.
- Meditation – The practice of meditation helps you increase mindfulness. Start with just 5 minutes. Sit in a quiet place and focus on your breath. When the mental chatter happens, and it will, just notice it, and then re-focus on your breath. Set a timer. When the timer goes off, you are done and free to go about your day. At first it may seem like you’re not ‘doing it right’. Continue to practice, and it will get better.
- Write things down: Our minds will scatter. You will begin to think of the million things you have to do! STOP! Write those things down. Writing them now relieves you of the mental anguish if trying to remember. Mary Kay Ash said, ‘A short pencil is better than a long memory’. Just as your computer moves faster when there are fewer windows open, so does your brain when you’re not trying to remember everything. Trying to remember everything distracts you from being present, because your mind is busy trying to not forget.
- Focus: Practice using the focusing question taught by Gary Keller in the book The One Thing: What is the one thing I can do right now, such that by doing it, everything else becomes easier or unnecessary? In a moment when your mind is racing, and you are everywhere else, ask yourself the focusing question to bring yourself back to right here right now. Decide if the one thing you’re doing right now is really ‘worth it’. If it is, focus your attention on that one thing until it’s complete. Make a decision to not worry about anything else when you are performing a particular task. If it’s not, shift your attention to the most important thing.What can I do NOW to make tomorrow happen? Click To Tweet
- Worry about Today, not Tomorrow: There is nothing wrong with planning for tomorrow. You must have a vision and goals. It becomes debilitating when we are so focused on tomorrow that we don’t do anything today. Instead of thinking about the coming year, and how things are going to be great next year, and what you’re going to do next year to make next year great – Ask yourself, ‘What can I do NOW to make tomorrow happen?’
- Accept interruptions: It is unrealistic to believe that you will always have uninterrupted time. It is equally useless to become frustrated with the interruptions. I believe it is best to do what is necessary to minimize the impact of the interruption. Your spouse and children will interrupt you. It is better to be present with them and give them what they need, than to continually brush them off. Being present with them reduces impact of the disruption as you will not feel the guilt of neglecting your family. Other ’emergencies’ will occur. You have to determine if it is REALLY an emergency or just ’emergent’ in someone else’s eyes.
Being present is the best gift we can give ourselves. I would like to invite you to join our Facebook group, and attend our Winning Women Network Calls – Monday through Friday Noon EST/9am PST – 425.209.1919. The calls are open to everyone – including the fellas! To get access to the call recordings, click here.