It has been a focus of mine over the past several years to be aware of the degree to which I am present in any given moment. It is a constant learning edge for me. One that requires constant vigilance and self-awareness to understand whether we are responding in the moment or if this is one of those moments where our “internal board of directors”, those who are schooled in all of the things that have (or might have) gone wrong in our past, are telling us stories about what is about to pass and thus fueling our reaction.
Once I started to practice coaching, it became even more apparent to me that every moment counts. Coaching is the art of being totally present with the coach’s mind focused on the thoughts and feelings of the client, and within that space asking simple (and hopefully powerful) questions born of an informed curiosity. As I became more adept at this process, I began to notice that this act of being present and asking exactly the right simple question can produce amazing breakthroughs. Clients have commented that they can remember one question that allowed them to shift into gear and move forward with their goals or allowed them a flash of clarity of big influences in their life.
One of the things I’ve come across lately was this great Ted Talk by Drew Dudley entitled “Everyday Leadership”. I think Drew gets this totally right …we have the opportunity to be a leader in every moment. Whether that be leading ourselves or leading others.
An opportunity for self-leadership was presented to me one morning this past week. I was driving to the airport in the rain for a business trip. The car started to make a weird noise and I pulled off the freeway to discover that I had a flat tire. By the time I was back on the road I was soaked and filthy.
It was an opportunity for me to either get frustrated and upset that I was going to miss my flight or understand that “stuff happens” and move on to making the best decisions I can for myself at the time. I can’t say it was easy, but I can say it was very rewarding that I was able to take the latter path. The biggest reward was the sense of peace and calm that accompanied that path.
What I realized out of this is that the same principle of being present in the moment applies not only to a crisis but to every moment.
Looking inwardly, do we lead ourselves in a kind and compassionate way? Do we look for joy over stress? Do we learn from mistakes or carry them too long? Do we listen honestly to others positive feedback? Do we look for abundance or scarcity?
In our day-to-day interactions with others how do we engage? Are we a positive presence, available for others to engage? Do we smile naturally and invite connection? Do we project to others that we see their humanity? Do we provide light and compassion through our words and actions?
Where we are in a position of formal leadership what comes first? What we need or what our team needs? How do we find out what they need? Do we first look for what to appreciate in our team:? Do we acknowledge successes above all? Do we see the brilliance in each one of them and encourage them to see it too?
The thread throughout these thoughts is about possibility, positivity and personal accountability. How do we show up in any given moment? When I read what I just wrote, it is something I aspire to. I’m not there yet, but it feels like it would be great to live that way!
Here’s Drew Dudley’s TEDx talk. Please take a moment to enjoy and learn from Drew: www.youtube.com/watch?v=nhGQA7U0JeU
10 thoughts on “In The Moment”
Great post Ian! I found myself in a situation yesterday, we were in real rough seas and I was getting nervous to say the least…I kept telling myself it can be and “Adventure” or an Ordeal” this was difficult but it got me through and. I chose the positive adventure! Stay present in a positive way takes work…I wonder why our brains like to go towards the negative so easily at times.
Thanks again for the Sunday boost 🙂
Let us know if you are on the Island this summer…we are off the water and back around the 19th of July
Thanks for your comments Heather! Our brains are wonderful things, but the mammalian portion of it is tuned mostly to threats, and it overrules our human higher thinking frontal lobe. Check out this article on the principle of SCARF … 5 things we perceive as threats … it helps us understand why we lean negative! http://www.scarf360.com/about/
Thanks Ian! I’ll take a look
Ian, I think you’re more there than you think you are. 🙂
I am a big fan of asking the right questions and you certainly ask a few of them in this post. As I was reading about your flat tire, perhaps in empathy, I could feel my blood pressure rise and I imagined how stressed I would be missing my flight – as if it’s the last flight ever going to my destination! I like the approach you chose, and when I have chosen to take a similar approach, you’re right, I have peace and all is well.
Thank you for believing in me!! 🙂
It is amazing what happens when we accept things as random, impersonal occurences and then just make the best from where we find ourselves!
So much wisdom here Ian, around coaching presence and being present.
This question woke me up today!
Looking inwardly, do we lead ourselves in a kind and compassionate way?
and then …
What could you do to lead yourself in a more kind and compassionate way?
Love this follow up question Val! Thanks for fleshing it out!
‘Possibility, positivity and personal accountability’..
I love that as a personal mantra. What a great saying, is it yours?
Thanks for your thoughts! Not sure where that came from. I think from within but it could be something I read!