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