We know we’re supposed to “be present” wherever we are. It’s one of the trendy business buzzwords like smarketing, corporate values, or, forward thinking.
The jargon gets annoying and we end up ignoring it. I get it.
But, ignoring the idea of being present will hurt you, those you love and your opportunities for success.
To me, being present means that I am focused on what is happening right here, right now. I’m truly listening to the person talking to me. I’m looking her in the eye. I’m trying to understand her. I’m not thinking about my comeback or the super smart point I’m about to make. I’m not checking my smartphone or my email. I’m here – now.
When I’m present, people I’m talking to respond to me in a warmer way.
I can see how much my daughters, my wife and my coworkers notice it and appreciate it. It radically improves connections and relationships.
When I’m not being present, I can be a jerk. I caught myself the other morning not really listening to what my youngest daughter, Summer, was saying. I was hearing her, but I was thinking about what I needed to do that day. I wasn’t really at the breakfast table and my daughter knew it. That doesn’t fit with my desire to be a great dad. Ouch.
At work I sometimes get so into prepping my talk radio show that I’m not really present with my coworkers. I can justify my behavior by saying I don’t have time and I have to get my show ready, but I come off as uncaring and selfish. That’s not who I want to be.
It only takes a little time to be present.
The other day I did the normal “how are you?” greeting to a coworker as we passed in the hallway. She said “fine,” but I was present enough to notice that something was wrong. I asked her a couple questions and was able to support her in a tough time that she’s experiencing
It took less than five minutes and yet I can now feel that we have a stronger connection and that we are more willing to help each other than we were before.
Being present actually helps us get more done.
I have developed a bad habit. A lot of my work is writing and thinking. When my thoughts stall, or I lose the flow, or I get a little bored, I start checking my email and social media accounts. I kid myself by thinking, “I’m just staying connected,” but it’s really just a procrastinating time suck.
So, I’m practicing being 100% focused and present on what I’m doing for a specific amount of time. I shut down all email and social media and set the timer for 20, 30, or 50 minutes. Then I see how much I can get done in that time. It’s awesome.
Action step: Give it a try. You might be shocked at how productive you will be.
Questions: What tips do you have on being present? How has it helped you?