“Be still, the quieter you become the more you can hear.” -Ram Dass
Almost halfway through the year, it’s a great time to reflect and celebrate where you are both personally and professionally which brings me to write about “Living in the Present”.
This has been a common topic with many of my clients of late. How do we simply engage in the present when we all have so many responsibilities at work and in our personal lives? To me, mastering “being all there in the present” can really assist in creating balance in your life, building real rapport with individuals and reducing the noise that sometimes distracts us from what is important.
Does this mean you forget the past or forget about striving for future goals and aspirations, the answer is no. Living or “being” in the present is about letting go of past experiences and not letting them be the judge of any future experience. Reflect on the times, especially in a work context where your role is based around planning for the future, have you ever noticed how fast time goes? This is because you are already living in the future and once the future comes you are onto planning the next future project and the cycle goes on. On the flip side if you live in the past and base your current decisions, goals and thinking on past experiences you will look around and miss what is actually happening or changing, right now. Once you are in the moment it’s gone and you may have missed opportunities, realisations and important moments that are often irreplaceable. Living in the moment is about defining and creating goals yet allowing ourselves to work actively to pursue them instead of worrying about how we are going to achieve them.
The key is to let go of the past and experience the present without judgment.
Living in the present allows us to start again, time after time and moment after moment. This is a process of constant renewal, leaving everything open to new experiences. Look at every moment as a chance, a chance for something new, a change, a realisation and an opportunity to explore. Our mind will always race off to other places and this is completely normal. By simply being aware of remaining focused on the present this will assist you on truly being in the moment which in turn can assist in building strong and authentic relationships.
At least once a day:
- Find a routine task, this could be as simple conversation with an individual in your team or cooking a meal, something uncomplicated
- Focus yourself on this task and totally engage in the experience
- Take note of what thoughts and feelings arise for you during this experience
There is no correct way to feel, think or be in the present, just be aware of your mindful attention of the moment.
There are many steps to assist you “Living in the Moment”; I have noted a few below:
You may have the perfect job, a healthy and relatively fulfilling life but you still compare yourself with what others have or do. Perfectionism makes you judge yourself by what you do, rather than who you are. This happens when you tend to be dissatisfied with your achievements because you feel you could have done better, you tend to compare yourself to the expectation you set.
Uncover what’s behind it
The standards you have on yourself, how were these set?
You need to challenge your expectations when faced with “I have to” ask yourself “Who said I have to?” Look at what beliefs you are associating to the standards you set; remember beliefs are things we consider to be true to get through life. If your belief is not a resourceful one, reframe it so it is or rewrite it to move forward.
Change your goals
Look at the benefits and what it is costing you to have perfectionist tendencies. Why do you do certain things? Are they that important to you?
Train your thoughts
Learn to stop negative thoughts and focus on your talents and qualities. Bring your mind back to the present by focusing on others and the possibilities of a current situation. By keeping your thoughts in the present it means you are not reliving the past mistakes. Be engaged when with others and learn to push unresourceful thoughts away. Look for activities that don’t always have specific goals, as perfectionists tend to look for self -improvement and become too focused.
Instead of appreciating what we already have, we tend to focus on what we haven’t got. Like Zig Ziglar says “Some people find fault like there is reward for it” One key to living in the moment and enjoying what you have right now is to experience gratitude. By being grateful of others and what they contribute makes you pay attention to them therefore letting you be in the present with them. Studies show that by simply listing 3 things a day that you are grateful for can improve your mood.
Write down 3 things each night that you are grateful for.
This could be as simple as seeing a good friend, being healthy enough to go to the gym or living on purpose in your career.
Think of at least one person a day you are grateful to have known or met. Look outwards; if you express gratitude and kindness, you will be more aware of your connection with others
Although a buzzword these days, mindfulness is nothing new and dates back to the sixteenth century. With such a fast paced world we live in we need to take a step back in order to be present and open to the moment. You are meeting a friend for lunch; you greet her/him and then start thinking of work, what she/he is wearing. After finishing your meal your phone rings, you remember to send a text and then you start coordinating your Monday morning meeting in your head? That next meeting, sound familiar? With technology these days it’s easy to be torn between work and home as we can access it no matter where we are. Your mind is a running commentary, chatting away and judging. This takes you away from the here and now, the present.
To be here in the moment you need to practice the mindfulness.
Separate what I call the “voice” and the “noise”. Ignore the static noise that doesn't serve you, do not give it airtime as this will only make it louder. Listen to the clear voice and focus on the here and now as to not miss the magic of the moment!
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Renée Giarrusso is an accomplished facilitator, speaker, trainer and coach who works with high performing leaders and their teams across a myriad of industries and organisations.
She passionately helps leaders fulfil their full potential resulting in increased motivation and performance. Her expertise in growing and developing capability and behavioural change around leadership, communication, transition, presenting and sales effectiveness leave her clients inspired, re-energised and with improved results. Renée is currently working on her first book “Limitless Leadership”
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