Updated: Dec 7, 2018
This is PART 2 of a six part series looking at the path to personal success. Be sure to subscribe to receive updates, and don't forget to go check out Part 1: Be Prepared.
The path to personal success is as unique as each person walking it. Your journey likely takes different twists and turns than those around you. Similarly their ups and downs are probably quite different than yours. This rings true in personal success, business achievement, career advancement, relationships - or better yet, let's just say... in life. While each journey is specific to the person walking that path, there are universally applicable principles that can help you move further down the path of success, faster. Being mindful and disciplined with these six principles can truly unlock your ability to achieve any long-term goal. Today, we discuss step two on the path (BE PRESENT).
2. BE PRESENT
You may have heard the phrases, be here now or be where your feet are. These phrases are intended to help you remember to be present, mentally and emotionally, not just physically. To be present literally means to be here (physical) and to be available (mental/emotional). Being physically in a place, but with your mind somewhere else, simply means you're in attendance. There are three possible places for your mind to be - in the past, the present or the future. Another phrase you may have heard, showing up is half the battle, is just that - half of what is required to achieve success in this step. To achieve excellence, nothing less than being one-hundred percent present will do.
Think, for a moment, about a time when you missed a deadline or a detail, and you were adamant that no one shared the information with you; only to be told that the critical detail you needed was given to you, and you even acknowledged with a head nod and a, "Got it. I'm on it." I'm sure you have that memory vividly in your mind. Do you remember that feeling - of the group that was in attendance at the meeting (including yourself), everyone else got the information that you missed? How could you have been the only one that missed it? Is it a conspiracy of some sort? Not likely. A more plausible scenario is that you were simply in attendance, while everyone else was present.
There are three possible places for your mind to be - in the past, the present or the future.
So then, where was your mind, if not in the moment? Mentally, you were either in the past or in the future. I know that, in meetings similar to the one you may have recalled, my mind has a tendency to start thinking about how to execute the topics being covered. This is a departure from presence, as I remain in attendance physically, but my mind drifts to the future. For me this is where I've missed an important detail, and is where I know I have to have a system in place to remain mindful, and to stay present.
Here's the system I use to remain present in virtually any situation.
MISSION: Observe your surroundings and yourself. Ensure that you fully understand your presence and attention in your environment.
QUESTIONS TO ASK YOURSELF:
Am I attentive and alert, concentrating on the input I am receiving?
Is my mind available and open?
If I am distracted, what needs to be done to eliminate the distraction?
MISSION: Gather the information you are receiving as input, with the intention of holding on to all of it, and sitting with it before filing it away or forgetting it. Your full concentration is now on being present and receiving input.
ACTION TO TAKE:
Avoid thinking of action items or next steps, based on input received
Listen to understand, not to craft your response
If appropriate, write notes (only focused on the input, not the action steps that may follow)
ASSESS, RETAIN, RESPOND
MISSION: Now it is time to proper file the input and categorize it, or respond to it as appropriate. You will retain what is truly vital and begin to take action steps, based on the input.
ACTION TO TAKE:
Begin to assess the information and decide how to respond (but only after you've gathered all the information, and your mind is clear, present and engaged)
Craft your response based on what others involved in the conversation or experience need, rather than what you need (This is often a great time to ask clarifying questions, if you caught your mindfulness and presence slipping earlier)
Uses your notes to organize the information you have - retain details that may be vital to revisit, and allow your mind to free up space for future input
Being present, mindful and connected to yourself, your surroundings and others, doesn't need to remain a challenge. While the steps above can seem a little dry and robotic, I can assure you that with adequate practice, these simple steps can give you the jumpstart you might need in being present.
Step 3 on the path to personal success (BE PERSISTENT), is up next. Be sure to subscribe for updates and the best experience.
In our work with leaders, we share resources, tools and deep insights that bring this and the other five steps to tangible reality. As this series continues, and the topics pique your interest, don't hesitate to reach out to us to discuss how we can bring this to life for you or your team.