Mindfulness, and how you can apply it to your world. Right here. Right now.
“Mindfulness.” “Being present.” “Being in the now.” “Being in the moment.” We hear these words and phrases often, but what do they really mean?
You may have also heard that there is no such thing as multitasking, and it’s true. Rare leaders are great at fully putting themselves into any one task as it is presented. Once a particular task is complete, it’s onto the next. Sounds simple, right?
It is simple, and yet so hard. Why is that? Being present means that you are centered, focused, and prepared to concentrate. By the way, focus and concentration are two different things.
To be focused means that you have a clear understanding of your reality. You know who you are, why you are where you are, what you are doing, and the reason you are doing it. Being focused, therefore is actually very much akin to simply “being in the now.” To get focused, it actually can be helpful to ask yourself:
- Why am I here?
- Where am I?
- What am I doing?
- Why am I doing it?
Concentration has to do with the ability to isolate your attention on a specific task, object or thought. “Being present” means having full access to your mind and body in order to fulfill the requirements of the task that is before you, so with these things in mind, you can begin to see why it’s ideal to apply the two concepts together.
Leaders have the special ability to see the big picture in order to fulfill a vision. They know they are not able to complete every task needed to see a plan through to completion—that would be insane. Nevertheless, many leaders feel that they have to carry the world on their shoulders, or do things themselves in order for them to be done right. The great ones know that to function this way is a recipe for disaster.
So how do we stay in the now, while ensuring that all tasks are getting completed as they need to be?
Having a vision is much more than having a great idea, or many good ideas. It’s having an understanding of what that picture really is, and then knowing what pieces are needed to put the picture together.
A rare leader knows that each step needs to be worked out and choreographed, so to speak, with precision and attention to detail—and that all steps occur one at a time, even though there are many times when many steps are happening simultaneously.
Being present and focused essentially boil down to using tools and paths to ensure that you’re engaged in what you’re doing, and who you are communicating with. It helps to remember that change can only really occur in the present moment. The past cannot be changed, and the future is yet to be.
So again, when you find yourself becoming distracted by things that you are not able to change at the moment, it can actually help to just take a few deep breaths, and ask yourself these simple questions:
What am I doing right now?
Why am I doing it?
Coming into the present moment gives us the ability to concentrate on the task at hand.
When you find yourself getting into it; i.e., becoming engaged and making progress—that’s when things start to get exciting! You might also notice that as this process unfolds, the people around you will follow suit. Your passion and creativity inspires the same thing in the people you work with. How cool is that?!
When you’re really cooking with gas, and you’re fully immersed in what you’re doing, that is what is referred to as “being in a state of flow.” (Look for a post on flow state, soon!) It’s a great place to be, and perhaps that is why many rare leaders seem to be pretty happy people. They just get it.
For more thoughts on mindful leadership, check out this great post from Zen Habits:
Also check out Simon Sinek’s site:
Thanks for the collaborative writing with Trish Hundhausen – http://www.creativebeasts.com