If I were to sum up my conversations with clients over the last year or so, one of the most common things that comes up is that people are moving away from “doing” and toward “being.”
After being on the career treadmill (or, ahem, mountain) for many years and two years of a pandemic (among other life challenges), people are realizing that there is another way to live life. They are craving more space, balance, and time. This generation wants their time back. And it’s honestly not surprising when we think about the evolution of work from agrarian to industrial to service and tech industries.
Humans are human beings for a reason. We need movement, socialization, and nature. What you pay attention to grows, and we’re often paying attention to things that are mediated by a screen, sedentary, and brain demanding. Then there’s all of the “other” life tasks – the kids, grocery shopping, cleaning, pets, etc. Soon, our lives can easily become a hamster wheel with endless to-do lists. These are difficult circumstances to find balance and joy.
We’ve come to a point in our lives and our world where we are realizing this way of working isn’t working. (And it never really did). At the same time, we’ve now cultivated habits to adapt our pressure-filled lives, constantly having our attention pulled from task to task. And if you’ve read anything on recent neuroscience, you know that “multitasking” is actually a myth. The brain task switches but cannot multitask. (For a really interesting listen on this, check out Brene Brown’s recent Dare to Lead podcast with Dr. Amishi Jha).
So now the work is to rewire our brains to come back to basics. We only have the present moment. And the more we pay attention to each moment, the more we notice and savor. When we come into presence, we are able to move through difficult emotions, delight in joy, and find gratitude in what is. This is why practices like meditation and yoga have exploded in popularity in recent decades.
Coming into presence can actually be surprisingly easy if we let it. It starts with the breath – something we do every day with or without awareness. It starts with the body – what’s here now? And then we move into the mindsets that help us move into presence – compassion, non-judgment, and play.
When we are present, so much opens up for us. We become more of who we are at our core, creativity blossoms, and ease happens (well, more easily!). It is from this place that we can truly find our inner power. So if you are a leader, entrepreneur, creative, or frankly, anyone, this is an incredibly important skill to cultivate.
Here are three ways to cultivate being present and the state of presence:
- Breathe. Simply pay attention to your breath for at least 60 seconds.
- Do a body scan. Notice how the body is feeling and expressing that feeling in this moment. Are you energized, slumped over, relaxed? Where do you feel that energy?
- Practice compassion. It’s easy to get caught up in judging the fact that we are judgmental. I bet meta-judge shows up a lot in your life! Gently redirect your negative thoughts and tell yourself it is okay to be just as you are.
Notice what happens when you practice presence. How does it affect…
- How you show up?
- The way you approach your business and/or leadership?
- What you do and how you do it?
I’d love to hear how this practice goes for you!