No, I don’t mean where are you located. I mean, are you here? Are you really reading this article, or is your mind on 101 other things you want/need to think about today? Are you really here with me? Or are you elsewhere, and not really focused? Where are you?
Coaches tend to talk a lot about ‘presence’. That sense of being really engaged with and listening to the client – being fully with them. It’s an important skill for a coach to learn. Without it we cannot properly do our job.
It’s also an important skill for us all.
How often are you truly present? How often are you, in the moment, really listening to what someone is saying to you? How often are you fully focused on the task you have to do? How often are you truly living your life in the present, rather than mulling over what’s passed or over-thinking what’s yet to (or might not) happen?
Are you really here, now?
What if you were truly mindful – aware of things in the moment, with a sense of openness, curiosity and care? What difference might it make to you and your life?
It’s about showing up. Showing up with all of ourselves.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m not the world expert on this myself. I can focus on a coaching client with all of my senses and all of my mind. It can be much harder to focus on the tasks awaiting me at my desk, or even, at times, on my nearest and dearest.
Yet it is a skill we can practise and learn. And in doing so, we can experience much better focus, clarity, effectiveness, productivity, calm, relationships, and joy. Not bad for just learning to be really present!
Some of the world’s biggest and best organisations are catching onto this. They are realising that if they can help their people to be more present, or mindful, the rewards are not just for the individual. The organisation itself becomes more successful, through the improved focus, morale and productivity of its staff.
A recent report from The Mindfulness Initiative confirms these benefits. It shows that employees that are fully present enjoy lower stress, increased wellbeing, better relationships and improved performance and work-life balance. For the organisation, this leads to lower absenteeism, reduced staff turnover, better team-working and safety, improved decision-making and productivity, and a positive impact on the bottom line.
What’s not to like?
A great way to learn how to be really present is to practice mindfulness. Take a look at this one-minute mindfulness exercise as a starter or this 10-minute body scan exercise. Some of my clients have used these approaches to great effect. One has found that by practising mindfulness for a few minutes each day before work, he is far more focused and present and is able to be more strategic and effective as a leader. His work-life balance and mood have improved too. Others have found it leads to greater calm and clarity.
Even celebrities find that learning to be present has a positive impact on their lives. Ruby Wax is a great advocate. Watch her video here.
Are you still with me? Great! How about being in the ‘here and now’ throughout you day today, or even just for the next few minutes, and see what a difference it makes.
Do let me know!
And if being present makes a difference to you after just one day or a few minutes, what difference could it make the rest of your precious life?