7 Simple Practices that Enable being Present
Pennsylvania takes distracted driving darn serious. Title 75 section 3316 imposes a fine of $50.00 if you’re caught texting while driving.
The numbers on distracted driving are going down. Only 1.6 million crashes a year. Every year over 3,000 teenagers rest under the dirt in the U.S. because of phone use in cars.* Counting adults distracted driving kills eight people every day.
Being present saves lives.
What about distracted leading?
Thankfully, people don’t die when distracted leaders gawk at their phone during conversations. Distraction might kill in a warehouse or manufacturing plant, but people are pretty safe leaning against the wall or sitting behind a desk.
You are distracted when you don’t know what you did at the end of the day. Being present is paying attention.
How do you feel when your boss keeps glancing at their computer while you explain important concerns? Being present honors the person in front of you.
Give yourself scatter-brain time. You don’t have to be present while brushing your teeth. Although you’ll do a better job if you are.
Simple practices to be present:
- Notice things. What are people doing, saying? How do people feel? How do you feel?
- Relax. Most of the problems you’re solving today existed yesterday and the world survived.
- Admire people. Find things to admire about the person talking to you.
- Do one thing at a time.
- Embrace your limitations. People change themselves. You can’t change anyone.
- Show up curious. Ask questions. Take notes.
- Practice gratitude. You must notice to be grateful.
Bonus: Do what you’re doing.
Skill and experience are less relevant when you’re distracted.
Life is better when you show up.
What can leaders do to be less distracted?
Presence: 12 Signs You Aren’t Here
*Distracted Driving Statistics in 2023 | The Zebra
How Do You Live in the Present? (verywellmind.com)
“How do you feel when your boss keeps glancing at their computer while you explain important concerns? ”
Vexed. But then, ask yourself, are you a gasbag whose style means nobody realises it’s important? Or is it that your important concerns actually are neither important nor of concern to anyone except you.
Using the distraction of others as reason to self-reflect seems useful, especially if you manage or lead. It’s hard to follow a bore.
On the other hand, I’m not quick to find excuses for leaders who don’t pay attention. If you have a bloviator on the team it’s better to help them get to the point and stay on topic than to drift off into la la land. When people talk about irrelevant stuff bring them back to important topics. Perhaps we have to be present to do that.
Thank you, Dan, for an insightful and timely post! My resolution for 2023 is to practice presence — in my home, work, and spiritual life. What a great reminder that, “Being present honors the person in front of you!” — a phrase that will be on the forefront of my mind throughout the year. All the best.
That’s a great resolution. Life is better when we show up. (I just added that to today’s post.)
Good morning, Dan… “Life is better when we show up!” That is a favorite mantra of mine! Thank you!
What a useful mantra. I thought mantras were supposed to be secret. 😉
I’m currently being immersed in the German language, after joining a German company recently… While in theory the company is bi-linguistic, in practice German prevails. Which makes it extra crucial for me (understanding the basics of German) to put 100% of my attention to what’s going on in meetings, what people say, how they look, their tone etc. No distraction has even a chance! Which makes me think… if one experiences being distracted as a pattern at work, could this be a sign it’s time to move on / up, because the current role isn’t sufficiently challenging any longer?