One is something we (try to) do. One is something we all yearn for. Both are to any relationship worth having.
Being present is such a simple concept, but our presence is under an all-out assault.
“When added up, we devote years of our lives tending to distractions.”
-Chris Bailey, Hyperfocus
We’ve heard the term “undivided attention” many times throughout our lives. But I think the reality is that it is nearly extinct and found on the endangered species list right along with gorillas, sea turtles, and elephants.
For ourselves to not be distracted by the deluge of thoughts or external, mostly digital, inputs, is nearly impossible.
Little test: breathe in and out 10 times counting each breath. Breathe in, breathe out, 1, breathe in, breathe out, 2, etc. I challenge you to make it to 10 without going off on a mental tangent. It’s friggin’ hard, if not nearly impossible for most. How’d you do?
“Attention without intention is wasted energy.”
By drifting off into whatever mental rabbit hole arises, not only does our productivity plummet, (see Chris’ book for more details), but so does our quality of life. We become less creative and our lives become less meaningful. Plus the quality of our relationships erodes due to our inability to be fully there for the person in front of us.
Now imagine your staff, your clients, or your donors. They all know when you’re really there or mentally checked out going through the motions.
At a very base level, people just want to be heard. They want to feel that their opinion is valued and their concerns are being acknowledged. They want to be accepted and respected.
It is impossible to actively and compassionately hear someone if you aren’t fully present. So not only are distractions devaluing your life, it is destroying quality relationships and connections which in turn fosters disengagement & mistrust.
Being present is more difficult than ever and as a result, being heard is rarer than ever. Please be aware of how you are showing up for all the people in your life and the impact your presence can have on both your life and theirs.