As one of my old coaches, Drew Rozell, eloquently stated “You’re here, now, nowhere else. Act like it!”
Easily said, and in fact easy to enact, but the challenge is to actually notice that we are ‘not here’. At times when our minds have drifted away, we tend to lose that awareness or the need to haul ourselves back to now, and subsequently the effect of thinking about the past or the future changes who we are, now!
This played out again for me last week as I delivered several speeches. Running thoughts circled around yesterday’s talk wanting to enhance, change or add. Another thought run would consider the next talk, who would be there, what might be best. Both sets of thinking pulling me out of ‘here’ and the actual talk I was delivering.
The same may be true for you, rushing from one meeting to the next, and from one gnarly email to the next conversation.
Whilst these are valuable chains of thinking- often enhancing quality or preparedness - they were, for moments, taking me out of the now, but ultimately inspiring this Simple Note.
I have worked with many clients specifically on this. Extreme versions of the past or future drift in, bringing powerful and perilous emotions – depression or regret about the past through to anxiety and fear about the future. Until you become aware of this, and return to this moment, your attitude is tarnished by the displaced thinking.
Now is the best place to centre your attitude. Now is free of the past regrets or future fears.
The freer you become from thoughts of the past or the future, the more powerful you become right now.
Here are a few angles to help inspire your awareness and return to right here, right now.
1. Sensory Check-In – find two for each of your senses right now (e.g. two sounds, two things in view, two tastes etc.). This is a great technique for hauling the mind back to what is true right now.
2. Control-Alt-Delete (chapter 44 in The Keep It Simple Book) – just as you would for a computer to ascertain what programmes are running in the background, do the same for yourself and list everything that you are holding as part thought, loose threads, incompletes. Just the act of listing them can minimise their use of your RAM!
3. Beginners Mind (Shoshin in Zen Buddhism) – resist the desire to overthink or solve, stay open, listening, asking, eager, release preconceptions just as a beginner would. If you were a beginner how would you approach your day today? For inspiration here, go ask a real beginner in your company!
An extra bonus angle for you, on a daily basis, to centre your attitude, is to just take one minute to stop and breathe. Close your eyes, ground yourself and just breathe in and out for three seconds each. While you’re doing so you might want to visualise a place of calm or just try to notice yourself recalibrating and returning to the essence of you. Doing this once or twice a day on its own can help to re-ignite your best attitude.
Late last year I was at an event where a leader from Amazon shared their “Day 1” philosophy, inspired by Jeff Bezos, which lifts this Simple Note to the level of teams and entire companies being ‘right here, right now’. The philosophy drives Amazon to continually act like a start-up, centred on four areas of focus: Obsessed with the customer; Results over process; Quality decisions quickly; Embrace external trends.
What could you do to bring your colleagues ‘back here’?
Keep it simple and begin again.