The squeeze had started and I was feeling the pressure, unlike anything I had ever experienced before. Projects incomplete with deadlines rapidly approaching, new ideas for growing my business exploding in my mind, significant life events: weddings, graduations, birth of new kids, and x0th wedding anniversaries popping up on my calendar. How could I possibly say NO? They were after all incredibly important – all #1
So I chose what any loving friend, parent, child, executive, and ‘NO EXCUSES – Make It Happen’ person would do, I said ‘NO’ to sleep, workouts, and ME.
Does this sound familiar? If you are like most of the executives and business owners I work with, you know this is the way it is, RIGHT?
Today I can say I get to this point less often. Not because I have less that I could or even should do, because I didn’t like the person I was showing up as at these events. I was there in body, yet my mind was always somewhere else.
One day as I was looking at pictures of past event I had attended, I realized, I was not in a single candid picture. It was like I was invisible in the activities of the day. Hundreds of pictures taken and where was I? Ah finally, I was in a posed, staged shot. Present or perhaps not.
It was in that moment that I realized I could continue going through life checking the boxes or I could intentionally say NO to really important things so I fully LIVED ‘YES’ in what I chose.
My new promise, which I am getting better at and still have an occasional relapse, is
LIVING in the YES of TODAY
IT IS ALL I AM and ALL I HAVE TO GIVE.
The following renewed thinking helped me shift from being EVERYWHERE WITH NO ONE to being FULLY PRESENT with the ONEs I’m with:
- The person in front of me or on the phone is the only person that matters right now. If I don’t treat them as if they are the most important person at this moment in my day then I shouldn’t have said YES to them in the first place.
Treasure the GIFT of the PRESENT.
- Those who have experienced my GIFT of the PRESENT, don’t expect me to pick up the phone or reply to a text when I am with someone else.
They know I respond when I can give them my undivided attention and that is what they really want is all of my mind, not just the perception of being connected.
“Yesterday is history,
tomorrow is a mystery,
today is God’s gift,
that’s why we call it the present.”
- I realized there are very few emergencies that I CAN really help with immediately and those are the usually the ones that take place right where I am.
True emergencies require immediate action by people who can bring aid the quickest. I used to get emergency calls when I was halfway across the country. For that season I lived in fear of getting another one of those calls because I knew I couldn’t get home fast enough to help and I had chosen to be gone. After receiving one of those calls I would agonize because I was somewhere else AND I couldn’t get home fast enough to help. It was in this season that I realized I needed a personal backup plan like I had in place at work. Once we, my family and I, defined a personal backup plan and a communication process as a part of that plan I realized I had choices to make. I either needed to choose different places to be or I needed to chose to be fully present where I was and relax with the plan. THE REALITY sunk in: I CAN”T BE TWO PLACES AT ONCE so WHY keep trying.
Thinking in the PRESENT of TODAY:
- I can only be PRESENT one place, the place I CHOSE to BE right now.
- I Bring my best wherever I AM and believe others are doing the same where I AM NOT- relax and enjoy now.
- I had to be OK not being the one always HELPING. I choose to believe others are perfectly capable of being the Knight in Shining Armor or at least this will help us see where they need to learn and grow.
- PEOPLE don’t remember what you do – they remember how special you made them feel. One’s undivided attention is a rare gift that everyone, rich or poor can give abundantly to others.
- I lay my head on my pillow and rinse the day. When I mess up, and I will, I decide what I will do better tomorrow and then I let it go. I pray for the GIFT of being fully PRESENT another day. I SLEEP peacefully knowing I gave my best today and I will do better tomorrow with the gift of a new day.
‘Live as if you were to die tomorrow.
Learn as if you were to live forever.’ Mahatma Gandhi