There are certain times of the year that we may associate with presents. We give presents to show love and appreciation. We give presents to celebrate and honor someone or something. We do it to show we care or to let someone know we are thinking of them.
Another meaning of the word present is about time. It refers to this moment! This slice of time that is now! The present is wonderful and powerful gift. Many of our clients could tell you that “The present is perfect!” What they mean is that in this moment it is not about regretting the past or worrying about the future, it is about the ability to use this moment in the way they choose to use it. It is about seeing whatever is happening in this moment as a gift, whether it seems good or bad. We don’t know how many moments we are going to have, but we know we have this one.
This article isn’t about presents, it is about presence.
People may love to receive your presents, but the more profound gift might be your presence.
Are you interested in living an Extraordinary Life?
You are more likely to live an Extraordinary Life if, you intend to do precisely that. Although it might seem out of reach or something that other people do, you have the opportunity to decide. It starts with this moment as you read this. It will be followed by the next moment and if we are lucky hundreds of thousands or millions of moments after that. The important thing is what do we decide to do in those moments? How do we decide to think in those moments? What do we decide to see and focus on? Are we open to seeing, feeling and receiving Extraordinary? Are we present enough in any moment to do any or all of those things?
We recently interviewed Doug Smith author of the book Happiness. He gave us so many wonderful ideas about Happiness, Leadership and Building Culture. He said that two most important things you can do if you want to be happy is to have a purpose and build strong meaningful relationships. He gave us a gem about building relationships that speaks to being present in this moment.
He called it 140 Bits of Information!
He said the mind can process 140 bits of information per second. In a casual conversation we use about 40 bits per second. Often when we are in conversation with someone we are watching TV, checking our cell phone, thinking about the meeting we have tomorrow, thinking about something that went wrong yesterday, we take the remaining 100 bits of information and send it in a whole bunch of different directions. But, if you take your 100 percent capability and devote it to one person you will make a friend for life. Then he said “because nobody is doing it.”
Similarly, what if you devoted your full attention to what you are doing in any moment? What if today you experimented with giving whatever you are doing, whoever you are with, whatever you are observing, learning or eating 100 percent of your focus in that moment? There is a chance you will be more productive, make others feel more important, see things in a way you have never seen them before, understand and retain things more powerfully and notice that your food tastes a little better.
There are many things you can do to live an Extraordinary Life! Working on being present is one of them!
In the book The Greatest Salesman in the World by Og Mandino, there is a line that says “when you are in the market place don’t think about your family and when you are with your family don’t think about the marketplace.”
Your presence is not just a gift to give to others; it is a gift you can give to yourself. Where ever you are, be there! Be present!
We live in a world that can be very busy. We can find ourselves running around trying fit into the agenda that others have set up for us. We can fill our days so full and be going in so many directions that although the volume of what we are doing may seem impressive, some analyses of the quality or even the relevance of what we are doing may be in order.
Perhaps in the quiet time, if and when you find some quiet time, you could be present with you long enough to consider what the real important things are for you. Think about how much time you spend with those things. Think about whether or not in some ways you have abandoned those things. Get extremely clear about what you will choose to give your moments to.
When you decide what the most important things are to give your moments to, decide to give them fully and watch what happens.
Perhaps it is time for a course correction!
We have created some coaching tools that may support you in deciding where to focus your presence. One is called the Reinvention of You! Whether you decide to make a little “r” reinvention or a BIG “R” Reinvention, taking a slightly different version or you to where you go and what you do can make a significant difference.
Another tool is called “Designing an Extraordinary Year!” This tool can help you decide what to get clarity on what is important.
We also have a tool that helps you to keep the important things in focus. If you would like any of these tools, just e-mail us and they will be our present to you!
We truly hope the world and the people you love will receive the gift of your presence!
Kevin MacDonald and Shelley MacDougall are the coaches for the CMAA. You can reach Kevin at email@example.com or Shelley MacDougall at firstname.lastname@example.org. Or call the Toll Free Coaches Line at 1(866)822-3481.