Many of us have a difficult time being in the present. We either spend our time thinking about our past accomplishments or focus our attention on plotting our future moves. Although we may go through the motions of performing our daily tasks, our minds aren’t centered in the present. The problem we face when we avoid throwing ourselves into our current situations is that we miss out on a great deal.
Are you ready to lead in the present?
Here are some strategies to make the present your priority:
1. Let go of the past
Instead of beating ourselves up about the mistakes we have made in our past we need to replace that thinking with identifying what we learned from them. Maybe you made a presentation last month that wasn’t received as well as you had hoped. You might have wished your choice of words were clearer or more descriptive. You didn’t answer the questions asked of you in the way you had hoped. There is still confusion about your project and you are concerned you didn’t influence the team to move in your direction. Rather than dwell on what went wrong with that past presentation:
- Decide how you will now redo your project to be make it more understandable and relatable
- Reach out to team members today for feedback and listen with an open mind
- Use a fresh approach and a new design to reflect the changes
- Be grateful you will have a second chance up at bat to woo the group
2. Create an inspiring work environment
To be successful in our present situations we need to cultivate a space where we feel motivated as well as free to be creative. Look around at your desk or work area and ask yourself if it is inviting. Do you have the necessary tools and information available? Are you feeling comfortable in your chair or working with the best equipment?
3. Develop strong relationships
- Invite someone to coffee or lunch today
- Ask a team member about a challenge they are experiencing
- Offer to help someone out on a project
- Tell a buddy at work what a great job they did and how grateful you are to have them on your team
4. Make a list of the positives of your job
You say that you are happy with the status quo but what adds to that feeling? Step back and take a hard look at what is going well today. What brought a smile or a laugh to you this week at work? Are you able to use some new skill you mastered in your current project? How did it feel to finally have the opportunity to present in front of the boss and the team? Having a sense of adding value can help us lead more effectively in our present.
5. Model leading in the present
Once you embrace the importance of being in the present showing others how much they can miss out by not focusing on today can make a difference in their lives too.
- Help team members celebrate today’s victories
- Point out how the mess up yesterday has no bearing on today if new strategies are employed now
- Don’t spend so much time planning for the future that the present passes everyone by
- Be the leader that reminds people of the power of today
How do you lead in the present? How do you keep the past and the future in check?
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