Getting Stuff Done by Staying Present

I love this cartoon. Being in the moment means staying present with whatever happens, including getting a phone call. It does not mean conforming to some thought or image about what the present moment is or is supposed to be. This is what mindfulness meditation is all about: becoming aware of what is actually happening, right now. And, when you are aware of it, handling it with care and skill.

Such presence helps us get stuff done with others. When we want to accomplish something at work or in our communities, we invariably have to work with others to get it done. The key word here is “with.” If we want to work with others, we need to stay present to what is actually occurring while we are working with them.

This includes being aware of differing perspectives about what needs doing and other ways of doing it. When we don’t stay present to what is actually occurring in an interaction but we do stay attached to what we want to get done, other points of view can seem like roadblocks. But seeing them as roadblocks creates roadblocks. If we stay present, our natural curiosity is free to investigate other people’s ideas and be open to the possibilities therein.

Investigating other people’s ideas with care and skill not only helps people connect, it also builds their commitment to the task at hand (however that eventually gets defined). Equally as important, with everyone’s point of view on the table, the definition of what needs to be done will, no doubt, be more considered and on target.

Staying present includes noticing how you are responding to what others are saying. This includes your physical sensations, thoughts, and emotions. It’s a lot to stay present for. If you notice that you are holding tightly to your original idea about what you wanted to get done and not listening attentively, pause, take a breath, and open space in your mind and heart for honestly and carefully considering what they are saying.

What helps you stay present to what is happening when you are getting stuff done with others?

This blog is based my book Talk Matters! Saving the World One Word at a Time. Click here to purchase it.

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