LEADERSHIP AND LIVING IN THE PRESENT MOMENT
Peace is every step.
The shining red sun is my heart.
Each flower smiles with me.
How green, how fresh that grows.
How cool the wind blows.
Peace is every step.
It turns the endless path to joy.
…Thich Nhat Hanh
Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh is a global spiritual leader, poet and peace activist, revered throughout the world for his powerful teachings and bestselling writings on mindfulness and peace.His key teaching is that, through mindfulness, we can learn to live happily in the present moment—the only way to truly develop peace, both in one’s self and in the world.Thich Nhat Hanh has published over 100 titles on meditation, mindfulness and Engaged Buddhism, as well as poems, children’s stories, and commentaries on ancient Buddhist texts. He has sold over three million books in America alone, some of the best-known include Being Peace, Peace Is Every Step, The Miracle of Mindfulness, The Art of Power, True Love and Anger.
The concept of presence is grounded in the practice of effective mindfulness which is the ability to fully inhabit our daily experience. Mindfulness is an antidote to stress and anxiety. The root of our anxiety is our tendency to live for the future which keeps us from fully engaging the present….the moment of now.
Living with presence, of course, through our busy routines of work and life is certainly a challenge. From my prospective, we are in great need of mindful practices that will allow us to stay in the present moment. Yet, those in leadership positions create little time for incorporating a regular practice.
As a leader, there are steps one can integrate to live with purposeful presence. Informed mindfulness is the foundation for continued self-development. Mindfulness refers to a particular way to deepen self-awareness and increase one’s ability to stay in the present moment.
While mindfulness has many physical and mental benefits, at its heart it is a means of self-discovery and self-development. Most importantly, it is awareness with a purpose, it is a practice that facilitates positive and creative change.
A strong and purposeful mindfulness practice develops ones ability to respond to what is actually happening in the moment, rather than to what one thought was going to happen, was afraid might happen or thinks should happen. When one see’s self and others more clearly without judgment or attachment, the mindful person has an opportunity to exert positive impact on the actual reality of what is transpiring.
In his article “Leadership and Mindful Practice,” Ronald M. Epstein, writes that “the goals of mindful practice are to become more aware of one’s own mental processes, listen more attentively, become flexible, and recognize bias and judgments, and thereby act with principles and compassion”
Through thoughtful self reflection questions, such as, under what circumstances do I become angry? Or sad? Or frustrated? Or stressed?, leaders have an opportunity to develop self-awareness so they can begin to understand their own triggers.
Once aware of what drives their more negative or disproportionate recurring reactions (DRR’s), leaders have an opportunity to watch themselves being triggered, and then they can stop and ask: Is this really how I want to behave in this work situation? With my team? Is this my best choice to resolve the situation? As one observes the DRR, through these questions and reflections, reaction can change to positive and meaningful thoughtful action.
By developing a deeper awareness of one’s own thoughts, feelings and behaviors and then through informed mindfulness, one can consciously decide to change that which doesn’t serve self or community and embrace behaviors that do, a person will begin to move one toward ever greater integrity, authenticity, courage, compassion, empathy, humility and passion. Through this kind of self-regulation a person becomes a better version of him or herself and, in turn, a better, more effective leader.
Key Reflection Questions:
In the last 24 hours:
- When did I experience effective mindfulness?
- What did I discover?
- Did I experience being present at work?
- What are the intentions do I have that will allow me to strengthen and integrate effective mindfulness and presence?
- What is it like to feel my energy as I live in the present moment?
As you spend time with one or more of these reflection questions, describe your insights and discoveries and how you will integrate your new awareness of your being. Focus your awareness inside of yourself, to an area where you find calm and ease. Be gentle, locate a positive sensation(s), accept yourself as you are today and take all the time you need.
If you would like to explore, confirm and express effective mindfulness and presencing, contact me through the information below: I look forward to hearing from you.
Executive Leadership Development Coach / Life Strategist