As an entrepreneur, you are probably really great at setting goals, making a plan and taking action.
You can easily focus on your business and the success you envision. That is great.
But are you present in your life?
That means that instead of focusing on the person or situation right in front of you, you are busy thinking about your to-do list, your next big deal, finding clients, or how you could improve your next widget—worrying about the past or thinking about the future.
It means that you are often found on your phone or laptop during family and personal time, answering calls, checking emails, sending texts. Your mind is pretty much elsewhere than on the task at hand.
It means that you are missing out on your life as it sails by without you.
In my last article, I spoke about your relationship with time and how you can shift your perspective on time, so I won’t go into that here.
Today, I would like to share with you how you can be more present in your business and life.
There are a ton of benefits when you focus on the present. Here are just a few:
- Increased enjoyment, happiness and FUN
- Reduced stress and feelings of overwhelm
- Better and more fulfilling relationships
- Improved productivity (more things checked off your to-do list)
Being present is what you experience when you’re completely focused on this very moment right now. You are calm. Your mind is clear. You are decisive. You know what you want. You know what’s right for you. You are your best self. And, you are truly there for the people in your life.
How often are you driving while talking on a cell phone, or thinking about work problems, or what you’re going to make for supper? How often do you eat without thinking about the food you’re putting into your mouth? How often does your mind wander while doing other things, thinking about something you messed up, or worrying about whatever? How often are you having a conversation with someone important in your life but your mind is elsewhere?
The truth is most of us are elsewhere, most of the time, rather than in the here and now. Many people spend less than 1% of their time being fully present. The rest of the time, you drift in and out as your attention wanders.
Your mind may even seem to be out of control at times. Honestly, I am not perfect at being present. I don’t do it all the time either. But I can say this: I’ve been practicing being present for awhile now. I’ve gotten better at it and you can too.
Give yourself permission to enjoy the present.
Being present means learning to live as if you have nothing to hide, nothing to prove, and nothing to lose. Your mind, body, heart, and soul become one in that one moment. Time slows down and you are truly connected to the moment and the people around you.
Did you know that the definition of eternity is the present moment?
It has never NOT been the present moment—the only time that is real is now. The past and future are merely ideas in our mind. No one can do anything real in the past or future—at least not yet. Only the present. It may seem a difficult thing to wrap your brain around but it’s merely a logical fact.
Your ability to be present truly depends on having GOOD BOUNDARIES. If you have poor boundaries, you will constantly make excuses and either lash out at others unjustly or you will be passive and let others run all over you. Are you the passenger or the driver of your life?
When you are the driver, your focus is on self-control and self-responsibility. You don’t control others, nor do you let others control you. I learned that lesson the hard way. I used to let others control my life–I wasn’t aware I was doing it, but I was. It wasn’t until I took total control of my life that things started to improve.
Being present begins with being AWARE of when you are trying to change the present moment and when you have checked out and are in the past or future.
You’ll become suddenly aware that you aren’t paying attention to a conversation. Or maybe you are on the phone during a family dinner and suddenly realize that you missed out hearing about everyone’s day. Or while you are supposed to be watching your child’s soccer game, you are really working on that report and realize you just missed your son or daughter score their first goal.
It doesn’t have to be like that.
There’s no single method that will get you better at being present. I don’t have a magical formula or pill to get you there. However, I do have one word that I often tell my kids when they’re learning anything new: practice.
I guarantee you won’t be good at it at first. Your mind will wander, or you’ll do a lot of thinking about what you’re thinking, and whether you’re thinking it the right way, and whether there is a right way, etc. etc., until guess what? You’re no longer in the present. That’s completely normal. We all do that; I do that.
Don’t beat yourself up. Don’t get discouraged. Just practice.
So here is your assignment for today. Write down situations where you can start to be more present (e.g. family meal time, conversations with your significant other and those you love, during your workouts, etc.). Then practice every day. Do it in the morning. Practice it while eating breakfast—savour every bite. Do it with your evening jog or walk—feel how your body responds. Do it when you talk with someone—look them in the eye and focus on the conversation.
Every opportunity you get, give it your full attention and practice.
(Here’s a pro tip: Put away your cell phone when you need to be present in a conversation or family time. There is nothing more damaging to a relationship, then when someone is obviously not even trying to pay attention.)
You’ll get better. I promise. Make focusing on being present a habit. If you make it your focus, I guarantee you’ll get better at it. Try it for 30 days. It’s the best method for forming new habits.
I’d like to point out that there is no failure.
I can pretty much guarantee you will mess up, but that’s OK, because it is impossible to mess up. The only thing that matters is that you practice, and over time, if you keep doing it, you will learn to focus on the present more often than you do now. You cannot fail, even if you stop doing it for awhile. Doing it at all is success. Celebrate every little success.
Of course, there are times when you need to analyze the past or plan for the future; there is no way you could stop yourself from thinking about the past or the future anyway. However, with practice, you can focus on the present more than you already do.
When you are truly being present, you are tuned into your life and the lives of those around you. You are living fully. And there is nothing better than that.
Do you struggle with being present? I’d love to hear your biggest take-away after reading this article, share in the comments section below.
About the Author, Heather E. Wilson
Need help? Would you like to learn more ways to avoid burnout, add more fun, more success, and more joy into your life and business? Heather E. Wilson, is a certified transformational coach, author and international speaker who loves to share her passion for helping you take charge of your life and business so that you can have the success and fun you've always dreamed about.
Go to HeatherwilsonInternational.com to view more of her free training and to receive a copy of her FREE ebook: The Burnout Principle.