I had coffee recently with Gene. I shared with him my observations over the years that he always seemed restless, always in pursuit of something. While successful on so many levels, he never seemed sated, always on the move toward something new. While restlessness is often a state fed by a destination, mindfulness is a state led by today’s journey. Frequently paying careful and close attention to a quiet mind diminishes restlessness, that which is present and that which has not yet occurred. Invariably when we are focused on the destination the world around us speeds up, we miss life’s yield signs and stop signs, we miss all kind of signs. The world whizzes by our periphery, and if we achieve that destination, we most often are not satisfied for long before we set a new course, a new destination. It’s time to set aside the oars and set our sails, allowing the winds to grab us.
As each new year gets underway we tend to view this time as the beginning of an annual race. We have twelve months to pursue new revenue, customers, and profits. As for our personal life, we set our sights at our resolutions for improvement. I say, embrace life, let it come to you! Be more in the moment, more mindful, more aware, more attuned to what comes your way. One definition I came across that I really like, “Mindfulness is the art of conscious living.”
While meeting over coffee this week with Jordan, she was excited to share some wonderful news. “You told me long ago to tend to my soil, to cultivate it. When the time is right what springs forth is beautiful and good. You ought not speed your life’s journey, but embrace it.” She went on to say she had encountered an opportunity that was perfect for her. This life intersection had been in the works, on and off, for some time. It needed time to bloom. Any decision was out of her control. When the call came, she was prepared. This storyline has replayed itself countless times throughout my career, and maybe over yours, too.
A few pertinent phrases I would like to share with you at this reflective time of year include,
- Life begins at the end of your comfort zone
- Be in the world, not of the world
- Don’t get attached to results
- We sit at the intersection of here and now
Life begins at the end of your comfort zone
Neale Donald Walsch is credited with this phrase. Most of us know someone, maybe ourselves are on the list, that go about life afraid of change, that stay inside their comfort zone. Do you know your potential? Have you pushed yourself to where you’re uncomfortable? Remember, failure is an event, not a person. Growth and development occurs from the risks we are willing to take, and yes, even when we fail. But that exhilarating feeling you get when you accomplish something that surprises even you is intoxicating, and cannot occur without getting a bit uncomfortable.
Be in the world, not of the world
Being in the world allows us to embrace our life journey and take each day as the gift that it is. Being of the world represents material abundance and exposes self, greed and pride. There is so much to be done IN the world, but when we demand more (greed), want to be hailed (self) and strive to stand out above all others (pride), we become part OF the world. Consider where your feet are presently planted and where you are most fulfilled.
Don’t get attached to results
Take a step back. Consider how often each of us get attached to our own expectations about the result of things. We feel varying degrees of discomfort and displeasure when things don’t meet our expectations of the result. Inside my own firm I recently challenged the team to consider the future direction and strategy that would best fuel their own personal passion and in kind, deliver value to the firm. At our first meeting to discuss their conclusions, a colleague warned me, “you are going to be really uncomfortable with some of our proclamations.” Detaching myself from the results allowed me to consider what they saw, how they saw it, and why they chose a different journey than I might have otherwise expected. Not being attached to the result allowed me to better appreciate their work.
We sit at the intersection of here and now
How much time do you ruminate about the past or about a future that has yet to arrive? Do you ever play that what-if games; what if all the worst things happen off my decision? Do you rue past decisions so often that you become a bit paralyzed to new choices? The amount of time our mind is cluttered with an overabundance of channeled thinking that is out of our control – I can’t change history and I don’t control the future – is a waste. We have 86,400 seconds to make our best effort – today. If we allow ourselves to stay at on the corner of here and now, we will be best suited to tackle those things that might emerge. Yes, we should consider the possibilities for potential issues, but don’t live at that future address. Manage to stay in the present.
Hoist up your sails and mindfully accept today’s journey. Wherever you go, there you are!