We agree 100% with Woody Allen when he said, “Eighty percent of success is showing up.” We will, however, add one caveat, that it must be done well.
As a leader if you storm into a room with your emotions on your sleeve and not paying attention to others, people will question you, discuss you, avoid you, and do just about everything except what you want them to do. In fact, the more often you show up this way, the less you become their leader.
On the other hand, if you show up and are fully engaged and fully in the moment you will be 80% of the way there. If you are fully present it means that you are engaged with curiosity and caring for those you are meeting with. In this scenario others feel like they have access to your attention, passion, expertise, experience, knowledge, skills, and drive. When you offer all of this, you will bring out the best in other people and they will engage with you, work with you and do their best to deliver what you need. You achieve all of this just by showing up as the real you, focused on the moment.
The concept of being present may be an obvious requirement, but it is important to consciously think about it because it is very difficult to always show up as your best self. It requires a conscious effort much of the time, especially when you are dealing with challenging work or personal issues, you don’t feel well, or you are looking forward to some downtime.
Mastering self-awareness so you can be present with others is a core leadership skill that can always be upgraded. Kabat-Zinn’s principles on practicing mindfulness-based self-care in his book “Full Catastrophe Living” provide a basic framework for helping you develop a mindset that allows you to be present.
- Non-judging. Be in the present moment and try not to judge what is happening to you or around you. Focus on the experience and notice how you feel but resist any urge to label it, for example, as good or bad.
- Patience. Be open and curious about mediation and other related mindfulness endeavors. Remember practice takes effort, so seek calmness when frustration or adversity arises. Acknowledge it, but don’t let it derail you.
- Beginners’ mind. Hold no preconceived notions. Observe with fresh eyes and an open heart and mind by taking a beginner’s approach to a new experience.
- Trust. Nourish a basic faith in yourself, your abilities, and what you think and feel. Such trust allows you to accept who you are and that it’s ok to make mistakes.
- Non-striving. Be yourself and let the experience unfold naturally. Don’t try so hard that you miss out or overlook other important feelings or thoughts while meditating.
- Acceptance. Be receptive to seeing things as they are.
- Letting go. Don’t hold onto things you don’t need or thoughts and feelings that might hold you back or block learning and expansion of your practice.