As we approach the winter holidays, whether it’s in business or in our personal lives, it’s natural to reflect on the year, and also to look ahead to 2021. How did we survive all the challenges in this extraordinary year, and how can we keep surviving and even thrive going forward? With all these thoughts, it’s easy to lose sight of the present, but clearing our heads of the uncertainties and distractions allows us to gain creativity and a true perspective on what really matters to us.
Students of the Gazing red2blue model of high performance under pressure will recognise focusing on the present as a characteristic of having our ‘blue head’ on. Athletes sometimes call this being ‘in the moment’. But whatever we choose to call it, there is much to be said for being truly present, and being present is a skill that can be worked on. We can tell when we aren’t really present – flicking through our phone whilst watching a movie, thinking about the next meeting on our schedule whilst ‘listening’ to a colleague talk about their challenges …we probably all do it to some extent.
Why is it so important to be present? Two main reasons. Firstly every moment is precious and is surely enjoyed and appreciated more if we focus on it, whether it’s a beautiful piece of music, time with a loved one, or someone in the team sharing something personal with us. And secondly, just like those athletes ready to execute at the highest level, our performance is always enhanced if we put all our attention on it. Split attention or multi-tasking just doesn’t work.
So, this year, yes, it’s definitely worth reflecting, and planning for 2021, but don’t forget to focus on the present. Your friends, family and colleagues will thank you for it.