When I heard this question in January, I didn’t know the answer. My brain was too full with busy thoughts, my schedule was too packed with busy activities and my body was too sleep-deprived from jet lag and working all weekend.
It was quite a relief to think this through and say: ‘Yes, lots of good things have been happening’ – but it took significant time!
This crucial insight didn’t come from reading one article between meetings or listening to 20 minutes of an audio programme in my car between destinations. It is something that slowly dawned on me because I took FIVE DAYS to sit through a success intelligence coaching course run by Robert Holden. In other words, it was because I was immersed in this topic that, during the third full day of thinking, reflecting and processing, it ‘hit’ me: I was too tired to enjoy my already rich and rewarding life.
I had a sense of these things but I was moving too fast. I was always thinking ahead to the next thing rather than taking pleasure in the present moment. Always thinking about the next business opportunity, the next meeting, the next thing I was looking forward to, and what time I might get home so I could start planning ahead even more!
I think I’ve been wired that way for as long as I can remember. And it’s madness. This way of thinking has caused me only partial enjoyment from much of my past because my mind has almost always been elsewhere.
Last year I recall setting a vague hope of a goal about ‘feeling less harried and more calm.’ After January it ‘disappeared’ off my list because I had no idea where to start and what to do with it and it was demoralizing to look at and feel a sense of failure!
When do you work in time to pause so you notice present moments more?
I have missed much of what’s been good in each moment by constantly having one eye on what was next. And I know I’m not alone. I haven’t read Eckhart Tolle’s book The Power of Now! but this topic is something we will consistently hear more about as the pace of our culture gets ever busier.
A similar experience of taking a multi-day course three years ago helped me get a breakthrough insight into why I’d been single for most of my 20’s and 30’s. It was only after being ‘confined’ to a long weekend seminar that my brain was given the opportunity to think and process long enough that a light bulb went off. It also held me in an environment where I had no escape from sitting with my pain. I couldn’t get busy and do something to avoid thinking about it – which is what I’ve generally done in the past.
Actually having myself feel this pain and not wanting to feel it any more is what pushed me to take new, positive action.
Do you schedule time to reflect?
I’ve started keeping a diary (journal) again to ask better questions such as:
What inspired me today?
What am I grateful for?
And completing sentences such as: If I were really honest with myself, …
I re-explore my definition of success. It seems pretty silly that I was running around madly chasing ‘success’ without being clear on what that was for me. And, no, I’m not going to say I’m ‘there’ yet. But I do feel much more on track – I also hired a new coach and that has helped tool.
I also believe that the happier I am now and the more conscious I am that I am enjoying what I do for a living, the better it will be for business.
Ironically, enjoying the present is about being aware and about allowing solutions into your life (‘when the student is ready…’). For me it will take time to rewire my brain with constant reminders so that increasingly I enjoy the richness of the present and avoid letting more of life pass me by.
Please forward this on – if you’re not too busy!
For more information on Robert Holden, go to: www.successintelligence.com
Author: Matt Anderson, The Referral Authority, Author of Fearless Referrals