“Let your presence be present even when you are not present.”
I heard this quote early in my leadership journey and it has never left me.
It has made me realise that there is no greater human resource than your time, energy and presence.
So, it stands to reason that one of the most valuable gifts you can give someone is your time, energy, and presence; or in other words, your ‘full attention’.
In fact, we are biologically designed to do this, for it releases both serotonin and oxytocin, the feel-good hormones and neurotransmitters that promote relationships and bonding.
You waste this most valuable gift when you sit in a meeting with your head down, texting and/or emailing on your phone, having a completely different contextual conversation to what is happing in the room.
Another example I see is parents at their children’s sports game or school concert, constantly looking down, instead of up and into the eyes of those they love.
If you are the leader or parent, and you do this, you have missed one of the most desired human gifts you can give someone, and waste both your time and that of the other person.
“If your absence doesn’t affect them, your presence never mattered.”
From a business, selling and client relationship perspective, not being fully present, often referred to as being ‘mentally absent’ or distracted, can have various and measurable consequences.
In our highly technically advanced world of smart phones and watches, with endless notifications, we are fast becoming a very distracted and disengaged society when in the physical presence of others.
Now, don’t get me wrong, tech, when used appropriately, can be very beneficial.
However, it should never be at the emotional expense of the person, especially those we care about .
Here are my top 7 potential costs of not being fully present
1. Reduced productivity: Not being fully present can negatively affect your ability to focus and complete tasks on time.
2. Missed opportunities: Being distracted can cause you to overlook opportunities or information that is important to your client.
3. Strained relationships: Not being fully present during client meetings can lead to misunderstandings, miscommunication, and the feeling of being undervalued or unimportant.
4. Increased stress: Living in the past or too far into the future too often, without being present in the now, can contribute to heightened stress levels, leaving you disengaged with your client.
5. Diminished wellbeing: Being mentally absent can prevent you from fully enjoying the present moment, leaving you feeling dissatisfied, and potentially not delivering the finest experience for your client.
6. Safety risks: Not being present can lead to accidents and mistakes, especially while driving, with or without clients in the car.
7. Lack of creativity: Sometimes clients need our creative thinking to solve problems, which comes from moments of focused attention, and not when you are mentally absent or distracted.
Remember, ‘look up’ more, for the greatest gift you can give someone (clients, friends, family) is your time, energy and presence.
One way to ensure you can do this without being distracted or becoming mentally absent, is to practice mindfulness and developing good habits to stay present.
Learn techniques such as deep breathing, meditation, and focusing on the present moment.
This can help you enhance your ability to stay engaged, focused, and connected to those people who are most important to you. Like the one you are with at this very moment.
Stay strong….and present.